© 2016

Medieval Religion and its Anxieties

History and Mystery in the Other Middle Ages


Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

About this book


This book examines the broad varieties of religious belief, religious practices, and the influence of religion within medieval society. Religion in the Middle Ages was not monolithic. Medieval religion and the Latin Church are not synonymous. While theology and liturgy are important, an examination of animal trials, gargoyles, last judgments, various aspects of the medieval underworld, and the quest for salvation illuminate lesser known dimensions of religion in the Middle Ages. Several themes run throughout the book including visual culture, heresy and heretics, law and legal procedure, along with sexuality and an awareness of mentalities and anxieties. Although an expanse of 800 years has passed, the remains of those other Middle Ages can be seen today, forcing us to reassess our evaluations of this alluring and often overlooked past.


Middle Ages Other Religion Medieval Underworlds Heresy antiquity cultural theory culture Europe history history of literature literary theory literature Medieval Literature World Literature

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of HumanitiesUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

About the authors

Thomas A. Fudgé is Professor of Medieval History at the University of New England, Australia. Author of thirteen books, he is recognized as an international authority on Jan Hus and Hussite history. 

Bibliographic information


“Thomas A. Fudgé explodes the still-dominant myth that the European Middle Ages was an era in which religious dissent was systematically suppressed. In witty, yet erudite fashion, Fudgé directs attention away from the standard historical narrative. Steeped in the best current scholarship, this is the product of meticulous investigation of original, often archival, sources. Seldom can a serious academic book be described as an engaging read. Fudgé offers us a rare exception.” (Cary J. Nederman, Professor of Political Science, Texas A&M University, USA)

“These essays take us to corners of the medieval world that enlarge and complicate the master narrative. The sex life of gargoyles, the internal and external risks and dangers of heresy, the possibility that ‘Bluebeard’ was framed, the prosecution and punishment of unruly or dangerous animals–all aspects of medieval ‘life on the streets’ that students and general readers will find a fascinating blend of erudition and sensationalism.” (Joel T. Rosenthal, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA)

“In a series of essays on different aspects of medieval culture, Fudgé demonstrates the extraordinary otherness of medieval ways of looking at the world, whether at animals, demons, monsters, or suspected heretics. He challenges us to reflect on the vividness of the medieval imagination, which was as much spiritual as physical, and always concerned with disruptions to cosmic order.” (Constant J. Mews, Professor of Medieval Thought, and Director of the Centre for Religious Studies, Monash University, Australia)