Aden Kumler (University of Chicago): "The Price of Redemption, ca. 845"

February 2, 2017
Friday, February 10, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
18th Avenue Library, Room 090
Aden Kumler Publicity Photo

Abstract: In the Middle Ages, as today, the concept of "price" played a central role in practices of commensuration and exchange. Grounded in worldly economics, notions of price, commerce, and profit also shaped medieval soteriological thought and practice. Focusing on a series of works associated directly or obliquely with the Carolingian ruler, Charles the Bald, this paper examines the trope of the “price of salvation” in the mid-ninth century. Without ignoring textual sources, the talk will focus primarily upon how Carolingian material works and practices framed access to salvation as a mode (or modes) of economic participation, with particular emphasis on how the form of the coin was taken up in the mid-ninth century as a means of grappling with and expressing the incommensurable value of spiritual redemption.

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