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Title: Byzantine Lay Piety, ca. 600-730
Authors: Marinides, Nicholas George
Advisors: Brown, Peter
Haldon, John
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Byzantine
Late Antiquity
Orthodox Christian
Subjects: History
Religious history
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The present study addresses lay piety in Byzantium from the perspective of its relation to the monastic ideal. My approach builds on work such as Peter Brown's analysis of early Christian asceticism, <italic>The Body and Society</italic> and John Haldon's socio-cultural study <italic>Byzantium in the Seventh Century</italic>. The period 600-730 was of great historical significance, as the late antique Roman world and its religion was disrupted by the rise of Islam. It offers a neglected abundance of religious literature, shedding light on an otherwise "Dark" Age. After a summary of key points in the history of lay piety up to 600, I proceed to analyze it in the early seventh century from the perspectives of the poetry of George of Pisidia, who crafted a model of ascetical and mystical piety for the emperor Heraclius; of the hagiography of John of Thessalonica and Leontius of Neapolis who used stories of local saints to instruct laypeople; and the "edifying tales" gathered by the monk John Moschus in his <italic>Spiritual Meadow</italic>. Around the same time Maximus the Confessor provided an influential synthesis of Byzantine theology. The late seventh-century itinerant teacher Anastasius of Sinai mediated the austere monastic doctrine of his master John Climacus to laypeople, and used his scientific learning to adapt it to the newly Muslim-dominated Near East. In the early eighth century I consider the sermons of Andrew of Crete and Germanus of Constantinople, along with other contemporary testimony to the emerging medieval Byzantine culture. Delivered to mixed audiences of laypeople and monastics, such texts provide a glimpse into the spiritual expectations and celebrations of urban Byzantium. In the conclusion I consider further the methodological problems of the sources. Many of the details of lay practices can be corroborated elsewhere. The predominantly monastic and clerical authors were aware of facts on the ground and adapted their discourses accordingly. We can thus map certain patterns of lay piety--patronage of monasteries, sacramental participation, devotion to saints, etc.--throughout the period. I end on the threshold of iconoclasm, offering some preliminary suggestions as to how lay piety affected that movement.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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