Barber, Malcom. "The Order of St. Lazarus and the Crusades." The Catholic Historical Review, July 1994, 439-456.

This article describes a hospitaller order caring mainly for lepers established in the Kingdom of Jerusalem in the 1110s. The Order of the Knights of Saint Lazarus exemplifies the ambivalence of the role of lepers between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries in Western Christendom. Although papal recognition gave the order the same status as the three main chivalrous orders, Barber explores the order's place in society, as well as the place of lepers themselves.

Cawley, Father Martinus, trans. The Life of Alice the Leper. Lafayette: Guadelupe Translations, 1994.

This hagiography glorifies Alice's disfigurement in an attempt to promote her to sainthood. From Alice's life, we learn the leprosy is lonely, and marginalizing to the extent that lepers were unable to participate in the life of the rest of the community. Alice is portrayed as a human being, (if not a martyr,) not one of the "living dead". Her leprosy is idealized--her pain is due to her taking on the sins of the human race.

Cawley, Fr Martinus, "The Life of Alice and the Silver Age at Villers," Cistercian Scholars Quarterly,

This article explores the background of the author and the context in which The Life of Alice the Leper was written. Cawley discusses known facts regarding leprosy in the thirteenth century and tries to pinpoint the author's identity as well as his intent in writing Alice's hagiography.

Douglas, Mary, "Witchcraft and Leprosy: Two Strategies of Exclusion," Man, December 1991, 723-36.

This article compares the rhetoric and circumstances of exclusion of two marginalized groups, lepers in the eleventh through thirteenth centuries, and witches four hundred years later. Douglas compares the attitutdes towards lepers in both Western Christiendom as well as the Eastern Kingdom of Jerusalem. The article claims that inaccurate medical knowledge, changes in poitical authority, and a social shift in the view of the body all combine to the form the harsher stigmas placed on lepers in Western Christiendom.

Dols, Michael W. "The Leper in Islamic Society." Speculum, October 1983, 891-916.

Dols' article explores the legal, religious and social roles of lepers in Islamic society from the beginning of the common era through the nineteenth century. Even though the article lacks evidence from the ninth through the thirteenth centuries, crucial for a true comparison between Islamic and Christian society, there is a general sense that lepers in Islamic and pre-Islamic societies did not experience consistent segregation or persecution on the same level as the lepers in Christian society experienced.

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason.[Folie et deraison: historie de la folle]. Translated by Richard Howard. New York: Pantheon Book, 1965.

Foucault's book on the history of madness claims that insanity is a social construction, intended to deal with the poor at the end of the Middle Ages. He theorizes that madness was invented to replace leprosy, using evidence such as the conversion of lazar houses to insane asylums in the thriteenth centruy when leprosy ceased to be a social problem.

Moore, R.I. The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and Deviance in Western Europe, 950-1250.Oxford: Blackwood Publishers, 1990.

This book is absloutely essential to the discussion of leprosy in Christian society. The thesis of the book is that the defining of deviant groups was necessary in the High Middle Ages in order to reinforce the unity of the rest. Moore discusses and attempts to explain the rise in fear regarding leprosy as well as issues such as the "living dead", the quasi-religious status of the leper, and the association of other marginalized groups with the rhetoric of leprosy.

William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done beyond the Sea. [Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum]. Translated and annotated by Emily Atwater Babcock and A.C. King. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943.

The tale of Baldwin IV, the king of Jerusalem, is told by William of Tyre, Baldwin's tutor and advisor. Baldwin is not segregated or hindered for his leprosy during most of his reign, in spite of the fact that they knew he had the disease before he became king. This is perhaps, because the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem was marginalized as the only Christian state in a hostile territory.

Back to Leper Main Page.

Back to Main Page.