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In this article, I analyse how the Shepherd of Hermas constructs an ancient Christian reading culture through concurrent portrayals of Christian reading, copying and book production. I argue that, by portraying its protagonist Hermas as an idealised reader, scribe and auditor, the Shepherd constructs an early Christian reading culture that authenticates Hermas's role as prophet, activates the textual dissemination of the Shepherd and ritualises the practice of Christian auditory ‘reading’. The article closes with ‘Hermas the freedman’, which considers how Hermas's self-presentation as a formerly enslaved person may have connections to the Shepherd's centralisation of ancient reading cultures.
This article builds upon recent scholarship on the role of church ‘reform’ and the cult of saints in English royal politics around the turn of the second millennium, arguing that the infamous ‘St Brice's Day massacre’ of 13 November 1002 may have been planned for that date in part because of the associations of the cult of Brice/Brictius. After outlining this hypothesis, the article explores the broader implications of the emergence of a universal martyrological calendar for historical writing and political action, and for the exercise and communication of violence in particular.
Boys who were tonsured by their bishop acquired clerical status. Bishops might confer the tonsure at or near a general ordination but also on their progress around their diocese or when resident at one of their manor houses. Candidates had to be ‘literate’, possessing a certain level of Latin, free (or manumitted), legitimate (or dispensed) and ‘suitable’. There is evidence of local selection and candidates were examined before being tonsured. Tonsuring could be the first stage in progress to the priesthood, but many did not proceed beyond the first tonsure and others progressed only to ordination as acolyte.
This paper addresses a major historical lacuna by highlighting some of the ways through which women helped to shape Irish responses to the English Reformation in Ireland. It reveals that women were often key to a web of contacts linking English resistance to the Tudors’ reformations to Irish resistance. It affirms that women played a significant role in the Reformation in Tudor Ireland, not least of all in its ultimate failure. Because virtually no Irish women became Protestants in the sixteenth century, though a small number of Irish men was converted, no self-perpetuating indigenous community of Irish Protestants was generated.
This article explores the history of the Benedictines in south-eastern Congo. The Benedictine leader, Jean-Félix De Hemptinne, eschewed an adaptationist approach to his mission work in favour of an assimilationist one. This article explains why he was able to follow such an approach for so long. Two factors were paramount. First, what Chris Bayly described as ‘lateral connections’ enabled De Hemptinne to side-step the need to engage meaningfully with local agricultural knowledge. Secondly, De Hemptinne's close if turbulent relationship with the colonial state facilitated a supply of funds and African labour despite the difficulties the Benedictines had in converting local people.
The article focuses on a little-known expression of Orthodox conciliar practice in the Russian Empire, the Riga diocesan congress of 1905, and analyses the extent to which commitment to church renewal was spread in regions and provinces of the empire. The article draws attention to the self-presentation of this assembly as a true council, an embodiment of sobornost’. The article interprets the bold reforms proposed by the congress as a product of nineteenth-century ecclesiological ideas, the active participation of the native clergy and laity and the borderland position of Baltic Orthodoxy, a minority faith in a Lutheran region.
The aim of this learned and enterprising book is to elucidate the structure and intention of Clement's Stromateis by comparing it with pagan texts from the first and second centuries of our era which belong, as we might now say, to the same genre. This term, which is chaperoned by quotation marks on p. 15, has proved itself heuristically indispensable, but has no closer equivalent in ancient Greek than genos, which is as likely to denote the style or metre of a work as its place in a critical taxonomy. Strict conventions governed versification and the composition of speeches for given occasions, but it is we who have all but invented the epyllion and coined our own names for the novel, the autobiography and the didactic poem. While Heath proposes on p. 138 to render Stromateis as ‘layout’, ‘miscellany’ is the term that is now most commonly applied to this and other ancient texts whose amorphous character seems to resist taxonomy. As Heath observes, however (p. 24), there are all too many specimens of Greek and Latin writing which are in some sense miscellaneous: she might have quoted the thesis of her namesake, Malcolm Heath, that abrupt transitions, divagations and surprises were not aberrations from the classical norm, but calculated devices to heighten the pleasure or whet the interest of the reader, both in poetry and in prose. The culture of ubiquitous imitation was also a culture of unceasing improvisation, and both practices are amply illustrated in Heath's comparison of the Stromateis with four books from the second century to which it bears an obvious resemblance: the Natural history of Pliny the Elder, the Convivial questions of Plutarch, the Attic nights of Aulus Gellius and the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus.