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Document Details :
Title: The Writings of Master Geert Grote of Deventer, Deacon (1340-84)
Author(s): VAN ENGEN, John
Journal: Ons Geestelijk Erf
Volume: 78 Issue: 3-4 Date: December 2004
The new Prolegomena to the works of Geert Grote permit us to consider the nature of his writings and their reception. He was best known by far for his attack on priests with companions. His sermons have come down to us only in so far as they were captured in “sayings” or transformed into tractates. The crucial center of his apostolate lay in his letters and responses, which should be treated and presented as a complex whole to get at his active reforming presence in his society. The edition of the socalled “Contra turrim” is superior to the previous edition by Post but still does not reconstruct the work in its original form, as a legal response to an unjust episcopal law. Master Geert defended unknown clients or friends from an automatic sentence of excommunication attached to any failure or refusal to support the cathedral building-fund. They had, it appears, given monies, probably ill-gotten gain or usurious profits, to a local charity instead, and Grote defends their actions as just within the laws of Christ and conscience, impugning, along the way, clerical greed and pomp manifest in raising monies by coercion for the building of sumptuous churches.