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Monastic Prisons and Torture Chambers: Crime and Punishment in Central European Monasteries, 1600-1800

, 2013
ISBN: 9781625640406
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Following the Council of Trent (1545–1563), Catholic religious orders underwent substantial reform. Nevertheless, on occasion monks and nuns had to be disciplined and—if they had committed a crime—punished. Consequently, many religious orders relied on sophisticated criminal law traditions that included torture, physical punishment, and prison sentences. Ulrich L. Lehner provides, for the first time, an overview of how monasteries in central Europe prosecuted crime and punished their members, and thus introduces a host of new questions for anyone interested in state-church relations, gender questions, the history of violence, or the development of modern monasticism.

With Logos Bible Software, Monastic Prisons and Torture Chambers is enhanced with cutting-edge research tools. Scripture citations appear on mouseover in your preferred English translation. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Powerful topical searches help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Tablet and mobile apps let you take the discussion with you. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

  • Provides an overview of how Central European monasteries prosecuted and punished members
  • Examines the use of torture in monastic legal proceedings
  • Explores neglected evidence on prisons and trials
  • Looks at the treatment of the insane and mentally ill
  • Legends, Myths, and Misconceptions
  • Confinement for Criminals and the Insane—Differences between Orders and Genders
  • What Was a Monastic Prison Like?
  • Orders with and without “Prisons”: Difference between Orders and Genders
  • The Franciscan “Criminal Trial”
  • Physical Assault and Assassination Attempts in Female Convents
  • Fornication and Child Abuse
  • Escapes from the Cloister
Lehner’s brave, ambitious, and learned study uncovers the little-known history of secret monastic prisons for wayward monks and nuns, and the clandestine use of torture in monastic legal proceedings. . . . This is church history at its best. It deserves to be widely known and imitated.

—H.C. Erik Midelfort, Julian Bishko Professor of History, emeritus, University of Virginia

In this path-breaking, lucid book, Ulrich Lehner challenges conventional wisdom on the nature and purpose of prisons and punishment in early modern central Europe. Exploiting neglected evidence on monastic prisons and trial procedures, he demonstrates that the Mendicant orders continued medieval standards as the post-Tridentine religious adopted milder discipline. . . . A book of major significance, it will spur further research into our understanding of confinement and punishment.

Gregg Roeber, professor of early modern history and religious studies, Pennsylvania State University

Ulrich Lehner, who has become a master of all things Catholic in eighteenth-century Europe, here examines the sorry record of crime and punishment within selected European monasteries. His conclusion is persuasive—that moral failings of these institutions should not overwhelm other evidence of improved moral standards in the Tridentine Church. All who look for a fuller account of official Catholicism in the era whipsawed by both the Enlightenment and rising governmental absolutism will thank him for the careful research underlying this book.

Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

  • Title: Monastic Prisons and Torture Chambers: Crime and Punishment in Central European Monasteries, 1600–1800
  • Author: Ulrich L. Lehner
  • Publisher: Cascade
  • Print Publication Date: 2013
  • Logos Release Date: 2014
  • Pages: 118
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Monasticism and religious orders › History--Modern period, 1500-; Prisons › History; Crime › Europe, Central--History
  • ISBNs: 9781625640406, 9781621899624, 1625640404, 1621899624
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T01:34:13Z

Ulrich L. Lehner is associate professor of historical theology and religious history at Marquette University. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on early modern religion, including Enlightened Monks, and is the main organizer of The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theology.


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Digital list price: $11.99
Save $3.00 (25%)