In the Catholic areas of Europe, the human remains (both their bones and the fabrics they touched) of persons considered to have been exceptional are usually stored for transformation into relics. The production and the reproduction of the object-relic takes place within monasteries and is carried out firstly on the material level. In this article I intend to present in detail, from an anthropological standpoint, the practices used to process such remains, the role of the social actors involved and the political-ecclesiastical dynamics connected with them. Owing to obvious difficulties in accessing enclosed communities, such practices are usually overlooked in historiographical and ethno-anthropological analyses, while they should instead be considered the most important moment in the lengthy process intended to give form and meaning to remains, with a view to their exhibition and use in ritual.
is right and what has been wronged, thereby allowing us to use its example to push violence to the margins of society. While we may never fully eliminate violence, we can then at least accommodate ourselves with its appearance, learn to mobilise its effects and draw upon its sacred wisdom from time to time. The sacrifice thus becomes the warning and something to behold as we continue to suffer into the truth of existence.
We can understand a great deal about history by asking what sacredobjects appear and cut through the fabric of time. Our history in fact can
and artefacts for repatriation where
appropriate) and laws in over ten states (Thornton 2001:
159–61). The National Museum of the American Indian,
created in 1989, is required also to inventorize its cultural
and sacredobjects with a view to repatriation.
One of the most influential meditations upon the state
of American democracy in the last quarter of the twentieth
century is found in the political scientist Robert Putnam’s
Bowling Alone (2000). Building on his and other scholars’
arguments about the need for high levels of trust generated
through voluntary civic
both the year cycle and the life cycle into a series of rites and
celebrations that accompanied the individual from cradle to grave.
Invocations to the saints, prayers and the use of holy water and sacredobjects were an important part of magical practice. Popular saints’ cults
and celebrations often had at their core both a promessa , or promise
of devotion in exchange for good health, and an ecstatic component that
Wordlists, songs, and knowledge production on the colonial Australian
authorising paratexts explicitly countered early press criticism, both gendered and racist, of Dunlop’s poem. 38 Undaunted, Dunlop included Indigenous words, customs, and themes in several published poems in the 1840s, including ‘The Eagle Chief’ (1842), ‘The Aboriginal Father’ (1843), and ‘Native Poetry: Nung-Ngnun’ (1848). Dunlop’s notes on her poems acknowledged her sources, including Boni, who both shared information with Dunlop about secret–sacredobjects and provided advice about what information she could not access based on gender rules about cultural knowledge. 39
does the Jewish reader discover
that there were Christians in Palestine and that they were defeated by the
Muslims, who slaughtered them and stole their sacredobjects.1
Nevertheless, one may find an echo of the Jewish theological frustration
in light of the political situation and the Christian victories. In only one
source, that of R. Yitzhak ben Saadya, does the author of the piyyut depict
Goldin, Apostasy and Jewish identity.indd 31
Apostasy and Jewish identity
this problem in a heartfelt manner, without any attempt at concealment.
, but on the strength of reports or rumours,
fama or clamor, reaching the judges’ ears. See Eymeric, Directorium, pp. 283– 4;
Peña’s notes (separately paginated), pp. 124–6.
30 The practice of swearing an oath on the pen of the court notary was widespread
among Italian Jewish communities, and had the same value for Jews as swearing
with a sacredobject in the hand – see Ioly Zorattini (ed.), Processi, I (1548–1560),
p. 157, n.11.
31 For the importance attached to evidence that a suspect had eaten meat or poultry
or fat at forbidden times, during Lent or on Fridays and
Divine destruction in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay
of fear, disinterest and disdain, his investment in the head as a
finished object constitutes a mode of idolatry. In the previous chapter,
I discussed the ‘finitude’ associated with sacredobjects,
and the extent to which image-breaking is stimulated by perceptions of
images as the perfect, finite and ‘whole’. Despite
everything that Bacon has told Miles, the young scholar resists
recognition of the
. Critical and analytical approaches to art come in this view to be seen as infringing upon the integrity of the artistic totality, which takes on the status of a sacredobject. In the
twentieth century Brecht and others, with some justiﬁcation, questioned the
organic view of the work of art. However, there is, once again, another dimension to the argument, that can be illustrated by considering a passage from a
letter by Hölderlin to his brother (1799), not long before the appearance of the
STI. In this he points to a view of aesthetics that is often underestimated in