The Scales of Orthodoxy: Music, Sacraments, and the Mass in Seventh-Century Iberia
Molly Lester studies late antique and early medieval Europe, with a focus on the history of Christianity. Lester is interested in debates about religious orthodoxy, Christian interpretations of the relationship between religious practice and belief, and early medieval compilation and implementation of canon law. Her dissertation, The Word as Lived: The Practice of Orthodoxy in Visigothic Iberia, 540-700, traces attempts to define and actualize Christian orthodoxy throughout the shifting religious landscape of sixth- and seventh-century Visigothic Iberia. Using diverse sources such as church councils, theological and pastoral texts, and liturgy, she explores Visigothic Christian anxieties about worship and moral living, first in the face of rival “heretical” groups and later in debates over divergent practice within the “orthodox” community. Emphasizing that practice was regarded as a dynamic part of being a religious individual, she considers how people attempted to use religious practice to organize and govern their communities according to their ideas of religious orthodoxy.