Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

History

Advisor

Coon, Lynda L

Reader

Pierce, Michael S.

Second Reader

Lee, Richard

Third Reader

Sexton, Kim

Abstract

In this honors thesis, I examine the development of the Cistercian monastic order, founded around 1098 CE, within the contexts of the burgeoning of a new kind of monastic business, moneylending, usury, and mercantilism of the high Middle Ages. I argue that the immense anxieties of the Cistercian Order concerning the practices of moneylending and participation in the larger economic system, particularly regarding grants of land, arose primarily from the order’s preoccupation with ritual purity, both of the individual monk and of the monastery as a physical space.

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