Prof. Molly Lester Guest Lecture

Prof. Molly Lester (USNA) will be visiting Histories of Music, Mind, and Body from August 3-7. As part of her stay, she will give a talk entitled "Music, the Senses, and Orthodox Religious Experience in Early Medieval Iberia;" abstract below.  

In this talk, I will investigate early medieval Iberian debates over Christian orthodoxy in the context of the performance of the mass, focusing in particular on the experience and form of liturgical music. Using treatises on the Christian liturgy and Old Hispanic liturgical manuscripts, I uncover clerical efforts to pin down precisely how liturgical music should be performed, both to ensure its efficacy and to monitor how Christians experienced their worship. In doing so, I also explore the relationship between religious orthodoxy and ancient and late antique theories of sense reception. Ultimately, I argue that early medieval clerics considered the manner of musical performance, as much as the content of liturgical chants, to be critical to how a Christian experienced and understood their faith.