Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Die Gegenwart Von Heiligen Und Reliquien

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Die Gegenwart Von Heiligen Und Reliquien

Article excerpt

Die Gegenwart von Heiligen und Reliquien. By Arnold Angenendt. Edited by Hubertus Lutterbach. (Münster: Aschendorff Verlag. 2010. Pp. 260. euro29,80. ISBN 978-3-402-12836-7).

Arnold Angenendt studied Catholic theology and history at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, was ordained in 1963, and completed a Habilitationsschrift in Catholic theology in 1975. He held the chair for liturgical science at Münster, where, among many other distinguished publications prior to his "retirement" in 1999, he completed a magisterial synthesis on Heilige und Reliquien (Münster, 1994) that became the premier guide to hagiology in the German-speaking world. His career continues through a series of distinguished appointments and invitations, and now Hubertus Lutterbach has chosen to commemorate Angenendt 's seventy-fifth birthday by republishing some of his articles on matters hagiographical.

Lutterbach offers an introduction linking Angendt' s studies of relics to contemporary German fixations on the body, pilgrimages, and other themes. Even with the assumption of the (sometimes tenuous) links postulated, to connect a body of scholarship to today's effervescent popular culture neither validates the former nor forestalls the impending obsolescence of the latter. More useful are the eight studies by Angenendt; although two of these were previously available in major journals, most were published in the symposia, local periodicals, and Festschriften that are beloved by German scholars but not by American libraries. The best of these articles deserve a wider public.

To a 1994 symposium on medieval historiography, Angenendt contributed " Gesta Dei - Gesta Hominum" observations on how medieval writers used the "anger of God" as a causative factor in religious and theological history. To a 2002 symposium on miracles he offered a history-of-religions and Christian perspective. In a 1999 issue of a local journal he presented a few pages on St. Martin as homo Dei and bishop. More important is a 1991 Saeculum article on 'Corpus Incorruptum," an unprecedented survey of pre-Christian and Christian traditions of miraculously preserved bodies. Perhaps the most original and insightful piece - "In Porticu Ecclesiae Sepultus," originally published in the 1994 Festschrift for Karl Hauk - presents the development of the tradition of burial in the forecourts of churches as a mirroring of eschatological visions of the souls of the just awaiting judgment in the gates and towers of the heavenly Jerusalem. …

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