Clerics, Blunt Weapons, and Christian Assumptions

One of the neat things about digging up many of pre-1970s works that inspired D&D is finding the origins of some of D&D's concepts and rules.

One items which received a lot of humor back in its day was the restriction of clerics only being able to use blunt weapons as they were forbidden from using weapons which shed blood. Anyone who has seen a medieval mace knows that a solid hit with one of those is going to shed a lot of blood, blunt weapon or not.

Recently I was reading Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. It included the following statement:
[The knight] also had available, either attached tio his saddle or carried by his squire, a longer sword for thrusting like a lance, a battle-ax fitted with a spike behind the curving blade, and a club-headed mace with sharpened, ridged edges, a weapon favored by martial bishops and abbots on the theory it did not come under the rule forbidding clerics "to smite with the edge of the sword."

This work is copyrighted 1978 so it was clearly not the actual source for the rule regarding clerics but it clearly does represent the reasoning used for a cleric's weapon restriction. I'm not certain if this is "true" or not - I've done some Googling and have seen people who do not feel there was any such restriction but either way there are clearly sources that support this restriction that Gygax and company must have encountered.

It is interesting to note how the early cleric class appears to have a high level of medieval Christian assumptions built into it. Beyond the restrictions on weapons, much of the early artwork, spells, and titles are indicative of a Christian holy order. For example the illustration show here from page 12 of the 1st edition Players Handbook is clearly indicative of a Christian holy order. Similarly artifacts such as the Mace of St. Cuthbert point in that direction as well.

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