Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Scenting SalvationAncient Christianity and the Olfactory Imagination$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Susan Ashbrook Harvey

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241473

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241473.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use (for details see http://california.universitypressscholarship.com/page/535/privacy-policy-and-legal-notice).date: 20 July 2018



(p.1) Introduction
Scenting Salvation

Susan Ashbrook Harvey

University of California Press

Christianity began in a world where smells mattered. They mattered for what they did and what they meant. Smells affected what or whom they touched, rendering them attractive, repulsive, soothing, or dangerous. They revealed things about the object, person, or place from which they drifted. Smells mattered because they were invisible, they were transitory, they were mobile, they lingered, and because of their potency to change substance, experience or meaning. Ancient Christians shared in wide traditions regarding olfactory sensibilities, indications, and practices. Furthermore, there was general agreement across Mediterranean people as to what constituted good and bad smells, enabling the proliferation of olfactory practices that displayed and expressed these associations as cultural codes. These codes were not based on symbolism as a disembodied language, but on the concrete view that smells participated in effecting the processes they represented.

Keywords:   Christianity, smells, Mediterranean, symbolism, cultural codes

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.