Reading and Understanding Medieval Rites
3 November | 15.15-17.00 | Drift 21, 1.05
As Margot Fassler has observed ‘the liturgy is the one place where textual communities remained oral communities.’ But the written records of the liturgy, its rites, often appear allusive and conservative, grounded in earlier textual traditions; they therefore pose their own particular challenges to modern scholars investigating their purpose. Taking as a case study the legally significant rite of excommunication, this paper focuses on the evidence of the different, seemingly ad hoc , excommunication formulae recorded across tenth- and eleventh-century Frankia and England. These rites appear to be on the cusp between written legal records and liturgical rites. What can a codicological approach tell us about where and why these liturgical rites were recorded? And what can such an approach tell us about how these medieval rites were understood and read by their medieval audiences?
Recommended (but not obligatory) reading:
Helen Gittos, ‘Researching the history of rites’, in H. Gittos and S. Hamilton, eds, Understanding Medieval Liturgy: Essays in Interpretation (Ashgate: Farnham, 2016), 13-37
Henry Parkes, The Making of Liturgy in the Ottonian Church. Books, Music and Ritual in Mainz, 950-1050 (Cambridge UP: Cambridge, 2015), 1-12
Sarah Hamilton, ‘Interpreting diversity: Excommunication rites in the tenth and eleventh centuries’, in H. Gittos and S. Hamilton, eds, Understanding Medieval Liturgy: Essays in Interpretation (Ashgate: Farnham, 2016), 125-58