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Argumentation Strategies of Beguines' Advocates and Opponents in the First quarter of 14th Сentury: Appealing to Authority

Student: Anastasiia Voteva

Supervisor: Svetlana Yatsyk

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Medieval Studies (Master)

Final Grade: 7

Year of Graduation: 2020

Beguines` movement that originally united non-monastic local groups of women (some of them were also mystical writers), was denounced as heretical at the Council of Vienne in 1311–1312, as was its male branch called Beghards. It was dictated by anti-heretical climate caused by the spreading of the Cathars` and Waldensians` movements, however, the former image of Beguines as righteous women was preserved, many beguinages had patrons among the secular nobilities. In this paper, I analyze Beguines` movement through rhetorical positions of their opponents and advocates. The papal curia led by Clement V as authors of decrees Cum de quibusdam and Ad nostrum, and Inquisitor Bernard Gui who wrote the treatise Practica Inquisitionis haereticae pravitatis, which was focused on practical application of anti-heretical rhetoric, were the opponents. The rhetoric of catholic clergy will be researched through glosses of Johannes Andreae; analysis of them will allow to reveal the circle of authorities, which the pope could appeal to. Thus, such sources of authority as the Bible, legal collections and theological writings (works of Church Fathers, Doctors of the Church, and hagiography) were identified. Robert III of Bethune (count of Flanders since 1305 to 1322) laid out the views of Beguines` advocates in his letter to Pope John XXII (between 1318 and 1320). In this letter count called for clarification of the decree Cum de quibusdam, because, in his opinion, its misunderstanding by local officials led to excessive persecutions of the Flanders' Beguines and infringement on their everyday organization. Since Robert doesn`t cite any theological treatises or, for example, the Bible, I surmised that the external context, which consists of his regional identity, the everyday life of Beguines and the count’s desire to demonstrate his loyalty to the papal throne, is an authority for him.

Full text (added June 2, 2020)

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