In this era, penitential books appeared with lists of sins and prescribed punishments.
For instance, the penitential attributed to Vinniaus, who wrote in 6th-century Ireland, states:
To help the Church bear this heavy burden, I propose that she rediscover one of her venerable traditions--praying the penitential psalms.
Praying the penitential psalms is a tradition that was inexplicably discarded following the Second Vatican Council, but it need not be irretrievably lost.
The editors conclude that the text was not simply conceived as a translation of Theodoran material, but represented an attempt at reshaping earlier penitential material to suit a different context, hinting at a possible Alfredian context for the translation.
The content of the penitential itself provides unusual insight into issues that affected the daily lives of the Anglo-Saxons, and what was considered acceptable moral behaviour.
If one were to consult only Korogodina's penitentials
, for example, one might conclude that sexual transgression was the overwhelming concern of Orthodox priests hearing confession.
A range of religious texts used in this way included the two types that are the focus of Smith's study, penitentials
and nunnery rules.
The relationship was role-structured and the defining sexual act was anal intercourse (ex parte post or retro, a terminology that goes back to the early medieval penitentials
Raymund Kottje has been working for several years on the Penitentials
of the Western Church.
The author points out that penitentials
were not a product of the church hierarchy, but instead were compiled locally and "varied from parish to parish." The result was a labyrinth of rules about sexual behaviors and their corresponding penances that were, by the author's account, some of the most pell-mell collections of unintentional erotica and intentional repression ever created.
Although she asserts that the seventh-century diffusions of penitentials
she considers Celtic "marked a culmination of processes that had been set in motion over two centuries earlier" (269), she offers no discussion of the content or texts of those penitentials
In contrast with the usual evaluations of Celtic penance, Connolly puts forward a theological study of the Irish penitentials
that is almost totally positive.
To understand the passionate rejection of the integrity of confession, I will briefly situate the summae confessorum in the tradition of the general patristic penitential
practice and the Irish and Frankish penitentials
to demonstrate the rigorist tradition which the summae confessorum mediated to the Reformation.
These texts reflect the desire of tent-hand eleventh-century bishops to promote reform by asserting their authority over their priests and penitential