Reddes — Formal, Ritual Christian Visits to Prisoners

face of a prisoner

In eighteenth-century Toulouse, France, a tradition called the Reddes required magistrates to visit prisons on Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost and offer selected pre-trial detainees freedom with the understanding that the freed prisoners would appear before the court for trial. The Reddes, which seem to have been regularly performed, had a considerable element of public ritual. The Reddes “was understood as an essentially religious ritual that evoked the sacrificial compassion of Christ.”^ The formal, ceremonial nature of the Reddes made those visits to prisoners much different from ordinary Christian visits to prisoners documented from the second-century CE.

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