Relics and Remains by Alexandra Walsham
Edited by Alexandra Walsham, this wide-ranging collection of essays is the first to explore the relic as a religious and cultural phenomenon in a broad comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. It considers the ways in which human remains and material objects have become the focus of worship, celebrity, curiosity, and conflict in a range of eras and cultures stretching from antiquity to the twenty-first century, and from Western Europe to the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, the Indian subcontinent and China. The contributors assess when and why bodies and belongings are revered as sacred by the adherents of different faiths, alongside the dynastic, ideological and ethnic contests and rivalries they have served to stimulate in a range of past societies. They examine the politics and economics of the identification, creation and use of relics and remains and their significance and function in the spheres of memory, history, and heritage. Bringing together historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and scholars of religion, the volume seeks to stimulate further research on this neglected but intriguing theme.