By Derek A. Rivard

Blessings have been an vital and important component to medieval Christian existence and worship. Benedictions for houses and offices, the knight and the pilgrim, town below siege, and the fetus within the womb, are yet a small pattern of the multitudinous and interesting extra-sacramental advantages that fill the leaves of the liturgical books of the medieval Latin Church. whereas generally stated as a vital aspect within the lifetime of medieval humans, the which means and value of those benefits for his or her authors and audiences were usually missed by way of liturgical and old scholarship, which has centred as a substitute at the textual transmission and long term adjustments within the advantages and the rituals surrounding them. This current paintings corrects this omission through analyzing those benefits with smooth eyes, and a brand new methodology.

In Blessing the World, Derek A. Rivard reports liturgical blessing and its position within the non secular lifetime of Christians in the course of the critical and later heart a long time, with a selected concentrate on the advantages of the Franco-Roman liturgical culture from the 10th to overdue 13th centuries. via a cautious and broad learn of greater than 90 such benefits, a lot of them translated for the 1st time and available to a readership past experts in medieval liturgy, the writer argues that medieval advantages have been composed as an immediate reaction to the wishes, anxieties, ideals, and fears of the laity, and as a result those texts signify a wealthy and principally untapped resource for the learn of lay piety and of formality in medieval Europe.

Effectively drawing upon anthropology, ritual reviews, the phenomenology of faith, and conventional textual learn, Rivard explores the wealthy subject matters of medieval piety that move through the advantages which will produce a brand new figuring out of the blessing as an try to faucet the facility of the sacred to be used in everyday life. Benedictions for areas, areas, folks, goods, and occasions are every one studied in flip to supply this new knowing of those advantages, and within the procedure those petitions and rituals exhibit a lot approximately higher problems with medieval people's cosmology, their perceived position of their cosmos, their conceptions of God, and their connections to the divine and to the religious powers of God's creation.


Derek A. Rivard is affiliate professor of historical past at Cottey collage.

PRAISE FOR THE publication:

"Blessing the World analyzes the texts of dozens of those advantages so as to discover how medieval Christians conceived of God, and their very own position inside sacred background. This textual concentration is the book's energy, and the writer presents English translations of benefits from the 10th to the 16th centuries, together with the unique Latin in footnotes, thereby making to be had to readers a wealthy resource of those materials." ― Kathleen Kamerick, The Medieval Review

"Rivard's examine of medieval blessing rituals sheds priceless gentle at the ways in which medieval churchmen and their flocks seen their courting to God, to nature, and to their society." ― James A. Brundage, Church History

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Lat. 317, and the Missale gallicanum vetus (early eighth century, possibly from the school of Luxeuil), MS Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Palatinus latrina (hereafter BAV Pal. , xxvi–xxvii). This evident relation of the Gothicum to the eighthcentury Gallican benedictional supports Deshusses’s assertion that “the matter of the benedictional of the eighth century dates back, in its body, at least to the middle of the seventh century” (CB 1:xxii–xxiii). Moeller believes that the similarity of these blessings to Visigothic blessings suggests that there was a literary renaissance, influenced by the Visigothic milieu, long before the Carolingian renaissance of the ninth century.

Vogel, Medieval Liturgy, 74. For the placement before Communion, see the Roman ordines discussed below. These Gallican blessings often have a triple-optative structure, inspired by the three-tiered Visigothic style modeled after the benediction of the Book of Numbers (CB 1:xvi). Moeller concludes that this was a source common to both Gallican and Visigothic benedictions (CB 1:xxxiii). 34. Gy, “Benedictions,” 178; Nm 6:22–26. This blessing tradition also found its way into the ancient Hispanic liturgy, which I intend to address in a future work.

Gy, “Benedictions,” 177. On the origin of this apotropaism, it may be useful to note Kelly’s observation that, for the rites associated with baptism, seeing Satan as the “ruler of this world,” a power to be feared and warded off by ritual action, corresponds with the dualistic tendencies of the Celtic and Germanic peoples among whom the Gallican liturgy originated, but since the Romans also believed in the indwelling of spirits in material objects, it could also have come from them (Kelly, Devil at Baptism, 212).

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