Public Lecture: “Pilgrim Toil: Emotional and Physical Labor and Claims to Sanctity.”

Lecture by Prof. Suzanne Yeager (Fordham University),  introduced by Prof. Jordan Zweck (University of Wisconsin-Madison) 

Thursday, March 24th from 1:00-2:30. (Via Zoom).

Past studies of pilgrim journeys take note of the extensive effort needed to journey to a shrine.  Some scholars measure it by expense (a year’s salary), others calculate the time invested, or distance traveled.  All scholars tend to agree that medieval pilgrimage must have been arduous without the modern amenities we enjoy in the present day.  But I would suggest that the position of pilgrim as laborer is much more complex than this, particularly as many travelers allude, in often surprising ways, to their roles in expending physical and emotional toil.  This talk will explore pilgrim work in the accounts of Egeria, Mandeville, Saewulf, Judah Halevi, and others.  These physical and emotional investments, it can be argued, increase the value of pilgrimage, especially when attached to premodern Christian travel to Jerusalem.