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prof. dr. G.A.M. Rouwhorst

Full Professor 

Tilburg School of Catholic Theology
Department of Biblical Sciences and Church History





Rituals are not immutable. Neither are they being created out of nothing. They are continuously developing on the basis of already existing ritual traditions that are continuously appropriated, reinterpreted and adapted by developing communities in changing historical contexts. Although rituals mostly fulfil stabilising functions in societies and are establishing and consolidating their identities, this does not imply that rituals are purely static.This also holds true for the liturgical traditions of Christianity. Their dynamic character was particularly apparent in the period when Christianity came into existence and, within the broader context of Roman-Hellenistic society, developed from a movement within Judaism into a religion of its own. Moreover, the dynamic character of Christian liturgical traditions becomes very clearly visible at important turning points in the history of Christianity: in the fourth century when Christianity becomes a public religion; during the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages; in the twelfth century when the relationship between liturgy, piety and theology is significantly changing; in the period of the ?two Reformations?(sixteenth century) and in the second half of the twentieth century (Second Vatican Council and its aftermath).My research projects are centred on the changes Christian liturgical traditions underwent in these crucial periods of change. The main focus is on the origins of Christian liturgical traditions, more specifically on the complicated relationship between the ritual traditions of early Christianity and those of early and Rabbinic Judaism.


Most recent publications

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Last amended: 19 December 2013