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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Hello all,
I'm just now catching up on this thread, and it catches my attention because
I have just been reading some miracle and pilgrimage stories, and everyone
is always pledging candles, and giving candles, and buying candles - candles
of quite enormous proportions: candles the length of the tomb, candles the
length of a sick son, candles the length and shape of a lame leg, and so
forth - to the shrine.

When, as a graduate student, I used to lecture at the Cloisters, I had some
pithy and almost certainly inaccurate line about the desire for light in
churches, the "donations" of candles and [ahem, this is where it becomes
methodologically dubious], and appearance of stained glass with Gothic
architecture and the "desire" for "light".

I'm not really asking for an explanation of that crazy argument. But rather,
if we're talking about medieval lighting, can anyone talk abit about the
function/economics/aesthetics/and/osprituality of the "candle" in the
medieval churches.   It seems alot of people were spending alot of money -
even money they didn't have much of - on candles.

cecilia



On Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 12:18 PM, John McCulloh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
>
> I had just looked up the reference to suggest the same article.  It is
> fascinating reading.  Ekirch presents evidence that, before the advent of
> cheap electrical  lighting, people went to bed at dusk woke up around
> midnight to relieve themselves, eat and socialize, and then nodded off for
> their "second sleep."
>
> For medievalists it suggests that monks getting up in the middle of the
> night were not really practicing asceticism.  They were following a typical
> sleep pattern.  The monastic element in their vigils was their prayer.
>
> John
>
> John M. McCulloh
> Professor                                               Office tel:
>  785-532-0373
> Department of History                                   Deptal tel:
>  785-532-6730
> Eisenhower Hall                                         FAX:
> 785-532-7004
> Kansas State University
> Manhattan, KS 66506-1002
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Shannon McSheffrey" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Monday, October 19, 2009 8:21:35 AM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
> Subject: Re: [M-R] Medieval lighting
>
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
>
> On preindustrial sleeping patterns, some might find this article
> interesting: A. Roger Ekirch, "Sleep We Have Lost: Pre-industrial Slumber
> in
> the British Isles," The American Historical Review 106:2 (April, 2001)
> http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/106.2/ah000343.html.
>
> Shannon
>
> Dr. Shannon McSheffrey
> Professor and Chair, Department of History
> Concordia University
> 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
> Montreal, Quebec  CANADA  H3G 1M8
>
> [log in to unmask]
>
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