The Dangers of Ritual: Between Early Medieval Texts and Social Scientific Theory by Philippe Buc
One of the basic concepts of current thinking in the history of the Middle Ages is the concept of political rituals, and includes events from coronation to funerals, entrances to…
The Dangers of Ritual synopsis
One of the basic concepts of current thinking in the history of the Middle Ages is the concept of political rituals, and includes events from coronation to funerals, entrances to cities, civic games, banquets, hunting, acts of presentation or praise, and more. "ritual?" Asks Philip Bock.
In The Dangers of Ritual he boldly argues that the concept should not be so central. Modern scholars, gently tempted by twentieth-century theories of ritual, often misinterpret medieval documents that ostensibly describe such events, in part because they failed to appreciate the intentions behind them.
The book begins with four case studies arranged in the order of the 10th century to represent the representations of Christian martyrdom in the fourth century, in order to strip the development line again with layer by layer. It then becomes an analysis of the intellectual tradition used by contemporary historians to interpret medieval documents.
Following the emergence of the ritual concept from reform to the middle of the 20th century, continuity continues to highlight the profound transformations between early medieval concepts and our social and scientific models. Medieval historians will find this book an indispensable source to see them on critical methodological issues in their discipline.
As Bock points out, careful attention only to contexts in which authors work can allow us to reconstruct medieval documents on how the "ritual" works. Ultimately, he argues, very fast application of contemporary models to textual compositions is very complex to our understanding of the peculiarities of early European medieval political culture..
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