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The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe 950-1250, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-4051-2964-0
234 pages
January 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe 950-1250, 2nd Edition (1405129646) cover image


The tenth to the thirteenth centuries in Europe saw the appearance of popular heresy and the establishment of the Inquisition, the expropriation and mass murder of Jews, and the propagation of elaborate measures to segregate lepers from the healthy and curtail their civil rights. These were traditionally seen as distinct and separate developments, and explained in terms of the problems which their victims presented to medieval society. In this stimulating book, first published in 1987 and now widely regarded as a a classic in medieval history, R. I. Moore argues that the coincidences in the treatment of these and other minority groups cannot be explained independently, and that all are part of a pattern of persecution which now appeared for the first time to make Europe become, as it has remained, a persecuting society.

In this new edition, R. I. Moore updates and extends his original argument with a new, final chapter, “A Persecuting Society”. Here and in a new preface and critical bibliography, he considers the impact of a generation’s research and refines his conception of the “persecuting society” accordingly, addressing criticisms of the first edition.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition.

Preface to the First Edition.


1. Persecution.




The Common Enemy.

2. Classification.

3. Purity and Danger.

4. Power and Reason.

5. A Persecuting Society.

Bibliographical Excursus: Debating the Persecuting Society.



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Author Information

R. I. Moore, formerly of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, is the author of The Origins of European Dissent (1977), and The First European Revolution, c. 970–1215, (2000), in the Making of Europe series. He is General Editor of the Blackwell History of the World series and was also founding editor of the Blackwell series New Perspectives on the Past. He has taught at the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley and is a Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America.
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The Wiley Advantage

  • New edition of a classic text in medieval history, written by one of the leading scholars on heresy.
  • Argues controversially that the persecution of minority groups - Jews, lepers, heretics - was part of a pattern whereby Europe became, as it has remained, a persecuting society.
  • Extends the original argument with a new final chapter.
  • Considers the impact of a generation's research and addresses criticisms of the first edition.
  • Includes a new preface and critical biography.
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"One of the most influential and controversial books of medieval history of the last 20 years ... The relevance of its argument today is uncanny." The Guardian

Praise for the first edition:

"A brilliant account of medieval Europe...it is a pleasure to read an account that is so obviously of importance for our own societies, yet is conceived in a full international context." Times Higher Education Supplement

"A fundamental work of historical sociology, as important in its way as the works of Georges Duby and Mark Bloch...a courageous and wide-ranging thesis." M. T. Clanchy, Times Literary Supplement

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The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe 950-1250, 2nd Edition (US $52.95)

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