1st Edition

Understanding Medieval Liturgy Essays in Interpretation

Edited By Helen Gittos, Sarah Hamilton Copyright 2016
    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book provides an introduction to current work and new directions in the study of medieval liturgy. It focuses primarily on so-called occasional rituals such as burial, church consecration, exorcism and excommunication rather than on the Mass and Office. Recent research on such rites challenges many established ideas, especially about the extent to which they differed from place to place and over time, and how the surviving evidence should be interpreted. These essays are designed to offer guidance about current thinking, especially for those who are new to the subject, want to know more about it, or wish to conduct research on liturgical topics. Bringing together scholars working in different disciplines (history, literature, architectural history, musicology and theology), time periods (from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries) and intellectual traditions, this collection demonstrates the great potential that liturgical evidence offers for understanding many aspects of the Middle Ages. It includes essays that discuss the practicalities of researching liturgical rituals; show through case studies the problems caused by over-reliance on modern editions; explore the range of sources for particular ceremonies and the sort of questions which can be asked of them; and go beyond the rites themselves to investigate how liturgy was practised and understood in the medieval period.

    Contents: Introduction, Helen Gittos and Sarah Hamilton. Researching Rites: Researching the history of rites, Helen Gittos; Researching rites for the dying and the dead, Frederick S. Paxton; Approaches to early medieval music and rites, William T. Flynn. Questioning Authority and Tradition: Questioning the authority of Vogel and Elze’s Pontificale Romano-Germanique, Henry Parkes; Rethinking the uses of Sarum and York: a historiographical essay, Matthew Cheung Salisbury. Diversity: Interpreting diversity: excommunication rites in the 10th and 11th centuries, Sarah Hamilton; Medieval exorcism: liturgical and hagiographical sources, Florence Chave-Mahir; Rites for dedicating churches, Mette Birkedal Bruun and Louis I. Hamilton. Texts and Performance: Architecture as evidence for liturgical performance, Carolyn Marino Malone; Liturgical texts and performance practices, Carol Symes. Bibliography; Index.


    Helen Gittos is Senior Lecturer in the School of History at the University of Kent, UK. Sarah Hamilton is Professor of Medieval History in the Department of History at the University of Exeter, UK.

    'This book provides an important status quaestionis of the recently conducted research. At the same time, it also offers a significant contribution to the renewal of the history of liturgy - specifically pertaining to occasional rituals in the Central Middle Ages - and an incentive to continue on this path of innovation' - Paul Trio, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

    ‘… this book encourages us to rethink our methodological and conceptual norms when engaging with medieval liturgical texts, and to engage with a broader range of evidence. I recommend it wholeheartedly’ – English Historical Review

    ‘... this book assembles a team to give the field a very necessary reintroduction for novice and expert alike... exactly the place to point the wary student or colleague confronted with the terror of an unfamiliar liturgical source’ – Early Medieval Europe 2020 (28.1)

    ‘This thoughtful and at times provocative treatment of the medieval liturgy provides a genuine contribution to its historiography.’ – Journal of Ecclesiastical History