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Antecedents and remnants of apocalyptic Christianity: an iconology of death

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La Santa Muerte is a folk saint depicted as a female Grim Reaper in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. The Grim Reaper, as an iconic representation of death, was derived from the Angel of Death found in pseudepigrapha and

La Santa Muerte is a folk saint depicted as a female Grim Reaper in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. The Grim Reaper, as an iconic representation of death, was derived from the Angel of Death found in pseudepigrapha and apocalyptic writings of Jewish and early Christian writers. The Angel of Death arose from images and practices in pre-Christian Europe and throughout the Mediterranean region. Images taken from Revelation were used to console the survivors of the Black Death in Western Europe and produced a material culture that taught the Christian notion of dying well. The combination of the scythe (used in the eschatological harvest), the black cowl (worn by medieval priests and monks officiating at funerals), and the skeleton (as the physical body of the deceased) are a series of apocalyptic Christian referents that form a metonymical composite referred to as the Grim Reaper.

In medieval Iberian Dances of Death, the Grim Reaper was depicted as female, an unyielding social leveler, and an important participant in the Last Judgment. Personalized Death became associated with healing, renewal, magic, and binding, as apocalyptic Christianity blended with the Christian cult of the saints and the Virgin Mary during the Reconquista and the colonization of Mesoamerica. Utilizing secondary historical sources, metonymy, and iconology this Master of Arts thesis posits that the La Santa Muerte image resulted from a long historical interaction of Greek, Roman, Jewish, Visogothic, Islamic, and Christian death imagery leading up to the colonization of Mesoamerica.

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2014

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Noaidi - the one who sees: bringing to light the religious experience among the 17th-18th century Sámi

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The ancient religious practices and beliefs of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, known as the Sámi, have been misrepresented and misinterpreted by well meaning ethnographers and researchers who view such practices and beliefs through an Descartes-Cartesian, objective-subjective lens. This

The ancient religious practices and beliefs of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, known as the Sámi, have been misrepresented and misinterpreted by well meaning ethnographers and researchers who view such practices and beliefs through an Descartes-Cartesian, objective-subjective lens. This thesis develops a more accurate, intersubjective paradigm that is used to illuminate more clearly the religious workings of the 17th-18th Century Sámi. Drawing upon the intersubjective theories presented by A. Irving Hallowell, Tim Ingold and Kenneth Morrison, ethnographic examples from the writings of early Lutheran missionaries and priests demonstrate that the Sámi lived in a world that can be best understood by the employ of the categories of Person (ontology), Power (epistemology) and Gift (axiology).

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2014