title.none: Response to Williman on Menache (Menache)

identifier.other: baj9928.9903.020 99.03.20

identifier.issn: 1096-746X


publisher.none: .

date.issued: 1999


type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medeival Review

The Medieval Review 99.03.20

Reviewed by:

A reply to Daniel Williman on Sophia Menache's Clement V, TMR 99.03.20,

By Sophia Menache

Department of History, University of Haifa

Prof. Williman's review of my book, Clement V, opens with a distorted presentation of my conclusions. Current research, he claims, rests on two premises: one, that Clement "extended the papal domain on the churches of England and France" for economic, (i.e., family) reasons; and two, that the pope supported Philip the Fair in his policy against the Order of the Temple. Williman concludes that "those inveterate notions remain unshaken by this study." Further, when he refers to the question of "whether Clement belonged to the equivocal category [of the] Popes of Avignon" he also assumes--wrongly-- that "Menache seems to answer this question affirmatively."

Williman's summary of my research is completely misleading, since my book demonstrates that research premises until now have actually been erroneous and unfounded. I pointed out that Clement's policy in the churches of England and France strengthened, not the papacy but, instead, the national kings and their treasures at the expense of the papal monarchy itself (pp. 54-100). I further demonstrated that during the long trial of the Templars, though the pope annulled the Order by apostolic authority, he openly opposed Philip the Fair's economic interests in favor of the Order of St John (pp. 238- 46). Moreover, with regard to papal policy in France, both in the case of Flanders (pp. 180-91), and during the trial of Boniface VIII (pp. 191-99), Clement developed an independent, if not hostile, attitude towards the King of France. All these conclusions were overlooked by Prof. Williman.

The same careless report characterizes his third assumption, concerning the Avignonese identity, which he claims--quite wrongly--that I ascribe to Clement V. On p. 3, for example, I wrote: "Bernard Guillemain has rightly pointed out that neither in his intentions nor in his behaviour should Clement be considered the first pope of Avignon;" again, pp. 23-25: "Facts alone, thus, do not support reference to Clement V as the first pope of Avignon, whether in terms of 'captivity' or of free political choice." The lack of accuracy also characterizes Williman's summary of the different chapters of my book, either by offering a distorted image (for example, regarding the pope's personality) or by overlooking the content of full chapters (i.e., Italy, England, the Council of Vienne, the Clementinae). On a technical matter, Williman finds fault with my English style. It is true that English is not my native tongue; but in making this criticism, he actually is questioning the professional ability of C.U.P. editors. In this connection, it may be interesting to note that another reviewer, Prof. Colin Morris, found the same book a "learned and elegantly written discussion of the reign [of Clement V]" (Times Literary Supplement 18 Dec. 98, p.26).

Undoubtedly, Williman's most serious complaints concern my quotation technique. Let us follow some of his remarks:

1] First, he openly accuses me of "undergraduate peccadillo" and "verbatim plagiary," because (on page 2) I refered to, but did not quote (in the meaning of an exact quotation), his opinion on the Avignon Papacy. Though the footnote that accompanies the text gives Williman full credit, he apparently thinks this to be insufficient--it is after all merely a simple footnote--and prefers, instead, to criticize the lack of quotation marks. This attitude, furthermore, appears rather idiosyncratic, considering the fact that Prof. Williman himself recognizes that "a small change or two" was introduced into the text under consideration. According to basic quotation rules, these changes exclude the use of quotation marks.

2] According to Williman, the last sentence on p. 23 was taken from Guillemain's La cour d'Avignon. Guillemain's works are intensively cited and quoted throughout the book. This particular sentence, however, was not taken from Guillemain; rather, it is the outcome of my independent research into the papal registers (as reflected in the map on p. 24) and the three articles referred to in n. 92.

3] In the case of Renouard's La papaute a Avignon, Williman has two claims: one is wrong, the other is right. I used the English version, which appears in the bibliography, not the French; unfortunately, the appropriate citation was indeed omitted during the editing process. On the other hand, this book as well as other works are extensively quoted and cited throughout my study. It seems rather baseless to hint that I had any intention of not mentioning Renouard in this particular case.

4] Concerning pp. 30-33, 51-52, and 125, Williman declares that they "have pastiches from the 1963 version of Mollat, The popes of Avignon, pp. 6-8." One would have to agree that to turn two pages from Mollat's French edition into six pages of English requires extraordinary rhetorical skills. In this case, Williman disregards the rich testimony of sources that accompanies the text as well as the many citations of other works by the same Mollat, especially the sources he edited. To be more precise, on pp. 30-33 alone, notes 124, 125, 143, 144, 145, 146, and 149 are ascribed to Mollat.

5] As to Williman's complaints regarding my reference to, but not quotation of, J.S. Hamilton's and Pierre Chaplais's studies on Piers Gaveston, the lack of quotation marks represent the same rule that I mentioned above (n. 1). Besides, both authors are extensively cited (on pp. 256 n. 44; p. 257 n. 45, n. 49; p. 259 n. 62; p. 260 n.68, n. 70; p. 261 n.76; p. 265 n.99).

I think that any historian is faced with the need to make a balance between text and footnotes, and indeed footnotes cover about half of the text of Clement V. To point to some phrase, and not an unusual one coined by the author, and then to argue that a work was not cited or that it was cited but not quoted with quotation marks seems rather fastidious, or unjustifiably argumentative. Williman's allegations of plagiarism are clearly unfounded and should receive no credence.

In a last attempt to deny any value to Clement V, Prof. Williman goes even further and questions the author's understanding of modern works. The question of whether his interpretation is right or not, I leave to the readers who can read and compare the two examples he has brought. Finally, I would like to join Prof. Williman in his hope to protect the professional reputations of authors whose names appear "on the editorial boards of such distinguished historical series as the Cambridge Studies." His tendentious review, however, could hardly be considered a positive stage