At the Door of the Church: The Churching of Women in Pre-Reformation England


Project Summary:

“At the Door of the Church” recovers and examines the churching rite, and the customs associated with it, as it was practised in England from its origins in the eleventh century to 1552 when its rubrics were changed to reflect Protestant sensibilities.

Project Description:

Although the churching rite, and the customs associated with it, is the focus of At the Door of the Church, its scope is much broader. English parish life is viewed through the prism of this women’s rite. Intersecting in this rite are doctrinal developments regarding marriage, married sexuality and clerical celibacy; the shifting boundaries between clerical authority and lay initiative in local parishes; and the negotiation of gender roles. The interaction of these doctrinal developments, jurisdictional manoeuvring and gender negotiations is examined within a framework informed by contemporary ritual theory and studies in popular religion.

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Self-Funded

Project Role:
Author

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Canada

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