Hortulus Journal 12.1 (Autumn 2015)
In early Byzantium, Christians believed that the remains, or relics, of a saint could work miraculous deeds. Indeed, devout Christians would visit their local saints’ remains, often touching the relics, hoping that the holy bones would work a miraculous cure in them; the closer one was to a relic, the more likely one was of having a miracle happen. Some Christians, such as Egeria and the Bordeaux pilgrim, travelled on a holy journey, or pilgrimage, to Jerusalem to visit the shrines and sacred locations related to Jesus’ works and passion. Since Jesus Christ was the Word made flesh, some believed that his sites were more sacred than the saints’ shrines. This external and physical imitation of Jesus Christ took off quickly, as Constantine built the Church of the Holy Sepluchre and other shrines in Jerusalem, such as at Golgotha and the Mount of Olives. People praised these pilgrims’ piety, saying how great they were to walk physically in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. However, not every Church Father supported pilgrimages, which is what I am investigating in Gregory of Nyssa’s Epistula 2.
Gerald of Wales, one of the most well-known and prolific writers of Wales, has been a difficult writer to read for many critics. As a man of contradictions with his mixed origin and loyalties, his works have sprouted many contradicting theories and interpretations. There is one work, however, namely the Journey Through Wales that, together with what can be taken as its complement the Description of Wales, actually delineates quite clearly what Gerald’s thoughts and feelings were with regards to the peoples around him. Still not a desperate man who tried to obtain a bishopric through any means possible at the time of the Journey’s completion, in it we find a pure image of Gerald’s ideas when he still had high hopes for the future. In its unusual format of a travelogue, we find that Gerald actually was in favour of Welsh rebellion. Gerald was a man of reform; he saw a lot of things that he did not like and he worked hard to try to change them. Gerald linked the wishes he had for Wales with his wishes for ecclesiastic and monastic reform; he argued in his Journey that the Welsh could regain their land if they returned to the proper performance of the Christian religion. In establishing his utopian worldview, Gerald made use of the genre of pilgrimage narrative in order to be able to convey his true feelings in a clear, but subtle way.
High-profile digital humanist and medievalist Dorothy Kim responds to questions posed by Hortulus readers about subjects including conducting digital humanities research, how to start a project, what to do if you don’t have the technical skills for a digital project, how to ensure sustainability of a digital project, cultivating an online presence, funding digital humanities scvholarship, and battling academic views of digital humanities and medieval studies as being incompatible.