InThe Medieval Economy of Salvation, Adam J. Davis shows how the burgeoning commercial economy of western Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, alongside an emerging culture of Christian charity, led to the establishment of hundreds of hospitals and leper houses. Focusing on the county of Champagne, he looks at the ways in which charitable organizations and individuals—townspeople, merchants, aristocrats, and ecclesiastics—saw in these new institutions a means of infusing charitable giving and service with new social significance and heightened expectations of spiritual rewards.
In tracing the rise of the medieval hospital during a period of intense urbanization and the transition from a gift economy to a commercial one, Davis makes clear how embedded this charitable institution was in the wider social, cultural, religious, and economic fabric of medieval life.
List of Illustrations
A Note on Monies and Measures
Introduction: A Charitable Revolution in an Age of Commerce
1. Medieval Understandings of Charity: From Penance to Commerce
2. The Creation of a Charitable Landscape
3. Hospital Patrons and Social Networks
4. Managing a Hospital's Property
5. "In Service of the Poor": Hospital Personnel in Pursuit of Security
6. The Sick Poor and the Economy of Care
Adam J. Davis is Professor of History and Director of the Lisska Center for Scholarly Engagement at Denison University. He is the author of The Holy Bureaucrat. Follow him on Twitter @AdamJDavis2.
A meticulously researched study of an important area of medieval life. Adam J. Davis, an expert historian of medieval religion, locates his work in the context of various scholarly debates and draws on an exhaustive range of English and French sources. The Medieval Economy of Salvation provides a scholarly insight into medieval hospitals and their relationships with the wider society. Davis teases out the twisted strands of complex realities with a marvelously expert hand. The reward for the reader is not just to understand more about the medieval mindset and hospitals, but to appreciate how much there is to know.
~Health and History
The Medieval Economy of Salvation is a pleasurable read suited to both the scholar and enthusiast alike. Adam J. Davis brings to light the importance of the medieval hospital and its link to social, religious and economic changes in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
~Social History of Medicine
The Medieval Economy of Salvation is a welcome addition to the scholarship on the role and place of hospitals in medieval European society. The richness of Davies's sources means that he has been able to provide a detailed account of life inside and outside the hospital embedded in developments and ideas to be found in French society more widely.
~JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES
The book offers a precise and detailed casuistry of the figures taken in the hospital's area of influence, drawing a glimpse of daily life in medieval Champagne. Davis focuses on treatises and sermons about helping the poorest, casting new light on the close relationship between economic growth and welfare practices.
This richly researched book opens up fresh perspectives on charity, hospitals, and experiences of illness in Europe before the Black Death. By challenging our thinking about the boundaries between institutional and noninstitutional care, between wealth and poverty, and between devotional and mercantile pursuits, it encourages further research on provision for the needy in medieval society.
~Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Ohio Academy of History Publication Award