Reflection on the (Sanctoral) Calendar

Early in the course I appealed to Christian worship practices as the Church's favored forms of historical remembrance. You have also become exposed to the "sanctoral," or calendar of saints, as one Christian practice of history. Biographies of saints, or "hagiographies," are by no means the only such ways of practicing Christian history, but they have a cherished place in the Christian tradition. This is true among Protestants (who compiled the biographies in Galli and Olsen) as well as among Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. Remembering the Christian past through the stories of saints is very different from both Moynahan's and McKim's ways of remembering the Christian past. This assignment is meant to expose you to it in greater depth and to help you take it seriously as a form of history.

1. Explore these on-line introductions to the Christian calendar:

2. Then choose an actual calendar and get a feel for it:

3. Optionally, the curious can find resources in greater depth for Anglicans at (follow the links on that page)
(follow the links)

or for Lutherans at

and many Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox sites feature material on their versions of the sanctoral. Feel free to find and use one for this assignment.

Now answer all of the following questions:

What is your Christian calendar's vision of Church history? What is the significance (positive and/or negative) of its highlights, its concentrations, its omissions? Compared to Moynahan's and McKim's accounts, how adequate is the Christian calendar as a recitation of the history of the Church? Choose at least one set of course readings and lectures (that is, the readings that go along with one lecture topic) to illustrate and prove your points.

Please keep your paper three pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers. As always, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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