Amorous adventures and Questionable Meals. Concepts of impurity and pollution in early medieval penitentials.
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This thesis investigates the concepts of purity and impurity in a selection of early medieval penitential handbooks, which were used as some sort of guide books by confessors. Based on the theory of anthropologist Mary Douglas ('Purity and Danger', 1966), various types of impurity and pollution that seem to be present in the penitentials are investigated and explained. Through this research, (possible) early medieval mentalities towards what was considered to be pure and what was thought of as impure and defiling are uncovered.