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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1130: Ritual and Conversion in the Early Medieval West

Wednesday 8 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Haskins Society
Organiser:Carolyn Twomey, Department of History, Boston College, Massachusetts
Moderator/Chair:Katy Cubitt, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Paper 1130-aChristianizare: Christianizations Ancient and Modern
(Language: English)
Nathan Ristuccia, Department of History, University of Chicago, Illinois
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Latin, Religious Life
Paper 1130-cThe Baptismal Rite in Conversion-Period Germany
(Language: English)
John-Henry Clay, Institute of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Durham University
Index terms: Anthropology, Ecclesiastical History, Pagan Religions

Rituals marked the process of conversion to Christianity in the early medieval West. Seemingly unambiguous rites of catechesis, baptism, prayer, and statements of faith involved complex layers of symbolism and significance, not all of which were obvious to all involved. This panel will re-center the conversation of conversion around the importance of ritual and ritualization in understanding religious renewal and change. The first paper interrogates the language of conversion and contrasts medieval vocabulary with a deficient modern paradigm inherited from the Reformation. The second examines the editing of Creeds as part of Christian education, particularly in one Constantinopolitan Creed reformed for an anti-Adoptionist agenda. The third paper uses an anthropologically-informed understanding of baptism to explore the ritual as a tool of conversion in 8th-century Germany.