The Stations of the Cross

The Placelessness of Medieval Christian Piety

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Sarah Lenzi
Studia Traditionis Theologiae
  • Turnhout, Belgium: 
    Brepols Publishers
    , July
     242 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Laura Katrine Skinnebach forthcoming.


The Christian practice of the Stations of the Cross has historically largely been the purview of devotional authors. In this academic study, the Reverend Doctor Sarah Lenzi revisits the evidence-based history of the western European development of the Stations as it was laid out at the turn of the twentieth century. She begins with a discussion of how this history is often neglected in favor of a mythic history that places the development in Jerusalem at the time of the Crusades and she then reestablishes the western origins. While the early twentieth-century authors who worked on the Stations are invaluable for the history they uncovered, there were gaps in the analyses they offered based on that history. In the chapters that follow, Rev. Dr. Lenzi works to debunk those interpretations and to offer a new understanding of the development of the Stations of the Cross. A close examination of pilgrimage texts as well as medieval meditation manuals puts this particular practice in the broader context of Medieval Christian history and ritual, and works to place it appropriately on the spectrum of pietistic behavior. With a new understanding of the development of the Stations of the Cross, Rev. Dr. Lenzi helps to explore notions of time, place, and space in Medieval Christianity, arguing for an understanding of placelessness in Christian piety that is enabled through intentional ritualized use of imagination, narrative, body, and word.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

The Rev. Dr. Sarah Lenzi received her Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and her Doctorate in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently serving as minister to a Unitarian Universalist Congregation in New York.

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