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AfterlivesThe Return of the Dead in the Middle Ages$
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Nancy Mandeville Caciola

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702617

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702617.001.0001

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Revenants, Resurrection, and Burnt Sacrifice

Revenants, Resurrection, and Burnt Sacrifice

(p.113) Chapter 3 Revenants, Resurrection, and Burnt Sacrifice

Nancy Mandeville Caciola

Cornell University Press

This chapter highlights eleventh century central Europe, a pagan Slavic region then being colonized by the Ottonian emperors of Germany. This was the frontier of Christendom at the time, and the historical context for the chapter is that of a mixed pagan and Christian society actively in the process of religious transition. The chapter seeks to highlight the active intermingling of cultures that was ongoing at this moment through a close analysis of local motifs about the returned dead. It outlines a trajectory along which ideas about the living dead are observed to migrate through dramatically changing cultural contexts. Despite the fact that certain elements do not fit in Christian theology, it shows that local pagan beliefs were included in Christian sources.

Keywords:   eleventh century, central Europe, paganism, Slavic, Ottonian dynasty, Germany, Christendom, religious transition, dead

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