Sacred or Profane? Reflections on Love and Friendship in the Middle Ages

  • Klaus Oschema

Abstract

‘The most holy bond of society is friendship’, Mary Wollstonecraft declared in 1792, explaining that ‘true friendship’ existed even less often than ‘true love’ — thus putting the two emotionally based types of relationship on an equal footing,1 leaving the reader puzzled with the apparent connection between an individual, personal bond and the sphere of sacrality. The concept of friendship that Wollstonecraft develops in this brief passage is not easily to be reconciled with modern everyday perceptions of the phenomenon: she forwards its importance as a foundation of female-male relationships and thus seems to perpetuate an idea that reminds the historian of medieval ideas on love and marriage.2 However she might have imagined the concrete realization of this ideal, she obviously did not draw a rigid line between relationships including sexual activity and non-sexual types.

Keywords

Europe Defend Avant Alan Leprosy 

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Notes

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