The Augustinian Canons: Their Influence on History
Butler, Mark G.
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What is the significance of the Augustinian canons? How do they fit into the scheme of the Middle Ages? To which trend do they belong? What were their reasons for developing? Why did monks and secular clergy become Augustinian canons? These are but a few of the long list of unanswered questions relating to what J. C. Dickinson refers to as "the most neglected religious order of the Medieval church." (1) This paper will attempt to explain some of the mysteries surrounding the Augustinian canons and their significance in Medieval society. Beginning with a chronological summary of their order, the paper will examine their function, their nature, and their relationship to the monks, the secular clergy, and the friars. In doing so, this paper will show that the importance of the Augustinian canons has long been overlooked and that they may well have been a crucial stepping stone between the monastic and secular worlds of the early and central Middle Ages and the friar1s world of the later Middle Ages.