In early Christianity, symbols were defined as sacraments, the notion of something physical being more than just a location, activity or thing. The use of physical elements to stimulate all five human senses became central to early Christian understanding as a way to connect with the sacred. In later Christianity, the interpretations of these symbols changed significantly, revising the manner in which Western Christendom related with the sacred. An historical review of subsequent sacramental interpretation reveals a fascinating insight to the gradual removal of the sacred by society and religion from physical elements. Sacramentality has experienced four major changes in its Christian history, with all four taking place during major changes in society. In this study, the changes in Christian interpretations are highlighted and then related to the parallel movements in secular society, putting forth the argument that societal influences have, at times, replaced purely theological or spirit-driven interpretations.
【授予单位】California State University, Long Beach.;
【学科】Religion, History of.;Sociology, Social Structure and Development.;Philosophy.;Religion, Philosophy of.