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Blessing the World

Ritual and Lay Piety in Medieval Religion

Derek A. Rivard

Publication Year: 2011

In Blessing the World, Derek A. Rivard studies liturgical blessing and its role in the religious life of Christians during the central and later Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the blessings of the Franco-Roman liturgical tradition from the tenth to late thirteenth centuries.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book would not have been possible without the invaluable assistance of many of my teachers, colleagues, friends, and family. Special thanks go first and foremost to my graduate mentor, Richard F. Gyug, who went above and beyond the call of duty time and time again, particularly in the effort and time he invested in helping me perfect my translations, ...


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. 1-24

The idea of a reality that lies beyond our understanding, a sacred being or power existing adjacent to yet distinct from the mundane world as we perceive it, is a common element of the religious belief of human cultures throughout recorded history. As a general student of religion, I have long been interested in this idea of the sacred, ...

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1. The History and Theology of Christian Blessing

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pp. 25-44

The origins of Christian blessing are to be found in the scriptural traditions of the ancient Israelites. The theology of the Old Testament does not primarily emphasize blessing and God’s role in it, focusing its attention rather on God as one who saves, a God of deliverance.1 ...

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2. Sacred Places and Sacred Space

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pp. 45-132

The human experience of our environment has always been subjected to the drive to order the cosmos in such a way as to make it comprehensible. This process has been particularly evident in the development of human religious systems and cultures, which often seek to establish as unquestionable the existence of a reality hidden behind the sensual one. ...

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3. Sacred Persons: Blessing the Laity

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pp. 133-216

The civilization of the Latin West during the Middle Ages understood sacred qualities and power to pass to individuals primarily through ritualized formulas of ordination and consecration. These rituals were performed by individuals placed high within the hierarchy of the church, who imparted the grace and sacrality ...

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4. Sacred Vessels, Objects, and Events

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pp. 217-268

In the study of the blessings of places and persons, we have already noted how frequently medieval Christianity blessed objects and particular times, imbuing them with a power beyond their mere physical presence. But in all of these blessings, the objects or times being blessed were of secondary importance, ...

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pp. 269-294

The tradition of Christian blessing was a rich, complex, and pervasive component of the culture and religion of the medieval West. From its origin in ancient Israel, blessing spread to all parts of Latin Christendom through the agency of the Roman liturgy of late antiquity, developing both within and apart from the Mass. ...


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pp. 295-316


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pp. 317-332

E-ISBN-13: 9780813218281
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215457

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 647932867
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Blessing the World

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Benediction.
  • Liturgics -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
  • Piety -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
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