Learned and Popular in Medieval Christianities?
MIRATOR 9:1 (2008)
This issue of Mirator is devoted to investigating the concepts ‘learned’ and ‘popular’ in medieval christianities. After a rigorous selection and review, the editorial board is proud to present three articles, all answering the original call for contributions from diverse yet complementary angles, and all examining aspects of religious life in medieval England. I am very pleased with the quality of the three articles in this issue, and wish to note that our current annual rejection rate for peer-reviewed articles is 50%.
In the initial plans for this issue, and in the call for contributions that grew out of them, our editorial board raised a number of questions about the terms ‘learned’ and ‘popular’. What did these terms mean in given contexts, how did they acquire meaning, and how were they connected to social groups? There is a complex of related concerns behind these questions, centred on a bipartite or two-tiered model of medieval religiosity, which still easily occurs to the scholarly imagination. The idea that there existed a clerical religious culture, and a popular, or perhaps indigeneous religious culture from below that resisted penetration by the former, was perhaps most influentially expressed by Jacques Le Goff as an opposition between culture clericale and culture folklorique.