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Fri 24 Oct 2014 @ 16:38

RT @HodderFaithIn the run up to an office move, we're going to be giving away a lot of Christian books to churches etc. Head to: https://t.co/31JcAqr4hK

Christian Materiality

An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe

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Hardback
£22.95
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Publisher: Zone Books
ISBN-13: 9781935408109
Published: 06/05/2011
Product description
In the period between 1150 and 1550, an increasing number of Christians in western Europe made pilgrimage to places where material objects--among them paintings, statues, relics, pieces of wood, earth, stones, and Eucharistic wafers--allegedly erupted into life by such activities as bleeding, weeping, and walking about. Challenging Christians both to seek ever more frequent encounter with miraculous matter and to turn to an inward piety that rejected material objects of devotion, such phenomena were by the fifteenth century at the heart of religious practice and polemic. In Christian Materiality, Caroline Walker Bynum describes the miracles themselves, discusses the problems they presented for both church authorities and the ordinary faithful, and probes the basic scientific and religious assumptions about matter that lay behind them. She also analyzes the proliferation of religious art in the later Middle Ages and argues that it called attention to its materiality in sophisticated ways that explain both the animation of images and the hostility to them on the part of iconoclasts. Seeing the Christian culture of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as a paradoxical affirmation of the glory and the threat of the natural world, Bynum's study suggests a new understanding of the background to the sixteenth-century reformations, both Protestant and Catholic. Moving beyond cultural study of "the body"--a field she helped to establish--Bynum argues that Western attitudes toward body and person must be placed in the context of changing conceptions of matter itself. Her study has broad theoretical implications, suggesting a new approach to the study of material culture and religious practice.
Product Reviews

"This is one of those rare books that can make one look at the world in a new way... An extraordinary, moving and thought-provoking evocation of late medieval devotion in all its contradictions, paradoxes and multiplicities." -Helen Castor, Times Higher Education "Over the past 30 years, Bynum has published an initially contentious series of books that have illuminated many aspects of the oddness of the medieval world... This time she focuses on Christians' intense devotion to objects that they believed both signaled and embodied God's essence and glory."- Chronicle of Higher Education

Author Information

Caroline Walker Bynum

Caroline Walker Bynum is University Professor at Columbia University. She is the author of Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336, and Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Body in Medieval Religion (Zone Books, 1991).

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