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Press Releases

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sebastian Speaks on 'Host Desecration in the 15th and 21st Centuries' Thursday, November 18

SALISBURY, MD---Dr. John T. Sebastian of Loyola University-New Orleans speaks on “Going Viral: Faith, Reason and Host Desecration in the 15th and 21st Centuries” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 18, in Teacher Education and Technology Center Room 153 at Salisbury University.

Sebastian examines the use of host desecration—the mistreatment of the sacred bread used in Mass—in the medieval Croxton Play of the Sacrament and in viral videos on YouTube, each being a major medium of socio-theological protest in its respective era.

The 15th-century drama served as a means to shore up orthodox belief concerning the doctrine of transubstantiation (as well as to vilify Jews). YouTube served as the site of protest first against state funding of religious groups on a public Florida campus and later, more generally, as scientism’s protest against the anti-rationalism of the faithful regarding transubstantiation.

Sebastian’s talk considers the dynamics of the faith-reason binary in each of these cases, the consecrated host as a symbol of or lightening rod for protest, the visual rhetoric of spectacle and the religious consequences of such public forms of discourse.

Admission is free and the public is invited. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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