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The Making of the Medieval Middle East$
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Jack Tannous

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179094

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179094.001.0001

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Power in Heaven and on Earth

Power in Heaven and on Earth

Chapter:
(p.134) Chapter 5 Power in Heaven and on Earth
Source:
The Making of the Medieval Middle East
Author(s):

Jack Tannous

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691179094.003.0006

This chapter looks at the most powerful tool for community formation that Christian leaders had at their disposal: the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. The sacraments united the simple and the learned alike. In the world of simple believers, the Eucharist was much more than a mystery one took at church, and baptism was much more than a rite of Christian initiation. Seeing the enormous power ascribed to these things and others provides a better understanding of why they could help produce the sort of confessional indifference among the simple that so exercised church leaders like Jacob of Edessa. Moreover, considering the extra-ecclesial life of the sacraments will help illustrate why controlling them might prove fundamental to forming a communal vessel that did not have leaks and why controlling them was ultimately more powerful than any dialectical argument.

Keywords:   community formation, Christian leaders, sacraments, Eucharist, simple believers, Christians, confessional indifference

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