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This source book offers a comprehensive treatment of solitary religious lives in England in the late Middle Ages. It covers both enclosed recluses (anchorites) and free-wandering hermits, and explores the relationship between them. Although there has been a recent surge of interest in the solitary vocations, especially anchorites, this has focused almost exclusively on a small number of examples. The field is in need of reinvigoration, and this book provides it. Featuring translated extracts from a wide range of Latin, Middle English and Old French sources, as well as a scholarly introduction and commentary from one of the foremost experts in the field, Hermits and anchorites in England is an invaluable resource for students and lecturers alike. -- .
The nature and reliability of the ancient sources are among the most important issues in the scholarship on the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is noteworthy, therefore, that scholars have grown increasingly skeptical about the value of these materials for reconstructing the life of the Teacher of Righteousness. Travis B. Williams' study is designed to address this new perspective and its implications for historical inquiry. He offers an important corrective to popular conceptions of history and memory by introducing memory theory as a means of informing historical investigation. Charting a new methodological course in Dead Sea Scrolls research, Williams reveals that properly representing the past requires an explanation of how the mnemonic evidence found in the relevant sources could have developed from a historical progression that began with the Teacher. His book represents the first attempt in Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship to integrate history and memory in a comprehensive way.
The English Augustinian Canonesses at Bruges kept records of daily life and key events in their convent from its foundation in 1629. Living in exile, members of the convent were well-aware of their importance to the survival of English Catholicism for women. Keeping full records served to maintain a reputation which would attract influential and wealthy benefactors and well-qualified members; but the Bruges Chronicles are far more than window-dressing. They introduce the reader to members at every level, from impressive community leaders to candidates who failed to live up to expectations and were tactfully nudged out before profession. We meet Prioresses who take on major challenges in fund-raising to pay for building projects, manage disagreements over spiritual direction and adjust to new relationships with secular authorities, the impact of the Enlightenment and finally war. There are some intense personal dramas that unfold alongside nuns who followed the monastic rule to the letter and served the community faithfully over many years. Above all, the the Chronicles reflect the wide-ranging interests of the members, and show clearly that this enclosed community was well-connected with an extensive support network. The Chronicles edited in this volume, taking the story to the eighteenth century and a decision as to whether or not to return to England, are presented with introduction and full notes. Dr Caroline Bowden is a Senior Research Fellow, Queen Mary, University of London.
Comparative Religious Law provides for the first time a study of the regulatory instruments of Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious organisations in Britain in light of their historical religious laws. Norman Doe questions assumptions about the pervasiveness, character and scope of religious laws, from the view that they are not or should not be recognised by civil law, to the idea that there may be a fundamental incompatibility between religious and civil law. It proposes that religious laws pervade society, are recognised by civil law, have both a religious and temporal character, and regulate wide areas of believers' lives. Subjects include sources of law, faith leaders, governance, worship and education, rites of passage, divorce and children, and religion-State relations. A Charter of 'the principles of religious law' common to all three Abrahamic faiths is proposed, to stimulate greater mutual understanding between religion and society and between the three faiths themselves.
This book explores how the Virgin Mary's life is told in hymns, sermons, icons, art, and other media in the Byzantine Empire before AD 1204. A group of international specialists examines material and textual evidence from both Byzantine and Muslim-ruled territories that was intended for a variety of settings and audiences and seeks to explain why Byzantine artisans and writers chose to tell stories about Mary, the Mother of God, in such different ways. Sometimes the variation reflected the theological or narrative purposes of story-tellers; sometimes it expressed their personal spiritual preoccupations. Above all, the variety of aspects that this holy figure assumed in Byzantium reveals her paradoxical theological position as meeting-place and mediator between the divine and created realms. Narrative, whether 'historical', theological, or purely literary, thus played a fundamental role in the development of the Marian cult from Late Antiquity onward.
In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia's medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds--remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia--drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China. Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth's diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world's greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America--five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia. Lost Enlightenment chronicles this forgotten age of achievement, seeks to explain its rise, and explores the competing theories about the cause of its eventual demise. Informed by the latest scholarship yet written in a lively and accessible style, this is a book that will surprise general readers and specialists alike.
In this fascinating historical and cultural biography, Peter Stanford deconstructs that most vilified of Bible characters: Judas Iscariot, who famously betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Beginning with the gospel accounts, Stanford explores two thousand years of cultural and theological history to investigate how the very name Judas came to be synonymous with betrayal and, ultimately, human evil. But as the author points out, there has long been a counter-current of thought that suggests that Judas might in fact have been victim of a terrible injustice: central to Jesus' mission was his death and resurrection, and for there to have been a death, there had to be a betrayal. This thankless role fell to Judas; should we in fact be grateful to him for his role in the divine drama of salvation? "You'll have to decide," as Bob Dylan sang in the sixties, "Whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side." An essential but doomed character in the Passion narrative, and thus the entire story of Christianity, Judas and the betrayal he symbolizes continue to play out in much larger cultural histories, speaking as he does to our deepest fears about friendship, betrayal, and the problem of evil.
The Revd Benjamin Armstrong, for many years vicar of the market town of East Dereham, Norfolk, is best-known for what have been described as "one of England's greatest clerical diaries", eleven volumes spanning his whole adult life, between 1850 and 1888. This first full biography puts his story into the context of the period in which he lived: a time of turmoil in the church, with its conflict between high and low forms of service, and theological arguments, stirred up not least by controversies over Darwin's theories of creation. It also vividly portrays rural life at a time of great change, when society became more fluid, railways allowed the economy to grow and develop, and the vote was extended. We see this through the eyes of Armstrong himself, a fine example of the then "new-style" Church of England clergy who lived in their parishes, took more services than their predecessors, supported their schools and showed a genuine concern for the well-being of their parishioners. By the time he retired, church life in Dereham had been transformed, with congregations typically of 1,000 at each of the Sunday services. Armstrong also served on various Local Boards, as well as setting up the Literary Institute, the Rifle Volunteers and supporting musical and cultural events. He also had a full social life; his friends included prominent townspeople and the local clergy, gentry and aristocracy -- and there are incisive pen portraits of many of his associates and their eccentricities. These activities are set against the background of his family life, with its moments of tragedy and worry, including the death of a young child and the elopement of another. Dr SUSANNA WADE MARTINS is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History at the University of East Anglia. Her previous publications include The East Anglian Countryside: Changing Landscapes 1870-1950 with Tom Williamson (2008), Coke of Norfolk, 1754-1842 (2009) and The Conservation Movement in Norfolk - A History (2015).
This volume explores the legal issues and legal consequences underlying relations between secular and religious authorities in the context of the Christian Church, from its earliest emergence within Roman Palestine as a persecuted minority sect through the period when it became legally recognized within the Roman empire, its many institutional manifestations in the East and West throughout the Middle Ages, the reconfigurations associated with the Reformation and Catholic/Counter-Reformations, the legal and constitutional complications, and the variable consequences of so-called secularization thereafter. The engagement of secular and religious authorities with the law and the question of what the law actually comprised (Roman law, canon law, national laws, state and royal edicts) are addressed. Bringing together the work of a wide range of scholars, this volume deepens our understanding of interactions between the churches and the legal systems in which they existed in the past and continue to exist now.
Late antiquity was a perilous time for children, who were often the first victims of economic crisis, war, and disease. They had a one in three chance of dying before their first birthday, with as many as half dying before age ten. Christian writers accordingly sought to speak to the experience of bereavement and to provide cultural scripts for parents who had lost a child. These late ancient writers turned to characters like Eve and Sarah, Job and Jephthah as models for grieving and for confronting or submitting to the divine. Jephthah's Daughter, Sarah's Son traces the stories these writers crafted and the ways in which they shaped the lived experience of familial bereavement in ancient Christianity. A compelling social history that conveys the emotional lives of people in the late ancient world, Jephthah's Daughter, Sarah's Son is a powerful portrait of mourning that extends beyond antiquity to the present day.
A history of unparalleled scope that charts the global transformation of Christianity during an age of profound political and cultural change Christianity in the Twentieth Century charts the transformation of one of the world's great religions during an age marked by world wars, genocide, nationalism, decolonization, and powerful ideological currents, many of them hostile to Christianity. Written by a leading scholar of world Christianity, the book traces how Christianity evolved from a religion defined by the culture and politics of Europe to the expanding polycentric and multicultural faith it is today--one whose growing popular support is strongest in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, China, and other parts of Asia. Brian Stanley sheds critical light on themes of central importance for understanding the global contours of modern Christianity, illustrating each one with contrasting case studies, usually taken from different parts of the world. Unlike other books on world Christianity, this one is not a regional survey or chronological narrative, nor does it focus on theology or ecclesiastical institutions. Rather, Stanley provides a history of Christianity as a popular faith experienced and lived by its adherents, telling a compelling and multifaceted story of Christendom's fortunes in Europe, North America, and across the rest of the globe. Transnational in scope and drawing on the latest scholarship, Christianity in the Twentieth Century demonstrates how Christianity has had less to fear from the onslaughts of secularism than from the readiness of Christians themselves to accommodate their faith to ideologies that privilege racial identity or radical individualism.
For many English puritans, the new world represented new opportunities for the reification of reformation, if not a site within which they might begin to experience the conditions of the millennium itself. For many Irish Catholics, by contrast, the new world became associated with the experience of defeat, forced transportation, indentured service, cultural and religious loss. And yet, as the chapters in this volume demonstrate, the Atlantic experience of puritans and Catholics could be much less bifurcated than some of the established scholarly narratives have suggested: puritans and Catholics could co-exist within the same trans-Atlantic families; Catholics could prosper, just as puritans could experience financial decline; and Catholics and puritans could adopt, and exchange, similar kinds of belief structures and practical arrangements, even to the extent of being mistaken for each other. This volume investigates the history of Puritans and Catholics in the Atlantic world, 1600-1800.
Ripon Minster was St Wilfrid's church, and its vast parish at the edge of the Yorkshire dales was his domain, his memory living on among the people of his parish centuries after his death. Wilfrid was a saint for all seasons: his three feast days punctuated the cycle of the agricultural year and an annual procession sought his blessings on the growing crops each May. This procession brought together many of the parish's earthly lords - the clergy and the gentry - as they carried the relics of their celestial patron. In death they hoped that they too would be remembered, and so remain a part of parish society for as long as their tombs survived or prayers were said for them in the church of Ripon. This book charts the developments in the practice of religion, and in particular the commemoration of the deceased, from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries in this important parish. In particular, it shows how the twin necessities of honouring the minster's patron saint and remembering the parish dead had a profound effect on the practice of religion in late medieval Ripon, shaping everything from the ritual calendar to weekly and daily religious routines. It provides, moreover, insights into the state of English religion on the eve of the Reformation. Stephen Werronen completed his PhD at the University of Leeds and is currently a visiting researcher at the Arnamagnaean Institute, University of Copenhagen.
If there was one person who could be said to light the touch-paper for the epochal transformation of European religion and culture that we now call the Reformation, it was Martin Luther. And Luther and his followers were to play a central role in the Protestant world that was to emerge from the Reformation process, both in Germany and the wider world. In all senses of the term, this religious pioneer was a huge figure in European history. Yet there is also the very uncomfortable but at the same time undeniable fact that he was an anti-semite. Written by one of the world's leading authorities on the Reformation, this is the vexed and sometimes shocking story of Martin Luther's increasingly vitriolic attitude towards the Jews over the course of his lifetime, set against the backdrop of a world in religious turmoil. A final chapter then reflects on the extent to which the legacy of Luther's anti-semitism was to taint the Lutheran church over the following centuries. Scheduled for publication on the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation's birth, in light of the subsequent course of German history it is a tale both sobering and ominous in equal measure.
Religious diversity has long been a defining feature of the United States. But what may be even more remarkable than the sheer range of faiths is the diversity of political visions embedded in those religious traditions. Matthew Bowman delves into the ongoing struggle over the potent word "Christian," not merely to settle theological disputes but to discover its centrality to American politics. As Christian: The Politics of a Word in America shows, for many American Christians, concepts like liberty and equality are rooted in the transcendent claims about human nature that Christianity offers. Democracy, equality under the law, and other basic principles of American government are seen as depending on the Christian faith's sustenance and support. Yet despite this presumed consensus, differing Christian beliefs have led to dispute and disagreement about what American society and government should look like. While many white American Protestants associate Christianity with Western Euro-American civilization, individual liberty, and an affirmation of capitalism, other American Christians have long rejected those assumptions. They maintain that Christian principles demand political programs as wide-ranging as economic communalism, international cooperation, racial egalitarianism, and social justice. The varieties of American Christian experience speak to an essentially contested concept of political rights and wrongs. Though diverse Christian faiths espouse political visions, Christian politics defy clear definition, Bowman writes. Rather, they can be seen as a rich and varied collection of beliefs about the interrelationships of divinity, human nature, and civic life that engage and divide the nation's Christian communities and politics alike.
Manchuria entered the twentieth century as a neglected backwater of the dying Qing dynasty, and within a few short years became the focus of intense international rivalry to control its resources and shape its people. This book examines the place of religion in the development of Manchuria from the late nineteenth century to the collapse of the Japanese Empire in 1945. Religion was at the forefront in this period of intense competition, not just between armies but also among different models of legal, commercial, social and spiritual development, each of which imagining a very specific role for religion in the new society. Debates over religion in Manchuria extended far beyond the region, and shaped the personality of religion that we see today. This book is an ambitious contribution to the field of Asian history and to the understanding of the global meaning and practice of the role of religion.
Jonathan Berkey surveys the religious history of the peoples of the Near East from approximately 600 to 1800 c.e. After examining the religious scene in the Near East in late antiquity, he investigates Islam's first century, the "classical" period from the accession of the Abbasids to the rise of the Buyid amirs. He then traces the emergence of new forms of Islam in the middle period, deftly showing how Islam emerged slowly as part of a prolonged process.
Keeping lonely vigil in a remote hermit's cave, wading naked into the sea to pray, climbing sacred mountains, sleeping on a deserted holy isle, sheltering under a sacred tree, and even preaching to birds and other wildlife: all these were the work of holy men and women in ancient Britain. A love of creation is at the heart of this religious instinct, which has left its mark on the British landscape in numerous unexpected ways. The world's first nature reserve was set up on Inner Farne Island in the 7th century by St Cuthbert, an instinct to preserve that finds its modern counterpart in the National Trust and our national parks. Even our well-known love of pets finds its earliest expression in the ways of hermits, who would gather wildlife around their dwellings and fend off royal hunting parties. This book will challenge perceptions of our relationship with the landscape, with animals, with the elements and ultimately with the body itself.
This book focuses on the attempts of three ascetics--John Moschus, Sophronius of Jerusalem, and Maximus Confessor--to determine the Church's power and place during a period of profound crisis, as the eastern Roman empire suffered serious reversals in the face of Persian and then Islamic expansion. By asserting visions which reconciled long-standing intellectual tensions between asceticism and Church, these authors established the framework for their subsequent emergence as Constantinople's most vociferous religious critics, their alliance with the Roman popes, and their radical rejection of imperial interference in matters of the faith. Situated within the broader religious currents of the fourth to seventh centuries, this book throws new light on the nature not only of the holy man in late antiquity, but also of the Byzantine Orthodoxy that would emerge in the Middle Ages, and which is still central to the churches of Greece and Eastern Europe.
It is a frequent complaint that women have been airbrushed out of history, their contributions forgotten, their voices silenced. In this superbly written book, historian Derek Wilson redresses the balance, showing how women were crucial to the Reformation. Working alongside men - and sometimes in opposition to them - women were able to study, to speak, to write, to struggle and even to die for what they believed, and to leave behind a record of all these achievements. From Catharina Luther, through English martyr Anne Askew to Elizabeth I and onwards out into Europe - this book reveals the rich threads women brought to the tapestry of history.
The Deeds of the abbots of St Albans records the history of one of the most important abbeys in England, closely linked to the royal family and home to a school of distinguished chroniclers, including Matthew Paris and Thomas Walsingham. It offers many insights into the life of the monastery, its buildings and its role as a maker of books, and covers the period from the Conquest to the mid-fifteenth century.
From an acclaimed historian, a mesmerizing account of how medieval European Christians envisioned the paradoxical nature of holy objects Between the twelfth and the sixteenth centuries, European Christians used in worship a plethora of objects, not only prayer books, statues, and paintings but also pieces of natural materials, such as stones and earth, considered to carry holiness, dolls representing Jesus and Mary, and even bits of consecrated bread and wine thought to be miraculously preserved flesh and blood. Theologians and ordinary worshippers alike explained, utilized, justified, and warned against some of these objects, which could carry with them both anti-Semitic charges and the glorious promise of heaven. Their proliferation and the reaction against them form a crucial background to the European-wide movements we know today as "reformations" (both Protestant and Catholic). In a set of independent but inter-related essays, Caroline Bynum considers some examples of such holy things, among them beds for the baby Jesus, the headdresses of medieval nuns, and the footprints of Christ carried home from the Holy Land by pilgrims in patterns cut to their shape or their measurement in lengths of string. Building on and going beyond her well-received work on the history of materiality, Bynum makes two arguments, one substantive, the other methodological. First, she demonstrates that the objects themselves communicate a paradox of dissimilar similitude-that is, that in their very details they both image the glory of heaven and make clear that that heaven is beyond any representation in earthly things. Second, she uses the theme of likeness and unlikeness to interrogate current practices of comparative history. Suggesting that contemporary students of religion, art, and culture should avoid comparing things that merely "look alike," she proposes that humanists turn instead to comparing across cultures the disparate and perhaps visually dissimilar objects in which worshippers as well as theorists locate the "other" that gives their religion enduring power.
Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Middle Ages were divided in many ways. But one thing they shared in common was the fear that God was offended by wrong belief. Medieval Heresies: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is the first comparative survey of heresy and its response throughout the medieval world. Spanning England to Persia, it examines heresy, error, and religious dissent - and efforts to end them through correction, persuasion, or punishment - among Latin Christians, Greek Christians, Jews, and Muslims. With a lively narrative that begins in the late fourth century and ends in the early sixteenth century, Medieval Heresies is an unprecedented history of how the three great monotheistic religions of the Middle Ages resembled, differed from, and even interrelated with each other in defining heresy and orthodoxy.
Different forms of religious worship and ritual are present throughout the development of human beings, from early stone-age ritual, nature religion and ancestor worship, to faiths from which Christianity and the Eucharist emerge. In this book, Bastiaan Baan traces the origins and metamorphosis of human religion in historical, theological and humanistic terms, examining its significance for human life on earth and in the spiritual world.
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