Session 1303: The Publicity of Emotion
Wednesday 12 July 2006, 16.30-18.00
|Esther Cohen, Department of History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
|In signum maledictionis: The Ritual Performance of Excommunication as an Emotional Gesture
Index terms: Canon Law, Liturgy, Literacy and Orality, Religious Life
|'With Joy and Happiness': The Legal Implications of the Joyous Celebration of Muslim Festivals
Index terms: Law, Lay Piety, Religious Life, Sermons and Preaching
Abstract Paper -a: In conflict situations, medieval oratores often applied their symbolic capital in excommunicating adversary bellatores. The corresponding ritual firstly included the utterance of legal speech acts and biblical curses, thus organizing social exclusion. Ultimately, this oral performance culminated in the gesture of throwing and extinguishing candles symbolizing loss of salvation. The same gesture of transcendent violence was used until 1770 during the papal Maundy Thursday ceremonies. This paper will discuss the medial design and emotional impact of this ritual which transferred anger to the invoked 'energy field' of God/patron saints and effected anxiety in the person concerned.
Abstract Paper -b: Medieval Andalusian and Maghrebi Muslim preachers, Sufis and jurists debated the meaning of joy and happiness and their manifestation in religious festivals. The debate was not about joy and happiness as internal states, but as public performances that communicate information about the participants. This paper explores the social construction of emotion by analyzing (1) affective, emotional rhetoric of sermons; and (2) legal-theological discourses about festive gestures of joy preserved in sermons, responsa and theological texts. I hope to demonstrate that emotional displays were socially contested because they fuelled disputes over social status, sectarian allegiance, or Sufi progress.