A sin-eater was a ‘long, leane, ugly, lamentable poor raskal’ (Aubrey, 1687) who, by eating a special ritual meal, consumed a dead person’s sins and helped them enter heaven.
In this talk Dr Helen Frisby surveys the evidence for this fascinating old funerary character and their mysterious rituals in service of the souls of the deceased. As it turns out, things aren’t quite what they might first seem – but Helen will suggest that it’s the sin-eater’s very elusiveness within the historical record which has enabled them to rise again in present-day film, TV and literature.
Dr Helen Frisby is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Death & Society, University of Bath, where she researches funeral customs past and present and what these can teach us about relating to the dead and coping with loss. Helen is Secretary of the Association for the Study of Death and Society, a Council Member of the Folklore Society and author of the Shire book Traditions of Death and Burial.
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This talk will be held on Zoom. Once you have registered, a link to the event will be emailed to you, and a reminder link will also be sent 24 hours before. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any issues. Please note: this talk in 6.30 UK time.