Kamerick, Kathleen 1953–
Kamerick, Kathleen 1953–
Born August 12, 1953, in Joliet, IL; daughter of John (a university administrator) and Elaine (a homemaker) Kamerick; married John Reburn (a professor), July 5, 1986. Education: University of Iowa, Ph.D., 1991. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Human rights, animal welfare, sustainable agriculture.
University of Iowa, Iowa City, lecturer, 1992—.
Center for the Book at the University of Iowa (member of advisory board).
Author of articles for the journals Manuscripta and Mystics Quarterly.
In Popular Piety and Art in the Later Middle Ages: Image Worship and Idolatry in England, 1350-1500, author Kathleen Kamerick discusses how common people were influenced by the religious images in their churches, prayer books, and buildings. These images, she maintains, influenced people's veneration and helped define their relationship with the church and their role within it. Of particular interest to Kamerick are the Lollards, who believed that icons were idolatrous and violated the First Commandment. Many other prominent church leaders, such as John Capgrave, warned that religious icons could lead to the same dangers as paganism. Another chapter of the book uses data from wills in East Anglia to show trends of how individuals bequeathed their religious images to others. Women especially were fond of depictions of the Virgin Mary and other female saints and often bequeathed money in their honor.
Communal fellowship revolved around specific images and took place in designated public spaces. Some images were believed to be miraculous and became important monuments for a given town in terms of attracting pilgrims or becoming the basis for a cult. Kamerick takes pains to show that illustrations were more than simply "words for the illiterate," as scholarly conventional wisdom has often held. Rather, religious depictions (particularly gruesome visions of the crucifixion) served to jump-start a deeply philosophical process of reflection.
Kamerick discusses the influence of religious images—particularly the crucifix—in the lives to two women who left extensive writings—the mystic Julian of Norwich and autobiographer and pilgrim Margery Kempe. Both women meditated on religious images and found their faith deepened by them. Yet by 1500, widespread iconoclasm—the destruction of religious icons by those who wished to reform religion—began to unravel the widespread effect of religious imagery in England as it had been practiced for over a century as the Reformation loomed. The "book is of real interest and use," wrote John C. Hirsh in Medium Aevum, "and will no doubt contribute to a growth of interest in the issues it addresses." Though Gervase Rosser, writing in Albion, lamented the book's lack of illustrations, Maidie Hilmo of the Catholic Historical Review concluded that the "book is indispensable for scholars of late medieval culture and for those seeking to understand this period of religious transition in England."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albion, winter, 2004, Gervase Rosser, review of Popular Piety and Art in the Later Middle Ages: Image Worship and Idolatry in England, 1350-1500, p. 628.
American Historical Review, October, 2004, Miri Rubin, review of Popular Piety and Art in the Later Middle Ages, pp. 1298-1299.
Catholic Historical Review, January, 2007, Maidie Hilmo, review of Popular Piety and Art in the Later Middle Ages, p. 153.
English Historical Review, June, 2003, Margaret Aston, review of Popular Piety and Art in the Later Middle Ages, p. 773.
Historian, fall, 2004, Robert C. Figueira, Popular Piety and Art in the Later Middle Ages, p. 626.
History Today, November, 2002, review of Popular Piety and Art in the Later Middle Ages, p. 66.
Journal of Religious History, June, 2005, review of Popular Piety and Art in the Later Middle Ages.
Medium Aevum, fall, 2003, John C. Hirsh, review of Popular Piety and Art in the Later Middle Ages, p. 324.
Reference & Research Book News, November, 2002, review of Popular Poetry and Art in the Later Middle Ages, p. 15.