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Contested Bodies: Relic Veneration in Counter-Reformation Bavaria

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018
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7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Carole Baker, Duke Divinity
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CMRS Conversions Working Group

This meeting of the Conversions Working Group presents Carole Baker, Duke ThD student in the Divinity School. Refreshments will be served.

The iconoclasm of Protestant Reformers encompassed not only sacred images but also a rejection of the economy of saints and the consequent practices of saintly veneration. Dismissed as idolatrous because such practices were viewed (by most) to be unbiblical, the Protestant Reformers took it upon themselves to destroy as many relics as possible in order to purify the church of satanic influences. The Catholic response was to rescue and preserve as many relics as possible and this effort was championed by the Bavarian dukes. This paper retells the enthralling story of so many contested bodies and raises questions regarding the limits of rationalized appeals to saintly authentication.