Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Warren C. Brown
In modern English, “community” reflects a quality of being held in common. In particular, it often connotes a group of people of more or less similar social and political status sharing a sense of collective political, social, or religious identity and acting together in the common interest. In medieval Europe, the Latin word communitas could likewise refer to a body of people sharing something in common, be it residence, property, a way of life, status, interests, or goals. Medieval sources also, however, use other words to describe what we would call a sense of community. Modern scholarship on medieval communities, therefore, is concerned both with how medieval people understood communitas and with groups, however described, that acted as collectives or shared common imperatives or values, whether expressed or implicit. This entry reviews the evolution of the medieval concept of community from a general notion of fellowship to that of In ...