Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture Paperback – 21 Aug 2008
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'Miri Rubin writes with a lithe and subtle forcefulness … a work of originality, learning and imagination.' The Times Literary Supplement
'The avowed aim of Dr Rubin's book is to decode the eucharistic language used by theologians and the rituals of eucharistic worship in the later middle ages … an erudite and lively study.' The Times Higher Education Supplement
A paperback edition of Miri Rubin's highly successful study of later medieval culture seen through its central symbol, the eucharist.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is an excellent book and thoroughly accessible to historian and layperson alike. Miri Rubin deserves great credit for crafting this book so well as to turn one such as me, who was only reading the book to glean relevant bits for an essay, into an enthusiast of the subject. I would recommend this textbook to anyone.
One can therefore easily understand why this book is used as a reference by many academics and specialists of the period. As a student not so familiar with "old English", a modern translation would have been appreciated
Rubin is a proponent, following in the vein of Roger Chartier, of studying the significance of rituals within the context of the culture of the society. Such a method requires "thick description" to build up an intricate picture of a given culture. From this thick description, anthropological historians can hope to extrapolate wider judgements regarding the historical period or society. Most famously, Clifford Geertz explained kinship patterns in Bali by an investigation of cock-fights (who people bet on and with what stake, for example, told him much about familial loyalites, expectations, and etiquette).
What Rubin creates, however, is not so illustrative. This might partly be due to the scope of material - 4 centuries of Western European theology and ritual. It is hindered more significantly, however, by Rubin's painful writing style. At one point we are told that the cult of the Eucharist was "renewable and non-exhaustible". Yes, this sounds very clever but it is shockingly tautological. At others, we are implored to understand the deep and rich meaning of language by Rubin's meaningless use of complex sentences. Rubin's thick description made this reader feel thick and sick.
For anyone with an interest in the rituals of Catholicism, there is surely a more accessible alternative; for non-academics, I can only recommend buying this book to display prominently but never read.
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