Appearances can be deceptive; and medieval ritual practices are in this respect no exception. They perform stability through the codification of repetitive modes of behaviour and simultaneously admit flexibility in their integration of newer forms of representation. They mask the historical contingencies of their own creation and construct alternative narratives of authority and continuity. They do not simply appear; their appearance reflects the mutual interplay of construction and modification. This collection of eleven essays – which chronologically spans the period from the Carolingians to the Catholic Reform movement of the later sixteenth century – explores this double-edged potential in the appearance of medieval ritual practices; and, in this case, chiefly church rituals. It comprises a series of individual studies by scholars of literature, theology, music, and the visual arts. Each study examines a particular moment of change or transformation in ritual practices, illuminating, thereby, processes of ritualization. In this way, the book both provides an impulse to the recent renewal of methodological interest in ritual studies and presents individual contributions to specific scholarly discourses within this broad area.
"(...) how rich and suggestive this book is and how the debate hoped for can stimulate edditional questions and areas of research. It is a welcome addition to the field for all medievalists." (M. Dobozy, in: The Medieval Review, 08.01.18)