Brother-Making in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

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

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Among medieval Christian societies, Byzantium is unique in preserving an ecclesiastical ritual of adelphopoiesis that pronounces two men as brothers. It has its origin as a spiritual blessing in the monastic world of late antiquity, and it becomes a popular social networking strategy among lay people from the ninth century onwards, even finding application in recent times. Located at the intersection of religious and social history, brother-making exemplifies how social practice can become ritualized and subsequently subjected to attempts of ecclesiastical and legal control. 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 in Byzantium to comparative material in the Latin West and the Slavic world, this book is the first exhaustive treatment of the phenomenon.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 165 x 241 x 27mm | 660g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 11 figures, 2 maps
  • 0195389336
  • 9780195389333
  • 1,785,372

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ; Abbreviations, Spelling and Transliteration ; Introduction ; One: Social Structures ; Two: The Ritual of Adelphopoiesis ; Three: The Origins: Small-Group Monasticism in Late Antiquity ; Four: The Social Practice of Brother-Making in Byzantium ; Five: Prescriptions and Restrictions in Byzantium ; Six: Beyond Byzantium ; Appendix 1: List of Manuscripts ; Appendix 2: Table of Prayers ; Appendix 3: Prayers in Translation ; Bibliography: Sources ; Bibliography: Scholarly Literature
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Review quote

Rapp provides a compelling account of social relationships in Byzantium through the prism of brother-making. We are taken on a tour of such subjects as family relationships, the language of family as it applies to other relationships, and the development and variety of early monasticism, and not just in Byzantium but elsewhere in Europe and beyond ... One cannot help but be drawn into this fascinating world, such is the rich material that Rapp makes use of. * Shaun Tougher, American Historical Review * 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 spiritual togetherness to the strategic crossing of social boundaries for mutual support in a competitive world. * Paul Magdalino, University of St. Andrews * Rapp has taken hold of a theme that binds early monasticism to later Byzantine secular life and forms a nexus of its religious, personal, and political history. Through an admirable command of sources that span a millennium, including narratives and little-studied prayer books, she presents Byzantium at its most unfamiliar and yet most intimate. The book is among a rare few that make Byzantium more intriguing and more accessible for anthropological study. * Anthony Kaldellis, Ohio State University * This book is an erudite study on asceticism in Late Antiquity and Byzantium. Written by the eminent scholar Claudia Rapp ... it is a fascinating and welcome contribution to the field of early monasticism ... This is an excellent book, indispensable for scholars of asceticism in the later Roman world, and well worth the attention of a broader audience. Written by a brilliant scholar, Brother-Making in Late Antiquity and Byzantium is equally valuable for
research and teaching. * Daniel Lemeni, Vigiliae Christianae *
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About Claudia Rapp

Claudia Rapp is 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.
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