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Constantine's endorsement of and support for the Church left their marks in certain areas. His nephew Julian reacted against state-supported Christianity and promoted his own unique version of state-supported paganism. Previous scholarship had identified this as a ‘pagan Church’ co-opting features from Christianity, but this view has recently been challenged. This article argues that the traditional understanding of a ‘pagan Church’ is correct, and that it drew specifically upon some features of the Constantinian Church in the areas of theological content, leadership and symbols.
A close reading of sources documenting the Vandal conquest (429–39 ce) reveals that contemporary authors did not present the event as a persecution. To be sure, they insisted on the devastation that the Vandals caused, the typical woes of war, but not on its religious motivation. The article argues that it was Augustine who, in his ep. ccxxviii, first presented a theological interpretation of the event that allowed later sources writing within the Augustinian tradition to frame the conquest retroactively as a persecution.
This article examines the political thought of the twelfth-century papacy, considering how popes of this era responded to the establishment of the kingdoms of Jerusalem, Sicily and Portugal. It compares the intellectual strategies used by popes to justify why these three polities were kingdoms rather than any other type of political unit. It is suggested that, to make their cases, popes advanced a range of arguments, many of which echoed the political ideas of Gregory VII. The article concludes by linking its findings to the wider question of how the twelfth-century papacy responded to the expansion of Latin Christendom.
In a letter to the monk Patricius, Philoxenus told a cautionary tale about the downfall of the monk Adelphius. He was said to have accepted a Satanic vision of the Holy Spirit, abandoned ascetic labour and become the founder of the heresy of the ‘Messalians’. This article places Philoxenus’ account against the longer background of the invention of ‘Messaliainism’, and in particular of Adelphius as Messalian heresiarch. It shows how Philoxenus drew on traditions about monks receiving Satanic visions found in ascetic literature. It also demonstrates that Philoxenus’ story reflected polemical claims that the Messalians, like other heretics, were inspired by demons and Satan.
This article investigates the involvement of Edward II in the negotiations that led to John XXII's election on 7 August 1316 after a two-year papal vacancy between 1314 and 1316. The main source for this analysis is a dossier of sixteen diplomatic documents, found among the Chancery records in The National Archives in London. The article concludes that Edward II tried to exploit the papal vacancy as a means to re-establish his international profile and seek support abroad in order to face opposition at home, thus ensuring a place for the English Crown within the European political milieu.
The authorship of the Life of the twelfth-century English holy woman, Christina of Markyate (c. 1096–after 1155), has inspired considerable scholarly speculation. Though the writer never once positively identifies himself in extant versions of the text, oblique references locate his activity at the Benedictine monastery of St Albans in Hertfordshire during the 1130s under the patronage of the reigning abbot, Geoffrey de Gorron (1119–46), and intimate the close connections that he enjoyed with his narrative's subjects. Building on these references, and incorporating clues from related sources from St Albans and Markyate, this article reconstructs the likeliest candidate for authorship – Robert de Gorron (d. 1166), Geoffrey's nephew, appointed sacristan and later abbatial successor – and assesses his eligibility.
Lectionary and homiletic sources indicate that the Church of Jerusalem commemorated Stephen twice within the same two-week period (26/27 December and 7 January). Few studies have explored the origins of these feasts, the relationship between their appointed readings and the phenomenon of parallel, or redundant, feasts in fifth-century Jerusalem. This study will locate the development of these feasts within the struggle of the Church of Jerusalem to develop a local cult of martyrs after the Constantinian settlement.
The distinction between ‘Lithuanians’ and ‘foreigners’ made by the law of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with regard to eligibility for senior offices was less clear in practice. The protracted dispute, between 1591 and 1600, over the royal nomination of a ‘Pole’ as bishop of Vilna, has traditionally been presented as an expression of Lithuanian particularism after the 1569 union between Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland. Using neglected capitular sources, this article re-examines the crucial, but underappreciated role played by the Vilna cathedral chapter in this cause célèbre. The motives for the chapter's opposition to the royal nominee cast doubt on the allegedly overwhelming importance of the defence of Lithuanian ‘sovereignty’. Instead, the case demonstrates the significance of material interests in the actions of early modern ecclesiastical corporations.
Scholarship by Barbara Harris, James Daybell and others has recently highlighted the role played by elite women as custodians of dynastic memory in early modern England. The Dissolution of the Monasteries interrupted the commemorative process and constituted a threat to the mausoleums of the elite. Moving or rebuilding tombs represented, to some extent, a decision to remake or even to rewrite the family's history, a process which it is often assumed was at this time controlled by men. This article, however, through the example of the Howard family, demonstrates that women were equally involved; it investigates why this was so and the mechanics of the processs.
In her seventh-century vita of St Radegund, Baudonivia refers in passing to the attendance of a layman named Leo at an Aquitanian ecclesiastical council. This Leo may be identifiable with the ‘Leo of Poitiers’ named by Gregory of Tours as a partisan of Chramn, the rebellious son of King Chlothar i (r. 511–61). If so, then Leo's attendance suggests that the council assembled during the brief period of alliance between Chramn and Childebert i, 555/8. This long-neglected council thus provides insight into one of the major events of a comparatively obscure decade in the history of the regnum Francorum.
Eastern scholars have long accused John VIII Palaiologos of sacrificing the faith for temporal gain when he oversaw the Union of Florence. Westerners have blamed him for the union's ultimate failure. These competing narratives both err by too sharply differentiating between religion and politics, and allowing the opinions of John's contemporary critics to colour their interpretations of his actions. A contextual analysis of John's activities during and after the council finds his behaviour in keeping with the best elements of his tradition and suggests the potential for a new historiography of Ferrara-Florence which might help to dislodge entrenched ecclesial animosities.
This article explores the use and promotion of contact relics in medieval England. It argues that by the late eleventh and early twelfth century, large English monastic houses were uncomfortable with unauthorised individuals touching high status corporeal relics and so re-introduced and promoted contact relics as alternative objects of veneration. It argues that contact relics were an important aspect of English saints' cults until the Reformation, in a similar manner to Celtic and Brittonic cults.
Before the early nineteenth century pew-renting was comparatively rare in Anglican churches, and where it existed the practice was generally administered as a less serious means of fund-raising. But just before 1800 or so, methods of administering the letting of sittings became more businesslike and impersonal. The frequency of pew-renting grew exponentially with the advent of the Church Building Acts beginning in 1818, but the profits realised were usually less than is assumed. The often offensive and sometimes dishonest administration of pew-rent schemes, when later combined with waning churchgoing and a consequent surfeit of rentable sittings, marked the system's decline.
The essay argues that a text first printed in English in 1651 must date from about 1610, and that it preserves a first-hand account of previously unsuspected theological discussions, arranged by Archbishop Whitgift in late 1595, that eventuated in the Lambeth Articles. The doctrinal positions advanced in these discussions – and in the several written responses to the Articles that Whitgift also solicited – clarify the archbishop's handling of this early predestinarian controversy but also complicate in fundamental ways the received picture of the late Elizabethan doctrinal landscape.
The discovery that Jeremy Taylor, the ‘Anglican’ divine, wrote much of the text of the Rutland Petition in Defence of Episcopacy in November 1641, and included many of the arguments that appeared in his ‘Of the sacred order and offices of episcopacy’, published in 1642, throws fresh light on the political and ecclesiastical implications of royalist petitioning. These petitions have sometimes been viewed as expressions of support for ‘prayer book Protestantism’. But, in line with other recent work, this article argues that they drew support from a very broad spectrum of religious opinion, which ranged from moderate Puritan supporters of further reform to avant-garde conformists. Each had their own agenda; but they could be mobilised behind the petitions because of the widespread fear of radical sectarian challenges to the established Church in late 1641.
The article focuses on an episode concerning the photographs of the famous Belgian stigmatic, Louise Lateau. Examining the events leading up to the bishop's decision to restrict the circulation of her portrait, it becomes clear that the ‘affair’ of 1877 was as much about creating her public saintly image as it was about controlling it. Studying the ecclesiastical response to grassroots initiatives adds a more religious perspective to the young field of celebrity studies and offers a more complex view on sanctity, and the role of the media and modern techniques in its creation, use and misuse.
In the aftermath of the Holocaust the elaboration of Catholic perceptions of the Jewish people has been particularly problematic. The weight of a long tradition of Christian antisemitism and its influence on the Nazi extermination programme, as well as the revision of this attitude before and after the Shoah in various Catholic circles as a means of promoting a rapprochement, made it difficult to redefine the image of Jewish people in the Catholic imagination, and gave rise to different and conflicting interpretations. Some members of the Latin Catholic Church of Jerusalem began to argue for an analogy between Nazism and Zionism. This assertion took different forms as the political situation in Palestine evolved and in response to changing attitudes within the Church towards the Jews. This paper will reconstruct the ‘new Nazis’ paradigm in the Jerusalem Church, analysing three key periods: the 1947–9 Arab-Israeli war; the consolidation of the State of Israel in the 1950s; and the Eichmann trial of 1961–2.
The 1661 Savoy Conference has generally been seen as a failure for which Richard Baxter is principally to blame. While it is true that he must share in the responsibility, it should be shared more widely. This article argues that the failure at the Savoy was the end result of tactical errors made a year earlier by the wider Presbyterian leadership who then left Baxter to shoulder the blame alone; and that the restored bishops never had any intention of offering any meaningful concessions at the Savoy.
According to Western canonists, husband and wife had a debt towards one another: they were obliged to render sexual intercourse on demand. This article looks at the differences and similarities of the ‘marital debt’ in Byzantium and the West in order to evaluate whether this concept can be applied to Byzantine couples. It argues that, contrary to the West, in Byzantium there was no fixed linguistic terminology or sophisticated rules to describe a sexual obligation between spouses. Ultimately, there was also less need for one as sexual intercourse within marriage was not considered sinful and needed no justification.