IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 126: Texts and Identities, I: Transformation and Consolidation - Episcopal Identity in Late Antiquity

Monday 6 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien / Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies, Universiteit Utrecht / Faculty of History, University of Cambridge / Sonderforschungsbereich 42 'Visions of Community', Wien
Organisers:Rutger Kramer, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Ingrid Rembold, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
Moderator/Chair:Stefan Esders, Geschichte der Spätantike und des frühen Mittelalters, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
Paper 126-aExhortations for Orthodoxy: Bishops and the Construction of Religious and Roman Identity in Southern Gaul
(Language: English)
Merle Eisenberg, Department of History, Princeton University
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Liturgy, Sermons and Preaching, Theology
Paper 126-bDust to Dust?: The Theme of Bodily Resurrection and Its Significance for Saints' Cults and the Veneration of Relics in Gregory of Tours
(Language: English)
Pia Bockius, Geschichte der Spätantike und des frühen Mittelalters, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Ecclesiastical History, Historiography - Medieval, Religious Life
Abstract

This session will take a closer look at some of the many strategies employed by bishops to establish themselves in Late Antiquity. During this dynamic period, political and religious affiliations were continuously renegotiated and new Spielräume created for elites to re-affirm their role in the intellectual elite of the post-Roman West. Each of the papers will, in turn, explore how different bishops took on various roles in these negotiations, in order to consolidate not only their own newly formulated authority, but also that of the religion they represented. To that end, Merle Eisenberg will first look at the ways bishops in fifth-century Gaul employed shifting representations of ‘Romanness’ and ‘Christianity’ in their sermons and homilies to argue for the establishment of orthodoxy in the face of Arianism, which was seen as a threat to their Nicene version of Christianity. Pia Bockius will then zoom in on the way the 6th-century senatorial bishop Gregory of Tours made use of the Bible to bolster his episcopal authority: namely, through the appropriation of relic cults. Specifically, the significance he gives to bodily resurrection and its relation to his ideas about saints and their relics will be addressed – ranging from the conservation of saintly bodies to the partition of their relics.