IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 344: Religious Memory in Early Medieval Europe

Monday 2 July 2018, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Julia M. H. Smith, Faculty of History, University of Oxford
Paper 344-aPictures as Material Memory in the Carolingian Controversies about the Worship of Images
(Language: English)
Kristina Mitalaite, Laboratoire D’études sur les Monothéismes (LEM), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris
Index terms: Art History - General, Philosophy, Religious Life, Theology
Paper 344-bSalvation by Memory: Early Christian Pilgrims and Their Visits of Holy Places
(Language: English)
Elisabeth Caroline Engler-Starck, Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Religious Life, Theology
Paper 344-cMemory of Old Beliefs in the Newly Christianised World of the Early Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Beate Korntner, Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Index terms: Daily Life, Hagiography, Pagan Religions, Religious Life

Paper -a:
Paulinus of Nola was one of the first to define material images in the Latin Christian world as memoria res gestarum. This paper proposes to treat this essential function of images in the doctrinal framework as debated in the Carolingian controversies about their veneration in 8th-9th centuries. Frankish theologians (Théodulfe of Orléans, Jonas of Orléans, Agobard of Lyon, etc.) perceive material images as a simple reminder of the past but they deny their sacred memorial value, opposing it to Biblical memory or the Eucharist as the most perfect social memory for the Christian society.

Paper -b:
In pilgrim literature of the 4th to 6th centuries, the pilgrim’s visits to holy places appear to simply commemorate biblical figures and martyrs. This paper will argue instead that the pilgrim is not a mere spectator at those places, but is acted upon by acting out her own part in the biblical past. In this confluence of memory and identity, the pilgrim includes herself in the biblical history of salvation. The textual basis for my arguments is found in pilgrim itineraries like the Itinerarium Burdigalense, the Itinerarium Egeriae, Jerome’s account of Paula’s pilgrimage, or the Piacenza Pilgrim.

Paper -c:
This paper focuses on the memory of old beliefs which influenced the practice of worship within the newly Christianised population. The question is raised how old rites found their way into Christian prayers, feasts and furthermore how even certain old gods were able to survive through personifications as saints.The emphasis lies on the ordinary people and how they experienced the cultural transfer from Germanic and Celtic beliefs to Christianity as well as how they influenced Christian rites by preserving their old habits and memories. For future research the importance of continuity, as proven in the underlying analysis, should receive more focus.