Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe
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Description: Around 300 A.D. European patterns of marriage and kinship were turned on their head. What had previously been the norm - marriage to close kin - became the new taboo. The same applied to adoption, the obligation of a man to marry his brother's widow and a number of other central practices. With these changes Christian Europe broke radically from its own past and established practices which diverged markedly from those of the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. In this highly original and far-reaching work Jack Goody argues that from the fourth century there developed in the northern Mediterranean a distinctive but not undifferentiated kinship system, whose growth can be attributed to the role of the Church in acquiring property formerly held by domestic groups. He suggests that the early Church, faced with the need to provide for people who had left their kin to devote themselves to the life of the Church, regulated the rules of marriage so that wealth could be channelled away from the family and into the Church. Thus the Church became an 'interitor', acquiring vast tracts of property through the alienation of familial rights. At the same time, the structure of domestic life was changed dramatically, the Church placing more emphasis on individual wishes, on conjugality, and on spiritual rather than natural kinship. Tracing the consequences of this change through to the present day, Jack Goody challenges some fundamental assumptions about the making of western society, and provides an alternative focus for future study of the European family, kinship structures and marriage patterns. The questions he raises will provoke much interest and discussion amongst anthropologists, sociologists and historians.
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List price: $72.00
Copyright year: 1983
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 7/7/1983
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
CRIS BEAM is a journalist who has written for several national magazines as well as for public radio. She has an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University and teaches creative writing at Columbia and the New School. She lives in New York.Lyndal Roper is professor of history at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Balliol College.
|List of figures, maps and tables|
|Two sides to the Mediterranean|
|Change in the German lands|
|Cousins and widows, adoptees and concubines|
|From sect to Church|
|Church, land and family in the West|
|Reformation and reform|
|The hidden economy of kinship|
|The spiritual and the natural|
|Kin groups: clans, lineages and lignages|
|From brideprice to dowry?|
|'Bilaterality' and the development of English kin terminology|
|References and bibliography|