Read The Cult of the Saints Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity

F Nola who are our guides to the growing adoration of the saints in the transition from the Rome centric culture of the Empire to a much dispersed relationship of interdependent loci of Christian worshiplife of the mindBrown is absolutely explicit and open about the fact that this book leaves out enormous chunks of Romanearly medieval culture he s talking about the upper class male intellectuals who created and transmitted the theological core of hagiophilia love of the saints I don t know if that was previously a word but I need it to be right now He discusses women and the poor and we can talk about the infinite drop down list of problems with the way he conceptualizes the two as monolithic and discrete categories some other time only anecdotally so if what ou really want is social history this is not the book for ou I found it both a pleasure to read and a useful introduction to the intellectual end of a fascinating phenomenonThere s also a thing in here that if I were still teaching undergraduate English I would totally use for an upper level course on pilgrimages and uestsBy localizing the holy in this manner martyrs shrines late antiue Christianity could feed on the facts of distance and on the joys of proximity This distance might be physical distance For this pilgrimage was the remedy As Alphonse Dupront has put it so succinctly pilgrimage was une th rapie par l espace The pilgrim committed himself or herself to the therapy of distance by recognizing that what he or she wished for was not to be had in the immediate environment Distance could symbolize needs unsatisfied so that as Dupront continues le p lerinage demeure essentiallement depart pilgrimage remains essentially the fact of leaving But distance is there to be overcome the experience of pilgrimage activates a earning for intimate closeness For the pilgrims who arrived after the obvious therapy of distance involved in long travel found themselves subjected to the same therapy by the nature of the shrine itself For the art of the shrine in late antiuity is an art of closed surfaces Behind these surfaces the holy lay either totally hidden or glimpsed through narrow apertures The opacity of the surfaces heightened an awareness of the ultimate unattainability in this life of the person ie the saint they had traveled over such wide spaces to touch Brown 86 87There is so much in this passage if as I am ou are predisposed to map the structure of the pilgrimage onto other texts I d really like discussions of how MacGuffins and PROs Priceless Ritual Objects Edward Gorey s term do and don t map onto saints relics the way The Lord of the Rings is an anti pilgrimage Frodo has to get to Mount Doom pilgrimage but it s to rid himself of the unholy I feel perfectly okay using that adjective for the Ring in this context rather than to approach the holy the difference between a uest and a pilgrimage and how those differences affect the structure of a work Odysseus is on a pilgrimage to reach his home Aeneas is on a uest to find somewhere to call home why fantasy as a genre is so invested in the therapy of distance the effect of the uest structure used for instance by the movie version of The Wizard of Oz wherein the uester goes through perils and trials only to discover that what she s looking for was at homeon her feet the whole time the definition of home for that matter and what its value is as a place of pilgrimage andor uest object And the potential reading list The Canterbury Tales The Faerie ueene Sir Gawain and the Green Knight The Lord of the Rings Don uixote Pilgrim s Progress Growing Up Weightless because we need to start teaching John M Ford The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Supernatural To the Lighthouse if I want to get pretentious high brow literary into Bloomsbury because I am not touching Joyce with a ten foot pole the Odyssey the Aeneid hey the Satyricon just to embarrass the fuck out of my students Heart of Darkness post colonial reading Candide Gulliver s Travels Huckleberry Finn and the picaresue in general because it both is and isn t like uests and pilgrimages Return to Nev ry n which are meta parody of the whole genre on top of everything else they re doing The X Files Le Petit Prince this list badly needs women and people of color because apparently ou can take the girl out of the canon but ou can t take the canon out of the girl The Wizard of Oz books and the 1939 movie since the movie differs pretty dramatically from Baum s original in its valuations of Oz and Kansas Lassie Come Home Pinocchio The Velveteen Rabbit The Incredible Journey The Beginning Place there d have to be a small assortment of core texts and a smorgasbord of secondary reading because apparently what I actually want to teach is a graduate seminar and then a wide variety of works that students could do individual research projects on basically anything they could make a case for I know there must be manga that would be perfect for instance but I have no idea what ending with presentations to the class If enrollment was small enough we could try to fake up a sort of mini conference ahem Here endeth the digressionIf ou are interested in this odd little corner of history this book is absolutely worth finding I really like Virginia Woolf although for her nonfiction than her fiction BUT I HAVE RUN OUT OF I have run out of with the artificial divide between literary and popular fiction that the soi disant literati of the early twentieth century created in Anglophone literature And I m afraid she d be a pain in the ass to teach Ditto come to think of it for Mervyn Peake Gormenghast would be awesome conceptually but oh my god a nightmare about a plague in the classroom Also try though I do to overcome it I really dislike himIf anyone wants to try and "actually teach this course ou have 100% permission "teach this course ou have 100% permission steal my idea Had to read for my Saints and Sinners in the Middle Ages course Interesting material but would not have gone searching for it on my own I read this book for a class so it wasn t really voluntary but it turned out to be really interesting It covers the functions of saints and relics in he late antiuity so up to about 1000 AD almost It s a short read and pretty academic but not so bad that Catamount, Tome 3 : La justice des corbeaux you re lost But honestly I think what made it interesting was the exposure to relics that I ve had in the pastear and a half I found it relevant to life right now and without that relevance I don t think I would have enjoyed it as much. A gift for the memorable phrase and sees what the passersby have often overlooked An eye opener on an important but neglected phase of Western development The Christian Century Brilliantly original and highly sophisticated The Cult of the Saints is based on great learning in several disciplines and the story is told with an exceptional appreciation for the broad social context Students of many aspects of medieval culture especially popular religion will want to consult this work Bennett D Hill Library Journal. Hieved their place in the medieval era I found the book interesting though I would love a theological treatment of how the saints functioned and function in Catholicism Of course I can t criticize Brown for not writing that book as he is a historian and this book is a good piece of historical writing This was an interesting book Brown traces the development of the cult of saints in western Christianity mainly as he explores the inclusive and developing popular religion and the somewhat aloof religion of the clergy Brown essentially rejects the development of the cult of saints as the natural evolution of popular superstition Instead he recounts examples of how this form of piety was championed by the elite as well as artistic developments See my other reviews here I really enjoyed reading this I know I m going against the general grain of reviews here but I didn t find the book to be much of a chore to read It s certainly dense it s only 127 pages and there are a lot of ideas packed in there and it made me slow down my reading pace a bit but I don t think any of it is unnecessary Considering the complexity of his ideas and the number of pages he uses to convey them I think the work as a whole winds up being rather elegant It s also really thoughtful Brown presents and then effectively rejects the traditional idea of a two tiered society in late antiuity in which the pseudo paganism that remained in the lower rural classes that had just converted to Christianity forced the cultural and social elite to grudgingly accept the cult of the saints Brown instead suggests that the cult of the saints was an essentially elite phenomenon based on the Roman concepts of friendship and patronage and fraught with tension between the lay and ecclesiastical elites who wished to control it It s a fun argument and a very persuasive one My only small criticism would be that Brown takes his argument a bit too far at the end He suggests that the cult of the saints wound up making nature a passive force drained of the divinity that paganism had attributed to it It s a provocative idea but Brown doesn t give it nearly enough space in his last few pages to adeuately answer the uestions he raises It winds up being too neat an inversion of the argument he initially rejected he s right to say that rural classes didn t contaminate a pure elite religion with saint veneration but I don t think it s fair to argue that the elite promotion of the cult of the saints wiped out rural pre Christian beliefs about nature I have discovered a great scholar of first rank in this book by Peter Brown my first encounter with the erudite historian of the late classical period but certainly not my last It would be difficult to overstate my extreme enthusiasm for this book which is beautiful penetrating and immensely illuminating Brown is a scholar of extraordinary erudition and in this volume he examines the genesis and evolution of the cult of sainthood in Europe from the earliest days of the Christian church through the seventh century Examining the phenomenon from a variety of angles he combines the analytical perspicacity of the finest historiographers with a deep philosophical and humanist insight into the profound human uestions at stake in the transformation of religious culture Brown examines the saint cult in six essays exploring concepts of space holiness the multiplicity of selves presence and distance and power Drawing from an impressive array of classical and modern sources he examines the cardinal aspects of saints such as pilgrimage relics healing powers their use by both peasant and noble alike Brown offers a powerful critiue of the tendency of religious scholars to dismiss the whole phenomenon as merely a holdout of pagan polytheism which he the tendency of religious scholars to dismiss the whole phenomenon as merely a holdout of pagan polytheism which he dismantles with counter evidence and analysis That argument alone is worth the price of admission I can hardly imagine a greater work on the topic and cannot recommend it strongly enough Really Good This small book is essential reading for anyone drawn towards or perplexed by patristicmedieval approaches to the cult of the saints Here Brown is focused on deconstructing Hume s two tier approach to Christian piety the view that the piety of the common folk naturally returns to a normative paganism as opposed to the piety of the intellectual elites which alone can maintain a robust monotheism Instead Brown argues that the cult of the saints was one of the primary challenges Latin Christianity posed against pagan notions of the relationship between God death and the natural world He shines a lot of light on fourth and fifth century critiues of saint veneration offered by figures such as Augustine and Jerome Moreover he does a fantastic job of introducing the reader to the way in which Latin Christians understood and experienced the cult of the saints in their everyday An enjoyable read and a rich resource Peter Brown begins by announcing a topic and ends by illuminating a period In this work he uses the cult of the saints to trace the shift from ancient pagan to late antiue Christian cosmology The ancient pagan link between the individual person nature and the divine was replaced "by a hierarchical mediatorial system populated by fellow humans Modeled after the late Roman system "a hierarchical mediatorial system populated by fellow humans Modeled after the late Roman system patronage the cult of the saints brought Western Christendom into a spiritual web of patronage relationships dominated by cultural elites and bishops This short book of only 130 pages in 6 chapters plus a very helpful preface in the revised edition is densely packed with information but is nevertheless very readable as each chapter is tightly wrapped around its theme Brown sueezes significance out of every detail Some assertions may be debatable but there is no shortage of debates worth having Highly recommended for scholars of this historical period or of the Christian religion in general 127 pages about Christianity in late antiuity ca AD 300 600 and the increasing devotion to specifically martyred saints and their physical remains Brown talks about shrines and pilgrimages and burials and exorcisms and relics and it is all fascinating 4 of 5 stars only because I ve read The Body Society Men Women Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity long long ago in an undergraduate history class and that book sets the particular bar for Professor Brown kind of high This is a lovely book full of affection for the rather difficult men Augustine of Hippo Gregory of Tours Paulinus He cult as an outbreak of superstition among the lower classes Brown demonstrates how this form of religiousity engaged the finest minds of the Church and elicited from members of the educated upper classes some of their most splendid achievements in poetry literature and the patronage of the artsBrown has an international reputation for his fine style a style he here turns on to illuminate the cult of the saints Christianity was born without such a cult; it took rise and that rise needs chronicling Brown has. Peter Brown s The Cult of the Saints It s Rise and function in Latin Christianity as laid out in the opening chapter is an all inclusive examination of the very special dead and their detached holy paraphernalia in relation to late antiue 200 500 AD religion society and modes of thinking Brown will argue fervently that the religious shifts which occurred throughout the classical period to late antiuity such as the cult of martyr s communal saintly patronage invisible guardians or pious literatureart come to the forefront through new social deviations and serve specialized functions as opposed to just simply lingering on as a mirror image to popular classical age traditions By adopting this view Brown is contesting the fashionable two tiered model expressed by modern scholarship and popular armchair opinion This view suggests that the cult of martyrs was a popular mass religion adopted by illiterate newly converted lower class vulgars Brown will suggest this view is too frail and often taken for granted to be still accepted in scholarly circles Many of his main arguments will circle around trying to disparage the two tiered model and the role of elite figures in bringing the saints to the public interest Brown s main argument is that the classical Mediterranean system of patronage allowed the saintly cult to replicate smoothly the social context of late antiuity while also fulfilling both the fluid needs of the community protection unification of all members and important clergy where to spend church money etc Browns commentary reveals that this shifting uality of social ties between saints and there surroundings did not drop its appeal at the masses but rather positively affected and was driven by elite citizens Paulinus Augustine etc Further Brown argues that the crucial but uiet victory of the church with accordance to the privatization of saintly shrines in early cult development from private to public was an essential step to things like communal patronage relic translation and the strength of bishops and the medieval church as a whole With this argument we again see this aspect of involvement given to nobleelite members of society in determining the advancement of the cult of saints Bishops must fight for their right to control certain practices and in this we see no attempt to disband superstition of the vulgar but rather a concern for losing power to private families The strength of Brown s arguments stem from his broad and sharp systematic disproving against schools of thought related to the two tiered model Usually Brown has a social approach to retaliating against idea s set out by two tiered scholars For example when trying to reinterpret seemingly obvious parallels between the classical cult of heroes to the cult of saints Brown will look to contemporary pagan beliefs and even classical tragedies to help prove how men would have reacted to and differentiated between certain boundaries heroes to divine This social approach is evident even with just a cursory glance at Browns list of sources which often avoids secondary sources except in cases that deal with two tiered scholarship Brown s arguments though very good at asking important uestions and finding holes in established scholarship tends at times to steer too hard into the direction of avoiding popular opinion thus impeding a completely bias free interpretation By constantly focusing on disproving the notion of popular religion Brown sets himself up as following an agenda not always dedicated to the suare and concise portrayal of the saintly cult The sometimes ambiguous nature of argumentative and open to discussion style writing is why the broader appeal of this text loses some momentum For these reasons the text would be better suited to students or scholars who wish to familiarize themselves with "multiple angles and controversial points regarding discussion of saints in modern scholarship opposed to laymen who just wish "angles and controversial regarding discussion of saints in modern scholarship as opposed to laymen who just wish read a straight forward and unuestionable survey Although pilgrimage is not mentioned extensively in Brown s work we are given all the information we need to understand how various political assertions or new ideas helped the progress of going on a pilgrimage flourish Several of Brown s main arguments help us this understand this phenomenon of travelling in a broader light Using his patronage model Brown argues that it is precisely this early social patronus relationship that encouraged the translation of relics from one area to another This would have a momentous importance in helping to develop the relevance of local relics and the creation of rich pilgrimage networks all over the continent Brown even goes as far as to say that the Spiritual landscape of the Christian Mediterranean would have been drastically different if not for these travelling relics that were spurred on through the ideals imbedded in patronage gift giving This directly impacts medieval pilgrimage as we come to think of it ie the view of an abundant scattering of popular saintly shrines throughout Europe would have been vastly overshadowed by exclusive favoured areas Rome Jerusalem or the majority of shrines wouldn t enjoy much attention from anyone outside of their immediate areaThe Cult of the Saints It s Rise and function in Latin Christianity is undoubtedly important as it serves as a supportive shortcut through an area dense with discussion and one that may have not received the proper uality of attention it deserved Through this book our understanding of elements in Latin Christianity such as the logic behind being the patron to a dead man and others ideas are developed The text is exceptional in summarizing information on past scholarship and allowing us to draw our own conclusions on issues that may be changing positions as time goes on Reading Peter Brown always takes time because of how much he pack into even a few short lines but if Building Performance Analysis you find the content intriguingour gonna have a good time with this study The common view of religion in ancient times was that educated people held well thought out beliefs while on the popular level superstitions and wacky ideas persisted This has led many scholars to argue that the rise of the cult of the saints was a popular movement resisted by the leaders in the Catholic church Brown argues against this showing that such a two tiered view of religion is a result of stereotyping and poor history then reality In this book he sheds light on how the saints ac. Following the fall of the Roman Empire in the West the cult of the saints was the dominant form of religion in Christian Europe In this elegantly written work Peter Brown explores the role of tombs shrines relics and pilgrimages connected with the sacred bodies of the saints He shows how men and women living in harsh and sometimes barbaric times relied upon the merciful intercession of the holy dead to obtain justice forgiveness and to find new ways to accept their fellows Challenging the common treatment of

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The Cult of the Saints Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity

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