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The Church and Medieval Heresy c. 1100-1437

5. Voices in the Records

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the nature of the records pertaining to heresy in this period, focusing in particular on: (i) the way inquisition worked, including the use of imprisonment, interrogation and (occasionally) torture; (ii) the evolution in the nature of the records from the 12th to the 13th century; (iii) the extent to which Catharism was on its last legs by the early 14th century; (iv) the set of interviews carried out by Jacques Fournier in south-west France between 1318-25, and in particular the figure of Pierre Maury; and (v) the usefulness of the record of the conversation between Fournier and Maury in giving us the sense of the complexity of how heresy worked, and the sensitivity with which the church had to approach the problem.


In this course, Professor John Arnold (University of Cambridge) explores heresy and the church in Medieval Europe. In the first module, we think about the growth of heretical movements up to the beginning of the Albigensian Crusade. In the two modules that follow that, we examine two particular groups – the Cathars and the Waldensians – before turning in the fourth module to consider some of the methods used by the church to combat heresy. In the fifth module, we think about some of the records that have survive that give us an insight into the kind of people caught up in accusations of heresy, while in the sixth and final module, we think about what heresy can tell us about medieval society more broadly.


John Arnold studied at the University of York, gaining a BA in History, and a D.Phil. in Medieval Studies. He worked at the University of East Anglia, then moved to Birkbeck, University of London, in 2001, until his election to the professorship of medieval history at Cambridge in 2016. He has been lead editor of the journal Cultural and Social History, is on the editorial board of the journal Past & Present, and co-edits several publication series: Genders and Sexualities in History (Palgrave Macmillan), Heresy and Inquisition in the Middle Ages (York Medieval Press), and Oxford Studies in Medieval European History (OUP).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Arnold, J. (2021, March 05). The Church and Medieval Heresy c. 1100-1437 - Voices in the Records [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Arnold, J. "The Church and Medieval Heresy c. 1100-1437 – Voices in the Records." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Mar 2021,