Session 107: Debating Relics: Reflections on Relics in the Middle Ages and Problems of Methodology, I - Relics and Doubt
Monday 4 July 2016, 11.15-12.45
|NWO-VIDI Project 'Mind Over Matter: Debates about Relics as Sacred Objects, c. 350 - c. 1150'
|Janneke Raaijmakers, Afdeling Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis, Universiteit Utrecht
|Robert Wiśniewski, Instytut Historyczny, Uniwersytet Warszawski
|Introduction: Debating Relics - Reflections on Relics in the Middle Ages and Problems of Methodology
Index terms: Hagiography, Mentalities, Religious Life
|Debates about Relics in the Early Middle Ages
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography, Mentalities, Religious Life
|Numquid duo habuit corpora?: The 12th-Century Legend of St Martin's Translation to Salzburg and Its Reception
Index terms: Hagiography
This strand of sessions deals with debates about relics and the ways modern scholars can get access to these debates. On the basis of the enormous corpus of hagiographical texts and the magnificent buildings, inscriptions, liturgical celebrations and art created in the saints's honour, the medieval cult of the saints seems omnipresent, self-evident and un-contested; a phenomenon that came naturally to (illiterate) medieval Christians. But was this really the case? Our hypothesis is that relics as sacred matter were under discussion and that people worried long before the Reformation about how the divine interacts with the material world. We would like to take the opportunity of this strand of sessions to explore this hypothesis, while also taking into account the methodological problems that students of relic cults encounter during their research. How were relics perceived in the medieval period? How did they 'work' according to medieval believers? What language, metaphors, images, and objects were used to represent relics and disclose or question their meaning? How did reflections on relics relate to reflections on other sacred objects, such as icons and the Eucharist? How did attitudes towards relics change over time?