Skip to main content

IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 557: What Makes a Pilgrim a Pilgrim?: Conceptualising the Boundaries of Pilgrimage, c. 700-1600 - A Round Table Discussion

Tuesday 7 July 2020, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Philip Booth, Department of History, Politics & Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University
Moderator/Chair:Marci Freedman, School of Arts, Languages & Cultures, University of Manchester

The term 'pilgrim' is routinely applied to a wide range of medieval people undertaking a wide range of (normally) spiritual activities. A penitential pilgrim to the Holy Land, an armed crusader, a traveller seeking a cure at a local shrine, or a symbolic life-pilgrim which all Christians were metaphorically understood to be. And yet, there is a huge gulf between what motivates these individuals, what they are doing, and what they are trying to achieve. Our understanding of what makes a 'pilgrim' a 'pilgrim' is further complicated when we apply the same term to describe Muslims undertaking the hajj or practising ziyara, medieval Jewish travellers, and other Christian travellers not within the Latin Christian tradition. This round table will therefore discuss the extent to which the term ‘pilgrim’ and pilgrimage as concepts in Middle Ages changed over time, in space, and between religions. Doing so will help us to better understand what these concepts encompass in light of the ever-increasing desire to revive the act of pilgrimage in the contemporary world.

Participants include Anne E. Bailey (University of Oxford), Philip Booth (Manchester Metropolitan University), Harry Munt (University of York), and Nicky Tsougarakis (Edge Hill University).