Cover image for The Sacred and the Sinister: Studies in Medieval Religion and Magic Edited by David J. Collins, S. J.

The Sacred and the Sinister

Studies in Medieval Religion and Magic

Edited by David J. Collins, S. J.

BUY

Was: $74.95 Now: $37.48 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08240-0

$39.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08241-7
Coming in December

Available as an e-book
Kobo
Nook
Apple
Kindle

304 pages
6.125" × 9.25"
6 b&w illustrations
2019

The Sacred and the Sinister

Studies in Medieval Religion and Magic

Edited by David J. Collins, S. J.

“This collection of essays brings together two areas that are still often looked at separately: the history of magic and the history of saints, mystics, and more everyday parishioners. As well as celebrating the work of Richard Kieckhefer, Collins’s volume showcases the original work being done by leading scholars in the field. It should stimulate new work on the relationship between holiness and unholiness in the Middle Ages.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
Inspired by the work of eminent scholar Richard Kieckhefer, The Sacred and the Sinister explores the ambiguities that made (and make) medieval religion and magic so difficult to differentiate. The essays in this collection investigate how the holy and unholy were distinguished in medieval Europe, where their characteristics diverged, and the implications of that deviation.

In the Middle Ages, the natural world was understood as divinely created and infused with mysterious power. This world was accessible to human knowledge and susceptible to human manipulation through three modes of engagement: religion, magic, and science. How these ways of understanding developed in light of modern notions of rationality is an important element of ongoing scholarly conversation. As Kieckhefer has emphasized, ambiguity and ambivalence characterize medieval understandings of the divine and demonic powers at work in the world. The ten chapters in this volume focus on four main aspects of this assertion: the cult of the saints, contested devotional relationships and practices, unsettled judgments between magic and religion, and inconclusive distinctions between magic and science.

Freshly insightful, this study of ambiguity between magic and religion will be of special interest to scholars in the fields of medieval studies, religious studies, European history, and the history of science.

In addition to the editor, the contributors to this volume are Michael D. Bailey, Kristi Woodward Bain, Maeve B. Callan, Elizabeth Casteen, Claire Fanger, Sean L. Field, Anne M. Koenig, Katelyn Mesler, and Sophie Page.

“This collection of essays brings together two areas that are still often looked at separately: the history of magic and the history of saints, mystics, and more everyday parishioners. As well as celebrating the work of Richard Kieckhefer, Collins’s volume showcases the original work being done by leading scholars in the field. It should stimulate new work on the relationship between holiness and unholiness in the Middle Ages.”
“This fascinating collection explores, as its dedicatee has done throughout his career, the fundamental ambivalence between ‘the holy and the unholy.’ Perfectly capturing Richard Kieckhefer’s eclectic interests, the book includes essays on topics ranging from saints and their hagiographers, to church buildings (and their embodiments of identities and meanings), to heresy, demons, and magic. Kieckhefer once quipped that his scholarship has a right hand and a left hand. Both sides are delightfully represented here.”
“Apart from the introduction, this volume contains ten contributions by Anglophone authors—discipuli, collegae, amici—which, as usual, prove to be of quite diverse subject matter and quality.”

David J. Collins, S.J., is Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University.

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Flirting Between Heaven and Hell

David J. Collins, S.J.

Part 1: Traditional Holiness

1. Extreme Sanctity at the Turn of the Thirteenth Century: The Metamorphosis of Body and Community in the Vitae of Christina Mirabilis and Francis of Assisi

Claire Fanger

2. The Sources and Significance of Stefania’s New Statement on Margherita Colonna’s Perfection of the Virtues

Sean L. Field

Part 2: Conflicts over the Holy

3. Materializing Conflict: How Parish Communities Remember

Their Medieval Pasts

Kristi Woodward Bain

4. Rape and Rapture: Violence, Ambiguity, and Raptus in Medieval Thought

Elizabeth Casteen

5. Syneisaktism : Sacred Partnership and Sinister Scandal

Maeve B. Callan

Part 3: Identifying and Grappling with the Unholy

6. Was Magic a Religious Movement?

Michael D. Bailey

7. The Jurisdiction of Medieval Inquisitors over Jews and Muslims: Nicholas Eymeric’s Contra infideles demones invocantes

Katelyn Mesler

8. Magicking Madness: Secret Workings and Public Narratives of Disordered Minds in Late Medieval Germany

Anne M. Koenig

Part 4: Magic and the Cosmos

9. A Late Medieval Demonic Invasion of the Heavens

Sophie Page

10. Scholastics, Stars, and Magi: Albert the Great on Matthew 2

David J. Collins, S.J.

Selected Bibliography

List of Contributors

Index