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2451Re: [Paternosters] Paternosters and Books

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  • Chris Laning
    Oct 31, 2013
      On Oct 31, 2013, at 6:06 AM, <melanie@...> <melanie@...> wrote:

      > Something that came up in a conversation this week which I wondered if anyone here had thoughts on...
      > Are there many illustrations which shows Paternoster beads AND Books in close proximity? I've found three fairly fast:
      > Magdalene Reading
      > Ghirlandaio's St Jerome in his Study
      > And this one here, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/58969076343495830/,, which I'm going to have to track down again :)
      > The thought is to do with paternosters and literacy - i.e. some seem to be suggesting that paternosters were for the illiterate, but that doesn't tally with me, so I was looking for possible contradictory evidence... :)

      Some confusion probably arose because lay brothers in monasteries -- who tended to be from lower social classes and less educated, possibly illiterate -- said a set number of Our Fathers every day instead of participating in the regular psalms, prayers, and readings used by the "choir monks," who tended to be better educated and used books for their daily prayers. This is one possible contributor to the popularity of the rosary among lay people, but the fad for praying the rosary seems to have covered a very wide spectrum of society.

      Two pieces of evidence: one is the popularity of expensive, showy rosaries among the wealthy and royalty -- easily documented. The other is the rapid production and popularity of rosary manuals within ten years of the beginning of widespread rosary use. These contained a wealth of pious stories about people who prayed the rosary and were forgiven sins, saved from illness or injury, or converted from indifference to religious fervor.

      A couple more rosary + book illustrations here:

      O Chris Laning <claning@...> - Davis, California
      + http://paternoster-row.org - http://www.ravelry.com/stores/medievalknitting
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