History From Below

In the Roman Catholic Church, the celebration held forty days after Christmas is the festival of Candlemas (February 2). Candlemas recognizes the presentation of Jesus in the temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary forty days after giving birth (Luke 2:22-29). This was in accordance with Jewish purity law (Lev. 12:4) which required women who had just given birth to remain separate from the temple. On this Candlemas, I wanted to take a look back at the development of the liturgical calendar in Late Antiquity and also to consider the role of late antique women in shaping our knowledge of both liturgical practice and the geography of piety in the early Christian Mediterranean.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 2.12.38 PM.pngAn illustration of the presentation of Jesus in the temple from the Menologion of Basil II (ca. 1000 CE). I have indeed used a screenshot from the digitized version of Vat.Gr.1613 that can be accessed in…

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