But how was this heterogeneity and ambivalence experienced (or not) and theorized (or not) by early modern confessants
"in a public religious culture that," as Streete writes, "tended toward polemical extremes" (94)?
who first reflect themselves in the self-conscious mirror of the mind find themselves sharing, narcissus-like, into the imperfect paragraphs of the text.
and confessors alike appear to be entangled and enveloped in a web of power relations from which there is no chance of escape.
Recognizing that it is impossible to settle all moral questions once and for all in theory, moral theologians such as Lessius set out to dam the flood of scruples by providing confessants
at least with a minimal degree of practical certainty.
The term "penitents" refers to any person making confession to a priest in the course of the practice of the Catholic Christian faith, although as the subtitle indicates, Bilinkoff delimits her study to women confessants
5) Foucault's interpretation of confession is nevertheless historically tendentious because it neither attends to pre-Lateran confessional practices nor acknowledges the reality that most medieval and early modern Christians made poor confessants
There, priests are instructed to extract, even from hesitant confessants
, clear details about their sexual habits by asking very pointed questions: "Friend, do you remember when you were young, about tenor twelve years old, did your rod or virile member ever stand erect?
Written in the 1870s at a time that witnessed the intensification of the debate concerning auricular confession, O Crime do Padre Amaro focuses on the power conferred upon the confessor in relation to female confessants
32)) As a general posture, however, the skepticism of the literary approach is based, I believe, too much on the examples of confessants
who exhibit what Martin Luther referred to as obsessive scrupulosity.
We can also situate Camus's novel within a long literary tradition -- extending from The Canterbury Tales(16) to The Crucible(17) -- in which the lines between confessants
and confessors are blurred.
The splintered selves of these confessants
is often due to their overweening concern about the way they are being perceived by others The confessor's authority lies in his or her capacity to assist the other toward recovering what Bakhtin calls "the deepest I,"(3) or what might be understood as "the prosaic self.
5) He expands the audience of earlier penitentials, which instructed confessors in mediating general theoretical ideas and actual practice, and addresses a primary constituency, not only confessors but also confessants