Between scripture and performance: Cohesion and dissent at the Feast of Mary's Dormition in Jerusalem

Nurit Stadler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In contrast to popular Marian rites throughout the world, the Jerusalem Dormition Feast is held on a canonical route that includes the purported sites of some of the key moments in the Virgin's life. The festival boasts an ancient liturgical order consisting of utterances and customs that are assiduously preserved by Jerusalem's Greek-Orthodox Church. Drawing on Engelke's distinction (2007) between scriptural authority and religious performance and numerous scholarly analyses of cohesion and dissent at assorted Marian shrines (e.g., Eade and Sallnow [1991]), this article explores the reactions to the local ceremonial on the part of various participants. While the clergy strives to impose its particular reading of the Scriptures on all the attendees, the different lay groups insist on performing rituals that give expression to their own knowledge of the canon and their own understanding of the Virgin's nature. All told, their reactions range from rigid obedience to creative practices and heated dissent. The event ultimately splinters off into several factions and the host's orderly script is compromised.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)645-664
Number of pages20
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Greek Orthodoxy
  • Jerusalem pilgrimage
  • Scripture and performance
  • anthropology of religion
  • canonical rites
  • scriptural sites
  • worship of Mary


Dive into the research topics of 'Between scripture and performance: Cohesion and dissent at the Feast of Mary's Dormition in Jerusalem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this