(30 March 2015)
In my dissertation, I have explored the dynamic world of Christian pilgrims in the eastern Mediterranean using a combination of literary and epigraphic texts as well as archaeological evidence. A more detailed abstract of my dissertation can be found on my curriculum vitae as well as on my website. I approached the geographical distribution of pilgrimage destinations as part of a larger network of churches that was physically and conceptually linked by the infrastructure that facilitated travel, together conceived as the devotional landscape. By integrating spatial data drawn from saints’ lives, epigraphic evidence, architectural catalogues, and archaeological remains to visualize the devotional landscape into a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) environment, I have demonstrated that early Christian pilgrimage cannot be isolated from other forms of travel. Because pilgrims necessarily moved along the same routes that all other inhabitants of the late antique world also traveled, their movement was inextricably part of the more broadly conceived political, social, and productive landscape of the late antique world. At the same time, I argued for the consideration of pilgrimage along a continuum of overlapping scales – from the local to the interregional, considering the traveler’s origin as well as the destination’s attraction – in order that it be understood in its wider context of the vibrant multicultural world of late antiquity.