Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jonathan Riley-Smith on the 11th c. reformation

The prominent Crusade historian in a 1993 interview at the Christianity Today Library:

In Europe today, if you drive five miles along any road, you will probably find two churches. Nearly all of those churches are built on eleventh- and twelfth-century foundations. Previously, there might have been one church every twenty miles, from which priests would go out to serve the sacraments. Eleventh-century reformers believed religion should be taken into the villages, and this evangelizing drive resulted in a great building program. This burst of construction ranks with anything the Roman Empire did. Someone in 1032 said, “France is becoming white with churches.”


  1. "Someone" was Raoul Glaber, famous French chronicle-writing nutter, but I guess JRS thought that would mean nothing to his audience. Suddenly the reform is all over the Internet. Why do these things always crop up in bundles?

  2. I once read -- or rather perused -- all of Glaber for a paleography class.