Notes and Bibliography on Jacques Fournier

Jacques Fournier was a man who ascended from a humble birth (c. 1280) to appointments as Bishop of Pamiers (1317), Bishop of Mirepoix (1326), Cardinal (1327) and finally to election as Pope Benedict XII of Avignon (1334). He made a name for himself by his skill as administrator and inquisitor particuarly during the years 1318-1325 when he conducted an extensive campaign against the last remaining Cathar (Albigensian) heretics in the tiny village of Montaillou (in the Pyrenées, in the medieval region of the Comté de Foix, modern department of Ariège), as well as others who had lapsed from the faith.

Fournier's Inquisition Record is one of the most remarkable and comprehensive documents to survive from the Middle Ages. Fournier was a man of meticulous habits and carefully supervised the keeping of his records. As a result, the records of his inquisitions -- though primarily concerned with matters of faith -- have served as the foundation of one of the classics of modern social history, Emmanuel LeRoy Ladurie's magisterial work Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error. This work presents an entire portrait of medieval Occitan village life based on the extensive confessions made to Fournier. Only rarely do those who confessed to Fournier dispute with him over fine points of theology (the Jew Baruch is one noteworthy exception); usually those confessing give an intriguing portrait of themselves, their families and their everyday life.

This WebSite contains selected confessions, mostly by women, and is intended to make accessible these intriguing documents, which are not currently available in English. The manuscript of Jacques Fournier's Inquisition Record is currently found in the Vatican Library, Lat. MS. 4030. and modern editions are available in Latin and French. I have worked from both of these editions. For general historical background and a discussion of Occitan society at this time, see Bray's translation of Ladurie's Montaillou .
For further information, see the following:

Fournier, Jacques, Le Registre d'Inquisition de Jacques Fournier, evêque de Pamiers (1318-1325), Latin manuscript no. 4030 in the Vatican Library, edited by Jean Duvernoy, Toulouse, 1965, 3 vols. (in Latin)

Fournier, Jacques, Le Registre d'Inquisition de Jacques Fournier (Evêque de Pamiers) 1318-1325, traduit et annoté par Jean Duvernoy, Préface de Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Centre de Recherches Historiques, Civilisations et Sociétés 43, (Paris: Mouton, 1978) 3 vols. (in French)

Ladurie, Emmanuel LeRoy. Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error, trans. by Barbara Bray. (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).

Ladurie, Emmanuel Le Roy. Montaillou, village occitan de 1294 à 1324. (Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1975).

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