This year’s Kavanagh Lecture will be given by Professor Harald Buchinger, Chair of Liturgical Studies at Regensburg University in Germany. Deposition rites, that is, ritual entombments of symbols of Christ’s dead body on Good Friday, have long been an emotional climax of Holy Week. As dramatic rituals and multi-medial representations of biblical history, they gave rise to innovative artistic, poetic and musical genres and exerted cultural influence far beyond liturgy. While deposition rites have been abandoned in the early modern reformation or recent reform in most Western churches, the Epitaphios procession is still one of the most popular services in Byzantine Christianity. The lecture will investigate the history and meaning of these prominent elements of Christian liturgy. Historically, it will be argued that the ritual may have spread from West to East and therefore against the widely assumed general trend of liturgical influence; hermeneutically, the character of mimetic rituals and their mediality will be discussed, not least in view of their theological and spiritual bearing.
Harald Buchinger is professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Regensburg in Bavaria. Having obtained a diploma in church music, he studied theology in Vienna and Jerusalem (Mag. theol., Dr. theol., Vienna University), and spent three years in Rome engaged in post-doctoral studies and research. Having lectured at various universities, notably in Jerusalem and Leuven, he was an ISM fellow in music, worship, and the arts and visiting professor of Liturgical Studies at Yale University from 2012–13. His research focuses on the reception of the Bible in liturgy, including chant, on the relationship between christian and jewish liturgy, and on the development of the liturgical year.
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