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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 720: Networks of Religious Debates in the Medieval Christian World

Tuesday 4 July 2023, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chairs:Toshio Ohnuki, Faculty of Letters, Okayama University / Forschungsstelle für Vergleichende Ordensgeschichte (FOVOG), Technische Universität Dresden
Jan Vandeburie, School of Historical Studies, University of Leicester
Paper 720-a(De)Constructing 'Semipelagianism': Processes of Othering and Networking in the Early Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Dorothee Schenk, Lehrstuhl für Kirchengeschichte, Theologische Fakultät, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Theology
Paper 720-bNetwork Failure: How St Boniface Inadvertently Fell into Sin
(Language: English)
Mark David Laynesmith, Chaplaincy, University of Reading
Index terms: Canon Law, Ecclesiastical History, Liturgy, Manuscripts and Palaeography
Paper 720-cThomas of Cantimpré's Saints: Networks of Knowledge for Positive Coping with Religious Struggles
(Language: English)
Scott Harrower, Department of History, Ethics & Theology, Ridley College, Victoria
Index terms: Hagiography, Lay Piety, Mentalities, Religious Life

Paper -a:
It is a matter of common knowledge that the label 'Semipelagianism' was much later and in a simplifying and pejorative way given to some theologians from the 5th and 6th century. Analysing sources from John Cassian's Collationes Patrum (425-429) through to the Synod of Orange (529), my paper will investigate which processes of othering and networking took place while discussing human will and divine grace in monastic and ecclesiastical circles. Hereby, I will attempt to disentangle the formation of certain positions and to show that we have to think about their formation as much more fluid processes than acknowledged in wide parts of research history.

Paper -b:
In 735, Boniface sent three letters to trusted colleagues in search of an answer to a question that was deeply troubling him: was it a sin for godparents to marry the (widowed) biological parents of their godchildren? Boniface was shocked to discover that some Frankish clerical contemporaries believed it was. This paper explores how spiritual kinship taboos evolved in the West, particularly focusing upon the dissemination of the canons of the 721 Council of Rome and suggesting ways in which attention to surviving manuscripts of Gallic canon collections might help us understand Boniface's confusion.

Paper -c:
This paper explores networks of beliefs within Thomas of Cantimpré's hagiographical collection, focusing on how they provide resources for reckoning with spiritual struggles described in his Christina Mirabilis. Thomas' stories of sanctity, including John of Cantimpré, Margaret of Ypres, and Lutgard of Aywières are explored by drawing on paradigms provided in Pargament and Exline's Working with Spiritual Struggles (2021). Entanglements between narrative symbols and religious ideas across these works illuminates the significance of beliefs such as christological attachments to the divine for positive coping with religious distress.