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Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900
Faith in the Great Physician tells the story of how participants in the evangelical divine healing movement of the late nineteenth century transformed the ways Americans coped with physical affliction and pursued bodily health. Examining the politics of sickness, health, and healing during this period, Heather D. Curtis encourages critical reflection on the theological, cultural, and social forces that come into play when one questions the purpose of suffering and the possibility of healing. Curtis finds that advocates of divine healing worked to revise a deep-seated Christian ethic that linked physical suffering with spiritual holiness. By engaging in devotional disciplines and participating in social reform efforts, proponents of faith cure embraced a model of spiritual experience that endorsed active service, rather than passive endurance, as the proper Christian response to illness and pain. Emphasizing the centrality of religious practices to the enterprise of divine healing, Curtis sheds light on the relationship among Christian faith, medical science, and the changing meanings of suffering and healing in American culture.
Pollution, Sexuality, and Demonology in the Middle Ages
Medieval clerics believed that original sin had rendered their "fallen bodies" vulnerable to corrupting impulses—particularly those of a sexual nature. They feared that their corporeal frailty left them susceptible to demonic forces bent on penetrating and polluting their bodies and souls.
Drawing on a variety of canonical and other sources, Fallen Bodies examines a wide-ranging set of issues generated by fears of pollution, sexuality, and demonology. To maintain their purity, celibate clerics combated the stain of nocturnal emissions; married clerics expelled their wives onto the streets and out of the historical record; an exemplum depicting a married couple having sex in church was told and retold; and the specter of the demonic lover further stigmatized women's sexuality. Over time, the clergy's conceptions of womanhood became radically polarized: the Virgin Mary was accorded ever greater honor, while real, corporeal women were progressively denigrated. When church doctrine definitively denied the physicality of demons, the female body remained as the prime material presence of sin.
Dyan Elliott contends that the Western clergy's efforts to contain sexual instincts—and often the very thought and image of woman—precipitated uncanny returns of the repressed. She shows how this dynamic ultimately resulted in the progressive conflation of the female and the demonic, setting the stage for the future persecution of witches.
Lollard Writings after Wyclif
“Lollard” is the name given to followers of John Wyclif, the English dissident theologian who was dismissed from Oxford University in 1381 for his arguments regarding the eucharist. A forceful and influential critic of the ecclesiastical status quo in the late fourteeth century, Wyclif’s thought was condemned at the Council of Constance in 1415. While lollardy has attracted much attention in recent years, much of what we think we know about this English religious movement is based on records of heresy trials and anti-lollard chroniclers. In Feeling Like Saints, Fiona Somerset demonstrates that this approach has limitations. A better basis is the five hundred or so manuscript books from the period (1375–1530) containing materials translated, composed, or adapted by lollard writers themselves.
These writings provide rich evidence for how lollard writers collaborated with one another and with their readers to produce a distinctive religious identity based around structures of feeling. Lollards wanted to feel like saints. From Wyclif they drew an extraordinarily rigorous ethic of mutual responsibility that disregarded both social status and personal risk. They recalled their commitment to this ethic by reading narratives of physical suffering and vindication, metaphorically martyring themselves by inviting scorn for their zeal, and enclosing themselves in the virtues rather than the religious cloister. Yet in many ways they were not that different from their contemporaries, especially those with similar impulses to exceptional holiness.
A Visual History of Modern Christianity
Religions teach their adherents how to see and feel at the same time; learning to see is not a disembodied process but one hammered from the forge of human need, social relations, and material practice. David Morgan argues that the history of religions may therefore be studied through the lens of their salient visual themes. The Forge of Vision tells the history of Christianity from the sixteenth century through the present by selecting the visual themes of faith that have profoundly influenced its development. After exploring how distinctive Catholic and Protestant visual cultures emerged in the early modern period, Morgan examines a variety of Christian visual practices, ranging from the imagination, visions of nationhood, the likeness of Jesus, the material life of words, and the role of modern art as a spiritual quest, to the importance of images for education, devotion, worship, and domestic life. An insightful, informed presentation of how Christianity has shaped and continues to shape the modern world, this work is a must-read for scholars and students across fields of religious studies, history, and art history.
Eight Centuries Later
In this thought-provoking book Thaddée Matura offers a new way of lookingIn this thought-provoking book Thaddée Matura offers a new way of looking at how the Franciscan tradition was adapted and contemporized during the centuries. In a clear and accessible style he shows how the Franciscan Family has gotten to the stage it now enjoys and shows how liberating history can be and is. In 2004 Franciscan Institute Publications reprinted Matura’s Francis of Assisi: The Message in His Writings.
An Introduction and Reader
The French School of Spirituality of the seventeenth century made vital contributions to a significant movement of spiritual renewal at a critical time in Catholic church history. Since Vatican II, interest in this tradition of spirituality has been rekindled. This tradition has even been called “the foundation of modern Catholic spirituality.” Raymond Deville’s work is a contemporary introduction to this school of spirituality. Deville’s work locates the French School of Spirituality within the context of seventeenth century France and its art, literature, and political science. He identifies the founder of this school, Cardinal de Bérulle, and his associates, Condren, Olier, John Eudes, John-Baptist de la Salle and Grignion de Montfort. Deville also identifies the key moments leading up to the “foundation” of the French School and describes its four major themes: a theocentric spirit of religion; mystical Christocentrism; the sovereignty of the Mother of God; and the meaning of the priesthood. The work also contains a collection of texts from other authors, which forms a framework for Deville’s reflections and comments. In addition, Deville gives a bibliography for further study including sections from the spiritual leaders of the French School themselves.
Camisards and Huguenots in the Atlantic World
The Camisard religion was marked by more ecstatic expression than that of the Huguenots, not unlike differences between Pentecostals and Protestants. Both groups were persecuted and emigrated in large numbers, becoming participants in the broad circulation of ideas that characterized the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Randall vividly portrays this French Protestant diaspora through the lives of three figures: Gabriel Bernon, who led a Huguenot exodus to Massachusetts and moved among the commercial elite; Ezéchiel Carré, a Camisard who influenced Cotton Mather’s theology; and Elie Neau, a Camisard-influenced writer and escaped galley slave who established North America’s first school for blacks.
Like other French Protestants, these men were adaptable in their religious views, a quality Randall points out as quintessentially American. In anthropological terms they acted as code shifters who manipulated multiple cultures. While this malleability ensured that French Protestant culture would not survive in externally recognizable terms in the Americas, Randall shows that the culture’s impact was nonetheless considerable.
Beyond the Feminization Thesis
Since the 1970s the feminization thesis has become a powerful trope in the rewriting of the social history of Christendom. However, this ‘thesis' has triggered some vehement debates, given that men have continued to dominate the churches, and the churches themselves have reacted to the association of religion and femininity, often formulated by their critics, by explicitly focusing their appeal to men. In this book the authors critically reflect upon the use of concepts like feminization and masculinization in relation to Christianity. By presenting case studies that adopt different gendered approaches with regard to Christian, mainly Catholic discourses and practices, the authors capture multiple ‘feminizations' and ‘masculinizations' in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. In particular, it becomes clear that the idea that Christianity took on ‘charicteristically feminine' values and practices cannot withstand the conclusion that what is considered ‘manly' or ‘feminine' depends on time, place, and context, and on the reasons why gendered metaphors are used.
Refinement, Diversity, and Race in the Antebellum and Civil War Border North
In the borderland between freedom and slavery, Gettysburg remains among the most legendary Civil War landmarks. A century and a half after the great battle, Cemetery Hill, the Seminary and its ridge, and the Peach Orchard remain powerful memories for their embodiment of the small-town North and their ability to touch themes vital to nineteenth-century religion. During this period, three patterns became particularly prominent: refinement, diversity, and war. In Gettysburg Religion, author Steve Longenecker explores the religious history of antebellum and Civil War Sera Gettysburg, shedding light on the remarkable diversity of American religion and the intricate ways it interacted with the broader culture. Longenecker argues that Gettysburg religion revealed much about larger American society and about how trends in the Border North mirrored national developments. In many ways, Gettysburg and its surrounding Border North religion belonged to the future and signaled a coming pattern for modern America.
The History and Theology of the Lesser Doxology
The Gloria Patri has been prayed from the beginnings of Christianity. In this one-sentence prayer, time and eternity are combined in a compressed expression of doxology, praise of God. In this brief but comprehensive book, Father Ayo examines the riches in this prayer: the philological, historical, and theological origins of Christian prayer itself, and the profound spiritual implications of the Gloria Patri. At the heart of Christian prayer and at the heart of Christian liturgy we always find worship, honor, and praise of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. In Gloria Patri, Father Ayo examines the lesser doxology word by word, in both its various translations and the history of their combination and controversies. He adds to that an exploration of the boundless meanings of praise of the Triune God it encompasses. After reading Gloria Patri, no one can again take for granted this humble sentence.