When Heretics Might Not Burn: Two Stories from 12th & 13th Century Rhineland

Presented by Michael Barbezat
Postdoctoral Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Western Australia

Part of the ACMRS History of Emotions Lecture Series

Monday, October 26, 2015 - 12:45-1:45pm
Lattie F. Coor Hall, Room 4403
ASU Tempe Campus
Free and open to the public

Burning alive, beginning in the eleventh century, eventually became the customary punishment for unrepentant heretics. This dramatic punishment presented an excellent opportunity for the articulation of messages coloured by eschatological expectations regarding the fires of the Other World. What would happen to these messages, however, if condemned heretics seemingly-miraculously did not burn? Two sources, one from the twelfth century and the other from the thirteenth, imagined just such a situation and in it found an opportunity to interrogate the dynamics between similarity and difference, and the process of reading like a Christian.

About Michael Barbezat
Michael Barbezat is a postdoctoral fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Western Australia. He holds an MA in medieval history from the University of California at Davis and a Ph.D. from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. Michael’s research broadly interrogates the uses of eschatology in medieval notions of community and the logic of persecution. He has published on the significance of Hell and hell fire in the burning of heretics in the Journal of Medieval History, and he has interrogated medieval theologians’ conceptions of the materiality of hellfire in Viator. He has work forthcoming in the Journal of the History of Sexuality regarding the messaging behind the sexual activities ascribed to medieval heretics.