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Mark Gregory Pegg (born 1963) is an Australian professor of medieval history, currently teaching in the United States at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He specializes in scholarship of the Albigensian Crusade and the Inquisition, the history of heresy, and the history of holiness. He is author of The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245–1246 and A Most Holy War: The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom.
A Most Holy War presents a radically revisionist challenge to two forms of passive acceptance of the Inquisitorial construction of the 'Cathars' as a specific heretical church - both the Catholic apologetic view that the first Inquisition was a response to the threat of rival faith; as well as the Protestant tradition of seeing medieval heretics as ancestors of the Reformation. In both cases, Pegg shows, historians have accepted too readily that such a person as a 'Cathar' ever actually existed. Reading deeply into the inquisitorial inquiry records, Pegg draws out the unique approaches to holiness of Languedocian cultures of the Middle Ages, demonstrating that there was no Cathar church as such and that the construction of their heresy was a pure inquisitorial fantasy, producing one of the earliest well-documented examples of genocidal killing in the history of proto-nation-state formation.
Pegg was born in 1963 in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia, and grew up in Woy Woy. He received his Bachelor's degree in 1987 from the University of Sydney. He received his Master's (1993) and Ph.D. (1997) from Princeton University. He became a visiting professor at Washington University in 1998, was hired as an assistant professor in 1999 and was promoted to associate professor in 2004 and professor in 2009. In 2005, he was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon New Directions Fellowship; in 2009/2010, he received the Supplemental Award to the New Directions Fellowship.
Pegg has published widely on the subject of the Crusades and Inquisition. Selected works include:
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