Date of Award

2011

First Advisor

Colette van Kerckvoorde

Second Advisor

Nancy Bonvillain

Third Advisor

Brian Conolly

Abstract

This work aims to describe and examine the beliefs about the supernatural in two cultures which, despite coexisting in the same area at the same time, were very different. The first is that of the Latin-literate scholars, the second that of the vernacular, or of the 'folk.' There is considerable debate about where the line between these cultures can be drawn and where they overlapped. In this work, emphasis is placed on the role which the Christian Church played in the interactions. Some beliefs are found uniquely from one group or the other, suggesting that even though there was overlap, these cultures can be discussed as discrete. For example, the Latin scholars were focused on the philosophy of the supernatural, while those who adhered to the vernacular traditions were much more interested in beliefs that emphasized supernatural creatures and folk-remedies. After examining each culture separately, I examine how the previously separate beliefs merged in the High and Late Middle Ages as the class stratification in England (and the rest of Great Britain) changed due to the Norman invasions.

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