Friday, May 9, 2003

As promised several days ago...

Here are some links to Relics Resources:


Relics - pious and by no means comprehensive (I can you write a book on relics and not mention the corpse of St. Catherine of Bologna on display, seated upright in a golden chair??)...but a useful start.

Furta Sacra about the theft of relics during the Central Middle Ages.

Magnificent Corpses is a guide to some saints' relics in Europe, but is of no use beyond that - the author is not a Catholic, which is fine - (I found the book on Marian shrines by a self-identified agnostic Virgin Trails quite a lovely and compassionate read) - but her description of her experiences of the relics, in every single chapter follows the exact same, numbingly dull pattern: Here's the relic. Here are the relic viewers who are either uncouth, obviously tourists rather than pilgrims and are often wearing obscene t-shirts. Well - so? There are many interesting points to be made about the intersection of pilgrimage and tourism, of the totality of experience and life that people bring to religious shrines - but the author doesn't try to make them.

The Cult of the Saints by Peter Brown, a well-known an highly respected historian of early Christianity. And if you've never read his biography of St. Augustine, , shame on you.

There are some interesting and helpful sites on the web, in no particular order:

Links to background and text of The Pardoner's Tale

Good essay on the development of the cult of relics

Three medieval tales of relics

Two medievel critiques of the cult of relics:

Guibert of Nogent

Bishop Amulo of Lyons

A "Gazeteer" of various relics around the world

Buddhist Relics

The Orthodox view

And finally, the column I wrote that was the root of the talk