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Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture

Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture

Victor Turner
Edith Turner
Copyright Date: 1978
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture
    Book Description:

    First published in 1978, Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture is a classic work examining the theological doctrines, popular notions, and corresponding symbols and images promoting and sustaining Christian pilgrimage. The book examines two major aspects of pilgrimage practice: the significance of context, or the theological conditions giving rise to pilgrimage and the folk traditions enabling worshippers to absorb the meaning of the event; and the images and symbols embodying the experience of pilgrimage and transmitting its visions in varying ways.

    Retelling its own tales of "mere mortals" confronted by potent visions, such as the man Juan Diego who found redemption with the Lady of Guadalupe and the poor French shepherdess Bernadette whose encounter with the Lady at Lourdes inspired Christians across the globe, this text treats religious visions as both paradox and empowering phenomena, tying them explicitly to the times in which they occurred. Offering vivid vignettes of social history, it extends their importance beyond the realm of the religious to our own conceptions of reality.

    Extensively revised throughout, this edition includes a new introduction by the theologian Deborah Ross situating the book within the work of Victor and Edith Turner and among the movements of contemporary culture. She addresses the study's legacy within the discipline, especially its hermeneutical framework, which introduced a novel method of describing and interpreting pilgrimage. She also credits the Turners with cementing the link between mysticism, popular devotion, and Christian culture, as well as their recognition of the relationship between pilgrimage and the deep spiritual needs of human beings. She concludes with various critiques of the Turners' work and suggests future directions for research.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52782-8
    Subjects: Religion, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Preface to the Paperbook Edition
    (pp. xiii-xxii)
    Edith Turner
  4. Preface
    (pp. xxiii-xxviii)
    Victor Turner and Edith Turner
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xxix-lx)
    Deborah Ross

    Pilgrimage is a universal phenomenon, its practice both ancient and contemporary. Pilgrimages, or journeys to sacred sites, were important in classical times, pre-Columbian America, and in pagan religions in Britain and Ireland. The monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and the Eastern religions all have pilgrimage traditions. Pilgrimage has also long been an area of literary interest: from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, to Paulo Coelho’s more contemporary Pilgrimage, pilgrimage narratives fascinate readers.¹ Across the centuries, pilgrimage has continued to be of significance in its personal, social, and spiritual aspects.

    Every year millions of people embark on pilgrimages...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: Pilgrimage as a Liminoid Phenomenon
    (pp. 1-39)

    Pilgrimages are probably of ancient origin and can, indeed, be found among peoples classed by some anthropologists as “tribal,” peoples such as the Huichol, the Lunda, and the Shona. But pilgrimage as an institutional form does not attain real prominence until the emergence of the major historical religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In view of its importance in the actual functioning of these religions, both quantitatively and qualitatively, pilgrimage has been surprisingly neglected by historians and social scientists. But perhaps it has merely shared in the general disregard of the liminal ¹ and marginal phenomena of social process...

  7. CHAPETR TWO Mexican Pilgrimages: Myth and History
    (pp. 40-103)

    It was in Mexico that our interest in the pilgrimage process was first aroused. Hence we make no apology for putting the cart before the horse and beginning with this study of modem Catholic pilgrimages in a formerly colonial territory. An anthropologist must begin with what he has seen, even if, in attempting to comprehend the phenomena he has observed, he later finds himself compelled to retrace their past in the visible record of what may nevermore be seen. (For Mexican materials we have included elsewhere in articles on pilgrimage, see V. Turner 1974a:166–230; 1974c:305–27; 1975b:l07–27.)


  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. CHAPTER THREE St. Patrick’s Purgatory: Religion and Nationlism in an Archaic Pilgrimage
    (pp. 104-139)

    This chapter is in keeping with the Malinowskian anthropological tradition (in which we have developed) of eliciting the general from the particular. The particular in this case is an Irish pilgrimage of great antiquity, St. Patrick’s Purgatory in Lough Derg in County Donegal, a pilgrimage which has persisted through numerous changes in its religious context (see the chronology in Appendix B). St. Patrick’s Purgatory belongs to the category of pilgrimages which we have labeled “archaic,” and is distinguished from the “prototypical” pilgrimages, those directly connected with the life and teachings of the founder of the faith and of his principal...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Konophily and Konoclasm in Marian Pilgrimage
    (pp. 140-171)

    In the course of this study, we have seen that pilgrimage shrines, in principal centers of peace and communitas, are often involved in social and political conflicts of great vehemence and intensity. This paradox has particularly marked the famous Marian shrines; the flux of Marian devotions has indeed been related to some of the major political and theological changes in Western History.

    Let us begin in medias res, with an event which vividly illustrates the issue of iconophobia versus iconophily, which in a more general sense is a pervasive theme of this chapter. The event was the burning of certain...

  11. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  12. CHAPTER FIVE Locality and Universality in medieval Pilgrimages
    (pp. 172-202)

    In the High Middle Ages pilgrimages throve, especially those to Marian shrines. Though they started as local, regional, or patriotic devotions to our Lady, they were theologically orthodox. In this chapter, we shall trace how several medieval devotions grew into universal pilgrimages, and we shall conflate, for the purpose, the many interesting variations found in this period, roughly from the Muslim invasions of North Africa and Spain to the Reformation. By way of contrast, in chapter 6 we shall tum to modern, or postNapoleonic, pilgrimages, usually founded in response to a vision or apparition of the Virgin Mary, and increasingly...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Apparitions, Messages, and Miracles: Postindustrial Marian Pilgrimage
    (pp. 203-230)

    Marian pilgrimages and images have had a dramatic resurgence in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    In the Middle Ages, Mary as Theotokos, holding or even nursing her Divine Son, received much iconic representation. Marian devotion formed part of a vast system of beliefs and rituals. Early in the nineteenth century, though, the emphasis began to shift to Mary herself, as an autonomous figure who takes initiatives on behalf of mankind, often intervening in the midst of the economic and political crises characteristic of industrialized mass society.

    As we have pointed out earlier (see chapter 4), the cultus of the...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions
    (pp. 231-242)

    Our study of the Marian pilgrimage type and of selected Catholic pilgrimages in Western Europe and the New World suggests some tentative conclusions. We have seen, for example, that pilgrimage should be regarded not merely as an ideal model but as an institution with a history. Each pilgrimage, of any length, is vulnerable to the history of its period and must come to terms with shifts of political geography. Pilgrimage is more responsive to social change and popular moods than liturgical ritual, fixed by rubric.

    Pilgrimage systems are more “liminoid” (open, optational, not conceptualized as religious routine) than “liminal” (belonging...

  15. APPENDIX A Notes on Processual Symbolic Analysis
    (pp. 243-255)
  16. APPENDIX B Chronology of Lough Derg Pilgrimage
    (pp. 256-260)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 261-272)
  18. Index
    (pp. 273-282)