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John Henry Newman's controversial The Church of the Fathers is published here for the first time in more than a century. It contains some of his earliest writings on fourth-century Christianity and is contemporary with the first Tracts of the Oxford Movement and The Arians of the Fourth Century. It was aimed at the general reader and is filled with extracts from the writings of the Church Fathers. In 1833 the controversial Irish Church Temporalities Bill had been enacted by the British Parliament, a Bill that proposed to abolish ten of the twenty-two sees of the (Anglican) Church of Ireland. Newman accused the State of violating the ancient doctrine of Apostolic Succession, and in this book draws parallels between the situation facing the church in the fourth century and the Anglican church in his day. The material was first written as a series of articles for the British Magazine; these were then revised and published in book form in 1840. Although unpopular with many of the British Establishment, it was popular with fellow Tractarians, who 'found in it for the first time the inspiration of the lives of the Saints, as real and human as if they were still alive, as indeed they were to Newman' (Meriol Trevor). A second edition was published in 1842.
Like specialists in other fields in humanities and social sciences, medievalists have begun to investigate and write about sex and related topics such as courtship, concubinage, divorce, marriage, prostitution, and child rearing. The scholarship in this significant volume asserts that sexual conduct formed a crucial role in the lives, thoughts, hopes and fears both of individuals and of the institutions that they created in the middle ages. The absorbing subject of sexuality in the Middle Ages is examined in 19 original articles written specifically for this "Handbook" by the major authorities in their scholarly specialties. The study of medieval sexuality poses problems for the researcher: indices in standard sources rarely refer to sexual topics, and standard secondary sources often ignore the material or say little about it. Yet a vast amount of research is available, and the information is accessible to the student who knows where to look and what to look for. This volume is a valuable guide to the material and an indicator of what subjects are likely to yield fresh scholarly rewards.

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