Brother-Making in Late Antiquity and Byzantium: Monks, Laymen, and Christian Ritual by Claudia Rapp

Brother-Making in Late Antiquity and Byzantium: Monks, Laymen, and Christian Ritual

byClaudia Rapp

Hardcover | February 24, 2016

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Among medieval Christian societies, Byzantium is unique in preserving an ecclesiastical ritual of adelphopoiesis, which pronounces two men, not related by birth, as brothers for life. It has its origin as a spiritual blessing in the monastic world of late antiquity, and it becomes a popularsocial networking strategy among lay people from the ninth century onwards, even finding application in recent times. Located at the intersection of religion and society, brother-making exemplifies how social practice can become ritualized and subsequently subjected to attempts of ecclesiastical andlegal control. Controversially, adelphopoiesis was at the center of a modern debate about the existence of same-sex unions in medieval Europe. This book, the first ever comprehensive history of this unique feature of Byzantine life, argues persuasively that the ecclesiastical ritual to bless a relationship betweentwo men bears no resemblance to marriage. Wide-ranging in its use of sources, from a complete census of the manuscripts containing the ritual of adelphopoiesis to the literature and archaeology of early monasticism, and from the works of hagiographers, historiographers, and legal experts inByzantium to comparative material in the Latin West and the Slavic world, Brother-Making in Late Antiquity and Byzantium examines the fascinating religious and social features of the ritual, shedding light on little known aspects of Byzantine society.

About The Author

Claudia Rapp is Professor of Byzantine Studies at the University of Vienna and Director of the Division of Byzantine Research, Institute for Medieval Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences. She was awarded the 2015 Wittgenstein Prize, the most prestigious scientific award in Austria.

Details & Specs

Title:Brother-Making in Late Antiquity and Byzantium: Monks, Laymen, and Christian RitualFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.41 × 6.3 × 1.3 inPublished:February 24, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195389336

ISBN - 13:9780195389333

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsAbbreviations, Spelling and TransliterationIntroduction1. Social Structures2. The Ritual of Adelphopoiesis3. The Origins: Small-Group Monasticism in Late Antiquity4. The Social Practice of Brother-Making in Byzantium5. Prescriptions and Restrictions in Byzantium6. Beyond ByzantiumAppendix 1: List of ManuscriptsAppendix 2: Table of PrayersAppendix 3: Prayers in TranslationBibliography: SourcesBibliography: Scholarly Literature

Editorial Reviews

"A masterly combination of historical anthropology and textual scholarship, which lifts the lid on social values in Byzantium. With clear and sympathetic insight, Professor Rapp shows how the cultural simulation of a biological kinship bond evolved from the consecration of spiritualtogetherness to the strategic crossing of social boundaries for mutual support in a competitive world." --Paul Magdalino, University of Saint Andrews