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Reviews 173 Ousterhout, R., ed., The blessings ofpilgrimage, (Illinois Byzantine Studies, No. 1), Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1990; pp. xii, 149; 54 ill.; R. R. P. US$24.95. The nature of the 'blessings' referred to in thetitleof this collection of conference papers changes as one reads the book. They are not so much the intangible spiritual benefits that pilgrims might hope to acquire from their travels as the smaU souvenirs and tokens that were to prolong the spiritual experience on the traveUers' return home. The book falls into two sections, of which the second deals with these objects while the first is concerned with the development and theory of pdgrimage. The temporal focus of the book is on the early Byzantine period, with most emphasis on the fourth century; although Maggie Duncan-Flowers in 'A pilgrim's ampulla from the shrine of St. John the Evangelist at Ephesus' and Ch. Bakirtzis in 'Byzantine ampuUae from ThessaloniM' extend their discussions to middle Byzantium. Not surprisingly, given the book's concentration on the early period, the physical focus is on the Loca Sancta and the Holy Land, though the two papers already mentioned deal with the role of Ephesos and Thessaloniki, lesser centres of pilgrimage within the later Byzantine world. Also, perhaps inevitably, the iconographic and symbohc values that are adduced come largely from within the practices and thought patterns of eastern, rather than western, Christianity. Of the 'theoretical' papers, Sabine MacCormack in 'Loca Sancta: the organization of sacred topography of late antiquity' develops Peter Brown's arguments on the role of places sanctified by the presence of holy men both in their Ufetimes and after death. John Wilkinson in 'Jewish holy places and the origins of Christian pilgrimage' sets theriseof Christian pilgrim routes within the Holy Land in the context of Jewish practice while Hagith S. Sivan in 'Pdgrimage, monasticism and the emergence of Christian Palestine in the fourth century' argues that, from their role in connection with Mount Sinai and Mount Nebo for example, monastic communities moulded the identification of Biblical sites, using both Jewish and Christian sources, and thereby encouraged pilgrim visits. Kenneth G. Holum in 'Hadrian and St Helena: imperial travel and the origins of Christian Holy Land pilgrimage' argues that the concept of pilgrimage was barely formulated until Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, made an imperial progress (female version) to the Holy Land and inaugurated lavish building programmes in Jerusalem. It is in this paper that the disadvantages of collecting conference papers, not all of them even given on the same occasion, become apparent. Holum disagrees with the assumption implicit in MacCormack's and Wilkinson's essays that pilgrimage was a phenomenon whose origins go back to before the earliest phases of Christian practice. However, there are no cross-references nor any attempt at a dialogue. Readers are 174 Reviews lefttocreate their own debate. Given that Ousterhout has provided introductions to each paper, perhaps a litde more editorial intervention could have been used to expand this argument and forward the analysis of the role of pilgrimage in late antique society. Of the remaining papers in the second section, Cynthia Hann in 'Loca Sancta souvenirs: sealing the pilgrim's experience' emphasises the spiritual symbolism of the decoration on ampuUae and tokens. Gary Vikan in 'Pilgrims in Magi's clothing: the impact of mimesis on early Christian pilgrimage art' demonstrates how appropriate it is that those archetypal travellers, the Magi, are the figures most frequendy represented on pdgrim tokens. Robert Ousterhout in 'Loca Sancta and the architectural response to pdgrimage' discusses the motives and varying symbolism behind the construction elsewhere in Europe of architectural copies of the Anastasis Rotunda of Jerusalem that culminated in the numerous 'round churches' of the Templars and HospitaUars. There are useful points raised in aU these papers, though some, for example, Wilkinson's, Holum's and Vikan's read like footnotes to their authors' more substantial pubhcations elsewhere on similartopics.Others, especially Sivan's, cry out for more extensive treatment All reveal the constraints of their original twenty-minute format usual in the annual meetings of the American Byzantine Studies Conference. Despite one or two places where the computer has devoured...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 173-174
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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