This book explores cathedrals, past and present, as spaces for religious but also wider cultural practices. Contributors from history, anthropology, sociology, and religious studies trace major continuities and shifts in the location of cathedrals within religious, civic, urban, and economic landscapes of pre- and post-Reformation Christianity.
While much of the focus is on England, other European and global contexts are referenced as authors explore ways in which cathedrals have been, and remain, distinctive spaces of adjacent ritual, political and social activity, capable of taking on lives of their own as sites of worship, pilgrimage, and governance. A major theme of the book is that of replication, pointing to the ways in which cathedrals echo each other materially and ritually in processes of mutual borrowing and competition, while a cathedral can also provide a reference point for smaller constituencies of religious practice such as a diocese or parish. As this volume demonstrates, the contemporary resurgence of interest in pilgrimage, the impact of ‘Caminoisation’, and the (re)presentation of cathedrals as cultural heritage further add to the attractions, popularity, and complexities of cathedrals in the 21st century.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal, Religion.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction - Religion in cathedrals: pilgrimage, heritage, adjacency, and the politics of replication in Northern Europe
Simon Coleman and Marion Bowman
2. Replication or rivalry? The ‘Becketization’ of pilgrimage in English Cathedrals
3. More English than the English, more Roman than Rome? Historical signifiers and cultural memory at Westminster Cathedral
John Jenkins and Alana Harris
4. Caminoisation and Cathedrals: replication, the heritagisation of religion, and the spiritualisation of heritage
Marion Bowman and Tiina Sepp
5. Nidaros Cathedral: a recreated pilgrim church
6. On praying in an old country: ritual, replication, heritage, and powers of adjacency in English cathedrals
Simon Coleman is an anthropologist and Chancellor Jackman Professor at the Department of Religion, University of Toronto, Canada. He has carried out research on Pentecostalism, pilgrimage, cathedrals, and religious infrastructures, and has worked in the UK, Sweden, and Nigeria. His most recent book is Powers of Pilgrimage: Religion in a World of Motion (2021).
Marion Bowman is based in Religious Studies at The Open University, UK. She has conducted research on vernacular and material religion, Glastonbury, Celtic spirituality, pilgrimage and Caminoisation in northern Europe, and has worked in Norway, Estonia, Hungary and Newfoundland. She has recently co-edited a special issue of NUMEN, Reframing Pilgrimage in Northern Europe (2020).