Defining the Holy: Textual Representations of Sacred Bodies, Sounds, and Spaces in Late Ancient Christianity

This project addresses materially-mediated practices of the making and unmaking of the religious. In particular, it deals with textual representations of material religious forms, in particular sacred bodies, sounds, and spaces, in the works of Latin Christian authors, Ambrose of Milan (c. 340–397), Niceta of Remesiana (c. 335–c. 414), and Paulinus of Nola (c. 354–431). It explores how, why, and by whose authority are bodies, sounds, and spaces invested with or deprived from holiness; what role is ascribed to them in late ancient Christian communities; how are these material religious forms viewed in regard to the divine as the ultimate source of holiness and in regard to the rest of the world. Highlighting the role of human agency in orchestrating the holiness of bodies, sounds, and spaces, this project argues that their holiness emerges not as something fixed and immutable, but as something highly dynamic, and a process always in the making and unmaking due to the fact that divine intervention in the physical world constantly needs to be signalled, communicated, and interpreted.

Project staff: Dr. Carmen Angela Cvetković
Project publications:
  • Cvetkovic, Carmen Angela and Gemeinhardt, Peter (eds.). 2018. Episcopal Networks in Late Antiquity: Connection and Communication across Boundaries (Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte). Berlin: De Gruyter (forthcoming).
  • Cvetkovic, Carmen Angela. 2018. “Niceta of Remesiana’s visits to Nola: Between sacred travel and political mission”. In: Cvetković, Carmen Angela and Gemeinhardt, Peter (eds.): Episcopal Networks in Late Antiquity: Connection and Communication across Boundaries. Berlin: De Gruyter (forthcoming).
  • Cvetkovic, Carmen Angela. 2018. “Si docendus est episcopus a laico, quid sequetur? Ambrose of Milan on the episcopal duty of teaching”. In: Gemeinhardt, Peter, Munkholt, Maria und Lorgeoux, Olga (eds.). Lehrer und Lehrerinnen im spätantiken Christentum. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. 92–110 (forthcoming).
  • Cvetkovic, Carmen Angela. 2018. “Contested authority in the twelfth century Latin west: Bernard of Clairvaux’s reception of origen.” Adamantius (forthcoming).
  • Cvetkovic, Carmen Angela. 2017. “Christianity, Romanitas and the politics of otherness in the Late Ancient West.” In: Lagouanère, Jerôme (ed.): La naissance de l’autrui: De L’Antiquité à la Renaissance. Paris: Classiques Garnier. 149–160.
  • Cvetkovic, Carmen Angela. 2017. “Episcopal literary networks in the Late Antique West: Niceta of Remesiana and Ambrose of Milan.” Studia Patristica 85(11). 177–185.