Architectural Setting of the Cult of Saints in the Early Christian West c.300-c.1200
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 334
Width: 16.2 cm
Height: 24.3 cm
This book explores the way in which church architecture from the earliest centuries of Christianity has been shaped by holy bones - the physical remains or 'relics' of those whom the Church venerated as saints. The Church's holy dead continued to exercise an influence on the living from beyond the grave, and their earthly remains provided a focus for prayer. The memoriae, house-churches and crypts of early Christian Rome; the elaborately decorated monuments containing the bodies of the bishops of Merovingian Gaul; the revival of ring crypts in the Carshingian empire; the crypts, 'tomb-shrines', and later high shrines of medieval England, all demonstrate how the presence of a holy body within a church influenced its very architecture. This is the first complete modern study of this hitherto somewhat neglected aspect of medieval church architecture in western Europe.
The balanced use of documentary and archaeological methods combine with the excellent use of plans and photographs to provide a detailed and scholarly work which will be welcomed by all students of the early Church. Church Archaeology Crook uses literary and architectural evidence to survey continuities and changes to this important aspect of early medieval devotion. Years Work in English Studies One of the great strengths of this book is the way in which the English sites are related to their forebears across the Channel ... thoroughly recommended. Tim Tatton-Brown, Medieval Archaeology An excellent piece of work ... this book is also particularly welcome because nearly all the sites mentioned have been visited and their architecture and dating has been re-assessed. Tim Tatton-Brown, Medieval Archaeology Crook's meticulous study of the architectural manifestations of saintly virtues, from the earliest Roman 'tropaoin' to the Becket shrine at Canterbury, stands as an invaluable guide for both scholars and students. Religious Studies Review Scholarly and comprehensive, the book combines a literary as well as an archaeological approach, and includes many useful ground plans and photographs by the author ... the depth and clarity of his research will reward specialists and students of the subject. Abigail Willis, Church Times