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Zoutleeuw's Church of Saint Leonard and Religious Material Culture in the Low Countries (c. 1450-1620)
The Matter of Piety provides the first in-depth study of Zoutleeuw’s exceptionally well-preserved pilgrimage church in a comparative perspective, and revaluates religious art and material culture in Netherlandish piety from the late Middle Ages through the crisis of iconoclasm and the Reformation to Catholic restoration. Analyzing the changing functions, outlooks, and meanings of devotional objects – monumental sacrament houses, cult statues and altarpieces, and small votive offerings or relics – Ruben Suykerbuyk revises dominant narratives about Catholic culture and patronage in the Low Countries. Rather than being a paralyzing force, the Reformation incited engaged counterinitiatives, and the vitality of late medieval devotion served as the fertile ground from which the Counter-Reformation organically grew under Protestant impulses.
This collection of essays explores the complex relations between Christians and Muslims at the dawn of the modern age. It begins by examining two seminal works by Nicholas of Cusa: De pace fidei, a dialogue seeking peace among world religions written after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, and Cribratio Alkorani (1460-61), an attempt to confirm Gospel truths through a critical reading of the Qur’an. After considering Nicholas, his sources, and his context, the book explores a wider range of late medieval texts on Christian-Muslim relations—not only Christian writings about Islam but also Muslim responses to Christianity. The book’s focus is historical, but it can also contribute to efforts at increasing Muslim-Christian understanding today.