Tomorrow starts the conference ”Preparing for Death in Medieval and Early Modern Europe” organised by Mia Korpiola and Anu Lahtinen at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.
It seems that I am representing the very earliest Middle Ages, that is,  actually Late Antiquity. My paper is (again …) on Augustine of Hippo and his whinings about the popular funerary cult and martyr cult.
Ritual arrangements for the departed – Augustine of Hippo on popular funerary practices
This paper will discuss late antique and early medieval debates about popular funerary rituals. A number of Christian ecclesiastical leaders such as John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nazianzus and Ambrose of Milan opposed the popular feasting at tombs and martyria, condemning them as immoral, superstitious or ‘pagan’. In this paper, the focus will be on Augustine of Hippo who in his sermons and letters complained of Christian banqueting at the tombs. Augustine’s admonitions and argumentation will be analysed as well the objections of the people that might be reconstructed from his sermons and letters will be assessed. Finally, I will make some interpretive remarks on these disputes as power struggles between the local elites – the Christian lay elite and the ecclesiastical elite

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  1. This looks wonderful–I hope it will come out in print!

  2. Yes, this is really unique combination and wide range of papers! And hopefully coming out sooner or later.

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