In So Great a Light, So Great a Smoke, Louisa A. Burnham takes us inside the world of a little-known heretical group in the south of France in the early fourteenth century. The Beguins were a small sect of priests and lay people allied to (and sharing many of the convictions of) the Spiritual Franciscans. They stressed poverty in their pursuit of a Franciscan evangelical ideal and believed themselves to be living in the Last Days. By the late thirteenth century, the leaders of the order and the popes themselves had begun to discipline the Spirituals, and by 1317 they had been deemed a heresy. The Beguins refused to accept this situation and began to evade and confront the inquisitorial machine.
Burnham follows the lives of nine Beguins as they conceal themselves in cities, construct an
So Great a Light, So Great a Smoke
Cornell University Press
Religious communities & monasticism
The Beguin Heretics of Languedoc
Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past
Mind, Body & Spirit /