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Do Ut Des * Arnoud-Jan A. Bijsterveld

Subtitled “gift-giving, memoria, and conflict management in the medieval Low Countries” I wanted to read this book since I hoped to learn about ‘the glue of society’ in the Middle Ages. Unfortunately the subject mostly concerns the relation of people with the Church, how they give land or gifts for salvation of the soul and such. There seem to be quite a few scholars in different fields who work with this subject, but inspite of the fact that the Low Countries have plenty of material to investigate, the focus of the scholars seems to lay at neighbouring countries. One of Bijsterveld’s reasons to write his book in English was to draw the attention of scholars in the field for our own parts.
What I personally hoped to find is how people within a community created bonds and solved their quarrels. Fortunately the last part is about honour and several things tell me about how certain things survived. When someone wanted to give something to a monastry (s)he had to have consent of relatives; things were given in order to be remembered; Bijsterveld says a few things about repercussions and feuding, so all in all the book is informative, but I would have like to get some more specifics about the prechristian period.
2007 Uitgeverij Verloren, isbn 9789065509581

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