09 Apr

John S. Strong, “Relics” in The Encyclopedia of Religion (1986)

John S. Strong defines relics as “the venerated remains of venerable persons” (275). Relics may be bones, ashes, and bodies of saints, martyrs, founders of religious traditions and holy people. Relics may also be objects that these people once owned or with which they had physical contact. Both types of relics work via “contagious magic” in that a part represents the whole. For example, bones, hair or a tooth make the entire person present. Strong suggests that Protestants condemned and destroyed relics during the Reformation. No other attention is given to Protestant relics.

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