Contemporary issues facing the western religious traditions

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Contemporary issues facing the western religious traditions

Critical issues in religious education

Medieval theatre Popular traditions and secular theatre During the Middle Agestheatre began a new cycle of development that paralleled the emergence of the theatre from ritual activity in the early Greek period. Whereas the Greek theatre had grown out of Dionysian worship, the medieval theatre originated as an expression of the Christian religion.

The two cycles would eventually merge during the Renaissance. Between the Classical and early Renaissance periods, theatre was kept alive by the slenderest of threads—the popular entertainers who had dispersed to wander, alone or in small groups, throughout Europe.

These were the mimes, acrobats, dancers, animal trainers, jugglers, wrestlers, minstrels, and storytellers who preserved vital skills that survive in the theatre today. They also brought a duality to theatre that still exists: The written texts that they developed for performance were, especially in France, literate and often sharply satirical.

A further, though minor, influence on the development of theatre was the folk play. This dramatic form had two main sources. The Morris dance probably Moorish in origin; from Spanish moriscofamed in England but also performed in medieval continental Europe, was strongly mimetic and had dramatic elements in its use of the fool or clown character.

It can also be linked with ancient trance dances in its occasional use of the hobbyhorse. The various forms of sword dance found in Europe are another example.

Both ritual and mimetic dance came together in the mumming plays that emerged during the late Middle Ages. The essential elements were some kind of fight in which one of the combatants was killed and then revived by a healer or doctor. This pattern also reflects the cycle of death and rebirth, which suggests that the origin of the plays may be much older.

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Later versions of the mumming plays used the figure of St. George fighting a dragon, and they employed more dialogue to balance the action. Medieval TheatreThe video Medieval Theater: This video was produced in by The Movie Show Co. When Christianity spread through Europe, clerics had great difficulty discouraging the wealth of local folk traditions that flourished in rural communities.

Contemporary issues facing the western religious traditions

Eventually, the reforming bishops decided that it was better to regulate than to prohibit them, so the church began incorporating pagan festivals into its own liturgical calendar and remythologizing local rituals.

The spring cycle of festivities centring on fertility rituals and the rebirth of summer was adapted to the Christian version of death and resurrection, while Christmas absorbed celebrations around the winter solstice such as the Saturnalia and the Yule Fest, the Teutonic New Year celebration.

Christian churches were built on the sites of pagan temples, and folk plays were even organized as part of the village church activities.

Typical of this tolerance was the Feast of Foolsfirst recorded in France at the end of the 12th century, in which the lower clergy took over the church building, wearing grotesque masks, dressing as women or minstrels, electing a mock bishop, censing with stinking smoke by burning the soles of old shoesand generally burlesquing the mass.

Most of these centred on a mock king, or Lord of Misrulewho guided the follies. Folk theatre was not a literary genre; its prime concern was to fulfill a communal function in the village. However, its significance in the development of theatre was that, being a style with which everyone was familiar, it could provide a rich stimulus for the more serious theatre that supplanted it.

Many farcical scenes from folk dramas were included as interludes in the later religious plays, making them more vigorous and balancing didacticism with entertainment. Divorced from their validating mythology by the domination of Christian mythsthe pagan celebrations soon began to lose their primary function, and eventually their true meaning was forgotten.

Liturgical drama The tradition of medieval liturgical drama stems directly from the mass itself, a complex ritual containing many theatrical elements in its function as a visible reflection of the invisible world.

Because it was believed that harmony expressed religious values, an attempt was made from the 9th century to increase the musical effectiveness of the plainsong of the church.

Antiphonal singingin which the choir was divided into two parts, was developed. From this came the tropea musical addition or embellishment to certain parts of the liturgy, as, for example, to the final syllable of the Alleluia.

It was in the trope of the Easter mass, recorded in a 10th-century manuscript from the Monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland, that the union of action, impersonation, and dialogue originated. In later versions the angel was represented by the priest in white robes and the Marys by three choirboys.Listen to Religious Music here on TuneIn!

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Whereas the Greek theatre had grown out of Dionysian worship, the medieval theatre originated as an expression of the Christian religion. The two cycles .

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