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Emotion and Devotion

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Miri Rubin

Chapter 2. Mary, and Others

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  • 1 Natalie Z. Davis, “The Rites of Violence,” in Society and Culture in Early Modern France: Eight Es (...)

1In her article “The rites of violence” Natalie Davis taught many important lessons.1 One of the most influential was the link she demonstrated and explored between violence and the making of identity. In the course of violent encounters between Catholics and Protestants in sixteenth-century France people acted as bearers and protectors of religious symbols. They were actors in street dramas, and they expressed their identities through the enactment of violence that was patterned and encoded, as rituals are. Inasmuch as people imagined themselves not only as adherents, but as champions and defenders of a pattern of life which included relations with the sacred, they also possessed a sense of the very practice or person which seemed to mock or threaten them. Scholarship on the Middle Ages has been much energized by this insight, combined with the anthropological approach that has taught us to analyze the deep structures and patterns, indeed, the ritual aspect of violence in thoughts and deeds. Identity was expressed and reinforced—and could also be called into question—in the course of participation in violent action.

  • 2 Miri Rubin, “Identities,” in A Social History of England, 1200–1500, ed. Rosemary Horrox and Mark (...)

2Identity is a subject with which all historians must grapple.2 Practitioners of women’s history and the history of gender have made formative contributions to thinking historically about identity, as have post-colonial theorists, and literary scholars, often informed by psychoanalysis. All these approaches share the sense of identity as being not a “natural” attribute determined by biology or even by an overriding social condition, such as class or gender. Most historians would agree that identity is the product of nurture and experience, and that it displays some of the learned traits of local cultures. Yet historians and scholars of literature are also aware of the unexpected and the creative elements which identities can display. Moreover, identity can change over a lifetime, and is marked by the accumulation of affinities. It is never static.

3Mary was central to the identification and lives of medieval people in many different ways. There was the monk whose life of liturgical action and inner struggle found solace and inspiration in the Virgin Mary. There were nuns whose devotions were parti­cularly attached to Mary as Christ’s bride, and as Virgin, and other nuns who favored the fantasy of motherhood through immersion in Mary’s own. There were dynasts who saw in Mary exalted royalty, and the promise of dynastic fecundity and health; and there was neighborhood Mary, at street-corners and in parish churches. This loving mother reminded people of the code of Christian life to which they must adhere and in which they so often failed. So much of the Christian story was told through the life of Mary that she became the quintessential symbol of Christian life: this meant that her enemies were those of every Christian.

4Thinking about Mary and identity suggests to me at least three modes by which the making of identity operates. We may describe these as agonistic, specular, and related to trauma.

  • The agonistic involves the emergence of identity through struggle, antagonism with a clearly identified and constructed persona.
  • The specular involves a relationship of mirroring, sometimes inversion, and is characterized by the use of binary language, often in a polemical situation.
  • Trauma and separation characterize identity prompted by return to a single event, place or person, associated with loss, pain or separation. The incursion into a life of a charismatic influence also renders the world different forever.

5If identity is something that shifts and changes, which displays itself differently in changing environments, then some mental images may help us to imagine that diversity: clusters and layers.

***

  • 3 R. I. Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe 950– (...)

6Having considered the shapes of identity let us move on to ways in which historians have attempted to explain the emergence of collective orientations in medieval Europe, something akin to identity. The year 1000 has often been used as a watershed; in the eleventh and twelfth centuries economic and political trends favored the formation of a more integrated Europe, and within that world more attention was paid to the formulation of the habits, rituals and symbols of a European societas christiana. This also meant that categories such as “Jew,” “heretic,” and “beguine” were each now explored not as natural categories, but as discursive creations, the product of reflections and actions that are full of purpose and intent. Most famously, in his Formation of a Persecuting Society, R. I. Moore associated the construction of the category of “heresy,” within a legal framework that identified, persecuted and punished heretics, with the efforts at state-formation that characterized the Church and several kingdoms—England and France, Denmark, Poland and Hungary—in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.3 These institutions attempted to define increasingly clearly, and to enforce the rules of what a Christian should believe and how Christians should live. As they did so the beliefs and practices of those who did not conform became more sharply defined and visible: those who chose not to adhere, “heretics”; and those whose beliefs and practices placed them outside the circle of Christian life, Jews and Muslims.

7While this historic project depended on the action of positive identification, through beliefs captured and enacted in rituals, identity was also formed through shared fears and anxieties. Zones of purity and pollution, of comfort and of danger, were delineated within European places, physical as well as mental. Complex configurations of space, word and sound were created as representations and performances of the central Christian tenets: Incarnation and Redemption, intercession through the Virgin Mary, collective membership in the Church. Cathedrals in cities did this most effectively and impressively, but each parish church was a version of the integrated vision, which Christians were taught to imagine. There were sacraments as channels of grace, priests as ritual actors, liturgical action as an occasion for re-enactment of sacred history, and prayer as a cry for hope and consolation.

  • 4 For a summary of the sermon and its moral message see Stephen Murray, A Gothic Sermon: Making a Co (...)

8This holistic vision is made vivid in a sermon— though it may never have been delivered—by an unknown yet highly impressive preacher, for an audience at Amiens cathedral some time in 1269. The Cathedral’s west façade, with its three portals, echoes the sermon in proclaiming the possibilities offered to humanity: the blend of good works, ecclesiastical provision, and the loving intercession of the Virgin Mary. (Figure 1.) The preacher wrote his sermon in French; he deployed none of the conventional rhetorical structures which characterized learned sermons of his day. His was a more discursive, less formal, yet highly appealing style, which balanced effectively the sense of sin and the hope for salvation.4

Amiens Cathedral, West façade, 1260s

9The west façade and the sermon combine well into a world view and a way of life. Both integrate idea and matter, are at once universal and very local. The cathedral was still being built when the sermon was written, and had it been delivered it would have been in a church as yet incomplete. At the heart of Amiens, a center of commerce and administration, the preacher did not shy from mentioning the fundamental reckoning, the “accounting” that bound believers and their church:

  • 5 “Ce n’est pas corvée qu’il feront à la douce mere diu sainte Marie; or prenés garde entre vous, se (...)

What they do for the sweet Mother of God, Saint Mary, will not go unrewarded. Now, take a good look at yourselves, at whether you have observed the feast days prescribed for the past year.
May God help me! I think there is much to amend.
Afterwards you will have won something worth even more, for by simply coming to church from home, they accrue forty days of true pardon, without giving a penny or half-penny, and forty days true pardon for meeting the needs of the [church of the] sweet Mother of God, Saint Mary, that she [or it] be fulfilled [or completed].5

10The preacher is practical in his guidance to the audience, as he spells out the meaning of human transgression within the sacred economy. From discussing lust he moves to the penalties for abusing the marriage vows:

  • 6 “Car sachiés vraiement quiconques depieche ne deront mariage il deront et depiece la bele char nos (...)

For you should know that whoever destroys and breaks up marriage tears up and destroys the good flesh of our Lord; he denies the holy sacra-ment; he violates the holy scripture and the holy words of our Lord. 6

  • 7 Ibid, pp. 114–15. For an insight into the life of Amiens cathedral canons see Page, The Owl and th (...)

11In the cathedral dedicated to Mary—that most universal of saints—there was none the less a strong awareness of locality, and the preacher enhanced it with detail. The lives of Christians in Amiens diocese were served by 777 priests; it was home to twenty-six abbeys headed by twenty-six abbots. All these were hard at work, celebrating masses, doing good works, providing charity and relief.7 The diocese was a sort of machine, with many cogs of differentiated action, which together produced the incessant functioning of a Christian society. There is an earthiness, a reassuring familiarity in the words and the matter, and no doubt the music and sound which were produced in Amiens Cathedral for thousands to hear and see on feast days. This was a celebration of the modular formula which marked European religious cultures: a universal system for the dispensation of grace, the sacraments, mediated by the clergy—inspired and sometimes supported by other religious, especially friars. All this was experienced through local articulations: language, music, building stone, organization of space, local saints, even local versions of Mary. Here was a formula of great potency and malleability, and the man who wrote the sermon for Amiens was fully aware of its potential. One can imagine such preaching on occasion in all European cities and towns, at courts, and at pilgrimage shrines. These were not routine events, but they marked the incursion of charisma—the preacher’s unique gift—into the lives of its audience; they provided a vivid image of a Christian world and the believer’s place within it.

***

  • 8 Amiens was, in fact, one of the few northern French towns which excluded Jewish migration from the (...)

12How might we imagine the presence of non-Christians in cities so strongly, indelibly and copiously marked by Christian images, time and sounds?8

  • 9 A unique and luxurious artifact which exemplifies this vision is the Bible moralisée, studied in S (...)

13Jews were central to the telling of the core narratives of Christianity. They were present as actors in biblical tale, in miracles stories, and in accounts of more recent enormities: ritual murder, blasphemy, host desecration, abuse of images. The cultural process which made Christianity so vivid, accessible and relevant to people’s lives, also made the Jew increasingly present and active. For the devotional world that respected Mary and approached the Passion through Mary’s eyes, also placed emphasis on the role of the Jews: their agency, their guilt.9

  • 10 Odo of Tournai, On Original Sin; and, A Disputation with the Jew, Leo, concerning the Advent of Ch (...)

14The thirteenth century saw the movement into the vernacular and the diversification of genres used for the discussion and dissemination of religious matter. It had been preceded by almost two centuries of scholastic debate in schools and universities, where Christian theology and law were codified and discussed in scholastic method. Those who considered and expressed the central tenets in summae and specialized tracts, also turned on occasion to polemic as a method of intellectual debate. Anselm of Canterbury, for example, provided some of the most compelling arguments for the Incarnation and Mary’s role in it; he also wrote an imagined debate with a Jew. Odo of Tournai, Bishop of Cambrai (d. 1113), similarly wrote around 1100 a tract on Original Sin and the necessity of the Incarnation, as well as a debate with a Jew, Leo.10 Theological argument was mixed with invective, as in the following section, about Mary’s purity, rejected and derided by the imagined Jews:

  • 11 Ibid, pp. 79–80.

Odo: …Gabriel said that she is “full of grace.” Therefore her sex was filled with glory, her womb was filled with glory, her organs were filled with glory, the whole of her was filled with glory….Where is that which you call the uncleanliness of woman, the obscene prison, the fetid womb? Confess you wretch your stupidity…11

  • 12 On this period and its writings see Anna Sapir Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Centur (...)

15Many writers active in the Anglo-French realm contributed to the genre adversus iudaeos: Anselm of Canterbury, Gilbert Crispin, Guibert of Nogent, Odo of Tournai, and more.12 These writings arose from the milieu of monastic liturgy and biblical exegesis, it was bound up with the oppositional tropes of ecclesia/ synagoga, vetus/novus and with the polemical affirmation of the truth of the Incarnation and the appropriation of the Bible as a collection of Christian proof-texts. Within the liturgy and its interpretation, in the drama enacted in cathedrals and monasteries, in the art of illumination, on objects that decorated altars, and on stone façades triumphant ecclesia emerged with power and promise.

  • 13 Jonathan Elukin, Living Together, Living Apart, Princeton (NJ), 2007.
  • 14 See, for example, the making of the myth of ritual murder by a monk of Norwich Cathedral Priory in (...)

16These preoccupations touched the lives of those few involved in the interpretations of the biblical stories— monks, and those who parsed the biblical texts—scholars. Only rarely, though spectacularly, did charisma energize public massacres against Jews, where law failed to protect them, as the servants of kings, emperors and lords. The crusade massacres of 1096 and 1145, the narrative invention of ritual murder which took place in Norwich in the 1150s, were each a unique testing of routines which for the most part kept the peace, the peculiar life routines of Jewish residents in European towns and cities, a people unto themselves in so many ways.13 The monastic chroniclers who describe the events from the Christian point of view are often shockingly poisonous.14 We have little access to the points of view of the people among whom Jews lived, nothing to set alongside the monastic accounts.

17By the thirteenth century a great deal had happened to move the center of cultural production into the vernacular. Whole cohorts of writers, preachers, artists and poets now filled the ranks of the professional mediators in towns and cities, in courts and in villages too. Monks were early translators, like the French Benedictine monk and abbot, Gautier de Coinci (1177– 1236), who not only composed words and music in praise of Mary, but also translated tales of her miracles from Latin to French. In a world which was becoming ever fuller of knowledge of Mary and even more familiar with representations of her, he chose to expound Mary-lore while dwelling on the ever-present danger posed to her by the Jews. Gautier’s praise of Mary is clear and confident:

Fresh and bright rose,
full of the Holy Spirit,
you will be daughter and mother
to the sovereign son of God.
Your substance was so very
orderly, pure and harmonious
that in you your father took
human form and flesh.

  • 15 Rose fresche et clere
    Dou Saint Espir plainne,
    Tu iez fille et mere
    Au fil Dieu demaine.
    Tant fu ta ma (...)

Lady, who is so holy
and who was so chosen
who was made great with child
by the Holy Spirit,
listen to my petition
and turn yourself towards me.15

18In these decades during which Mary became a common feature of most parish churches, of cathedral façades, of public spaces and even of domestic interiors, it was easy to imagine not only daily contact with her—kneeling to a statue, reciting the Ave Maria, habitual and short prayer—but also occasional attacks by Mary’s perceived “enemies.” A story, which had spread from Constantinople since at least the seventh century, was rewritten by Gautier into a miraculous narrative for his own time. The Jew in question was “malicious and nasty, who despised Christianity greatly” (lines 12-13); while he visited a Christian’s house he looked through a window

  • 16 … et vit una tavlete
    Ou painte avoit une ymagete
    A la semblance Nostre Dame.
    “Di moi, fait il, di moi (...)

…. and saw a panel
On which an image was painted
In the likeness of Our Lady.
Feigning ignorance:
“Tell me,” he said, “tell me please,
Of whom is this image?”
“It is,” he said, “of the maiden
Who was so pure, serene and clean
That the lord of the whole world
Took humanity within her body.”16

19The Jew proceeded to taunt the Christian and to deride the veneration of Mary; to show just how he felt he finally threw the panel into a privy. The Christian was moved to an act of pious restoration, once he recovered from the shock:

  • 17 A la privee corant vint,
    L’image quist, si la trova.
    Com loiax hom bien se prova:
    Lavee l’a et netoïe (...)

He ran to the privy,
To seek the image, and found it there.
He proved himself to be a decent man:
He washed it and cleaned it,
Repaired and restored it
So it was even more beautiful than before.17

20The image was indeed now better still, since from it poured miraculous oil. This oil benefited only those who loved Mary; those, like the Jew, who did not, could not enjoy its sweet—“douce”—effect.

  • 18 Robin R. Mundill, England’s Jewish Solution: Experiment and Expulsion, 1262–1290, Cambridge, 1998, (...)

21Gautier de Coinci worked by intuition to express a growing unease with the Jewish presence in medieval towns. The dramas of separation which ultimately dislodged Jews—their fruitful contributions, their lively communities—from nearly all European urban centers by the later Middle Ages, were as yet only experimental in nature and sporadic. As the urban space became the hub of the creative, “modern” meeting of commerce, administration, learning and the privileges of the court, it was also the home of most—though not all—Jews.18

22Urban spaces were the setting in which many of Mary’s miraculous incursions into Christian lives were imagined, and these interventions were often punitive acts against the Jews, her enemies. So formative to the making of the Christian polity did such narratives become that a collection of Marian tales was conceived in the court of a very Christian king. The Cantigas de Santa Maria is the collection of 429 Marian miracles, collected under the patronage of King Alfonso X, the Wise, of Castile, in the 1260s. This king aimed to weave his disparate domains, among them regions and peoples recently brought into the Christian sphere through “reconquest”; he strove to produce a Christian ethic in law, ritual and religious culture. The Cantigas de Santa Maria were produced in lavish—some illuminated— manuscripts, some with musical notation for performance at court and beyond. They formed a collection of old and new Marian tales, stories which haled from shrines and communities throughout the Christian world, the vast majority of which are Iberian, local. These were reworked into verse, each a narrative accompanied by a moralizing refrain.

23Such is the story of Mary and the Jews of Toledo: on the feast of the Assumption, while the Archbishop of Toledo celebrated the mass, a woman began weeping:

Oh, God, oh, God, how great and manifest is the perfidy of the Jews, who killed my Son, though they were His own people, and even now they wish no peace with him.

  • 19 Songs of Holy Mary of Alfonso X, The Wise: a Translation of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, trans. Ka (...)

After the mass the archbishop recounted and interpreted the event: clearly the Jews were enacting an evil deed:
Then they all hastily set out for the Jewish quarter and found, it is no lie, an image of Jesus Christ, which the Jews were striking and spitting upon. And furthermore, the Jews had made a cross upon which they intended to hang the image. For this deed they were all to die, and their pleasure was turned to grief.
Refrain: What most offends Holy Mary is a wrong done to Her Son.19

24Jews who lived in Christian communities clearly knew a great deal about Christian life and enjoyed some access to sacred symbols and spaces. By the thirteenth century contact between Jews and such important markers of Christian identity was freighted with suspicion of evil intent. Narratives available within the religious culture increasingly attributed to Jews blasphemous pur-pose and evil conspiracy; this turned neighborhoods into a menace not only a source of familiar and comfortable interaction. Yet some of the poems of the Cantigas de Santa Maria also imagined a different type of neighborliness, one which was conducive to conversion, in several miracle tales about Muslims. So, for example, when a Muslim woman took a child in her care, who had died of a terrible disease, to the Virgin of Salas (a shrine in the diocese of Zaragoza), Mary affected a cure. The Muslim woman acted as she had seen Christians act, and to the disapproval of her own friends:

  • 20 Songs of the Holy Mary, no. 167, p. 202;
    Ca eu levarei meu fillo/ a Salas desta vegada
    con ssa omage (...)

“For I shall take my son to Holy Mary of Salas right away, with this waxen image which I have bought for her. I shall keep watch in the church of the most blessed Holy Mary, and I believe that she will sympathize with my woe.”
She did just that and indeed the child was brought back to life. She converted “for she saw that Holy Mary had given him back to her alive, and she always held Her in great reverence.”
Refrain: The Virgin will aid whoever trusts in her and prays faithfully to Her, although he be a follower of another law.20

25The figure of Mary offered an occasion to dwell on Christian identity in a particularly pointed way within a society where Jews and Muslims were familiar neighbors. The Iberian Marian tales invoked the sense of a Christian geography which transcended the boundaries of kingdoms. They tell of familiar and much loved shrines which drew pilgrims and kept them enthralled for life with memories and eruptions of the miraculous. All these were brought together by a ruler whose image portrayed piety, benign care but also a crusader’s commitment to “liberating” Christian lands. The Cantigas offered possibilities for personal devotion, communal celebration and collective sharing, as well as a vision of a Christian state.

***

26In the Italian cities of the same period a different political settlement—a civic dispensation—encouraged a wide range of local initiatives and broad participation in public life and religious display. In one region a particular devotional and ethical style developed, soon to affect the whole of Europe. It was inspired by the example of the charismatic Francis of Assisi, the alter christus. The devotional style was one of performance in the streets, group devotion, all in memory of Christ. Attention was drawn to the humanity of the suffering Christ, to the memory and mimesis of that legacy, here and now. It is not surprising that new artistic forms were also created there to capture that style: large crucifixes adorned Tuscan churches, overhanging the viewer for the most direct of gazes (Figure 2). There was a particular style in depiction of mourning, which involved the whole body, as displayed in Giotto’s art (Figure 3).

Cimabue: Crucifix Florence, Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce

Giotto: Lamentation of Christ, 1305–06
Scrovegni Chapel, Padova

27And there was more. For Franciscan friars led lay people to enact the Passion in new and audacious ways. In confraternities created by urban lay people, men as well as women, new techniques of performance and imitation were developed. People enacted the Passion, as we will see at greater length in Chapter 3, through rhythmic recitation of verses in their dialect, accompanied by gestures of flagellation, mortification, and sometimes in communal song. This context made the Jew a cruel inflictor of pain, an actor in the great drama of salvation. A verse chanted by the members of a flagellant company in fourteenth-century Modena began with the refrain:

  • 21 Oymè, Çudei, la crudelle çente,
    Como lo coro vostro è açegato,
    Che Jeso Cristo omnipotente
    Aviti sì c (...)

Woe to me, Jews, cruel people.
How embittered must your heart be,
That you have crucified
Jesus Christ the all powerful?21

28And then turns to nature, for evidence of Jewish misdeed:

Look at the sun, who for sorrow
has removed its splendor,
it cannot bear to see such harshness
towards Christ its creator.

  • 22 Vidi lo sole chi per tristeça
    À retrato lo so’splendore,
    Ch’ el non veça tanta aspreça
    In Cristo so’ (...)

And the earth suffering
is all atremble for pain
because of your great mistake
which you have demonstrated in this.22

29It ends with a cry to Jews and other sinners:

  • 23 O çudei, e tuta çente,
    Chi si in mortale peccato,
    Se crederiti, fariti
    Quello che Cristo à ordenato
    E (...)

O Jews, and all people,
who live in mortal sin,
if you believed, you would
do that which Christ had ordained
and truly admit
of all your sin
then you will receive from all powerful God
the reign which he has made for the world.23

  • 24 Robert Gragger, “Eine altungarische Marienklage,” in Ungarische Bibliothek 7, Berlin and Leipzig, (...)

30The powerful vision which originated in central Italy and was carried and animated by friars, spread to a wide range of European spheres and groups. A devotional genre which depicted Mary’s lament in verse was accessible by the second half of the thirteenth century in many languages and registers. A manuscript made by three Hungarian friars, probably Dominicans, rendered into their mother tongue something of the immediacy of the chants which they had learned during their sojourn in Italy. Its eight stanzas are each four verses long, and most are two words short. Christ is addressed as “World of world/ flower of flowers”; he is Mary’s “Jewish son.” There is frequent mention of sweetness and honey, of the shedding of Jesus’s blood and Mary’s tears. A second lament, four stanzas long, describes the detail of the Crucifixion at the hand of lawless Jews, a Passion in which Mary wished to join her son. The Hungarian preachers absorbed and conveyed the mood, style and context of Italian vernacular chants of Mary’s Passion.24

  • 25 On Mary and disputations see William Chester Jordan, “Marian Devotion and the Talmud Trial of 1240 (...)
  • 26 Ed Muir, “The Virgin on the Street Corner: The Place of the Sacred in Italian Cities,” in Religion (...)
  • 27 Michele Luzzati, “Ebrei, chiesa locale, ‘principe’ e popolo: due episodi di distruzione di immagin (...)

31The encounters of Mary and the Jews were increasingly associated with the remembered narratives, vernacular chants and the images seen time and again in churches and on public buildings. While scholars and religious leaders sometimes debated the Incarnation and Virgin Birth in the course of staged disputations, there were more mundane encounters of varying degrees of intensity in city streets and on the routes of pilgrimage and trade.25 As Mary became more visible in streets and squares, so did the possibilities for unfortunate clashes between Christians and Jews around her. By the fifteenth century Mary inhabited many a street-corner, becoming a constant reminder to Christians of the conventions of Christian life.26 Authorities attempted to regulate the public space and avoid conflict, and so in fifteenth-century Mantua, for example, there was a procedure whereby a Jew might remove a religious image when he purchased a house decorated with one. Yet moments of excitement and agitation, moments in which enthusiasm and charisma affected people’s lives, sometimes heightened the stakes beyond the routines foreseen by officials. When this occurred in Mantua in 1495 a Jew was refused the permission to remove an image of Mary and Child on its front because of the intervention of the urban crowd. What is more, Daniele da Norsa was required to pay for a new painting which came to be known as the Madonna of Victory, by the local painter, destined to fame, Andrea Mantegna. The growing ubiquity of Mary contributed to the possibilities of mobilization around images and processions in the public domain; it encouraged performances of identity occasioned by Mary’s presence.27

  • 28 Hedwig Röckelein, “Marie, l’église et la synagogue: culte de la Vierge et lutte contre les Juifs e (...)
  • 29 Philip M. Soergel, Wondrous in his Saints: Counter-Reformation Propaganda in Bavaria, Berkeley (CA (...)

32Mary could endow a space with identity, and one which was particularly poignant as a statement against Jews. In the course of the fifteenth century urban politics of several German cities led to expulsions of their Jewish communities, often prompted by the lobbying of guilds and facilitated by the preaching of friars. The spaces left empty in the heart of cities offered opportunities: properties were reallocated, stones were used for the erection of new buildings, and synagogues were sometimes turned into Marian chapels.28 Soon after the Reichstadt Regensburg was allowed by the Emperor (after years of pleading) to expel its Jews in 1518, a miracle narrative linked the space with the Virgin Mary. It involved a laborer who was wounded in the course of clearing the site and cured through Mary’s intervention in response to his wife’s prayers. The miracle was identified and all proper procedures followed: a chapel was built on the site, a booklet described the miracles, and indulgences were granted to visitors.29 Above all, through Mary Regensburg was redefined as a city free of Jews, as a community blessed by Mary’s care, and as part of the holy geography of shrine and pilgrimage. The statue made for the site was of the type which we will discuss in the next chapter—the schöne Maria—Mary and her child: sweet, loving and beautiful (Figure 4).

Regensburg, Schöne Maria Coburg, Kunstsammlung der Veste

  • 30 ‘Tu es bien folle si tu cuyde quelle te ayde, car elle na nulle puissance et quelle est vierge aut (...)
  • 31 On retouching of images see Cathleen Hoeniger, The Renovation of Paintings in Tuscany, 1250–1500, (...)

33The imaginary repertoire which linked Jews, heretics and blasphemers with wanton destruction of Marian imagery was revived in the course of the sixteenth century in those communities which saw religious strife between Christians. The power of the abused image is as manifest as it had been to the audience of Gautier de Coinci’s tale more than three hundred years earlier. And so, for example, on a night in Easter week 1533 in Tournai, when a debauched char-acter attacked a prostitute she turned for help to an image of the Virgin on the Gate of Saint-Fontaine from which he had entered. The attacker derided her: “you are indeed mad if you believe that she will help you, because she has no power and she is as much a virgin as you, a common prostitute, are.”30 On the morrow the figure was found to be bleeding, and by Holy Friday it was removed and carried to the church of Mary Magdalene, where it was treated like a reliquary (“digne reliquaire”). The great and the good—clergy and civic dignitaries alike—visited the image, and in less than fortnight a general procession was ordered with a sermon on God and the Virgin Mary.31

***

34Mary became in the later medieval centuries a test of Christian identity, a hurdle for membership and part of the habitus of Christian life. Two powerful images developed around her: the young mother with her baby son, and the grieving mother witness to her grown son’s suffering and death. Emotional habits, and maybe even emotional communities, developed around these images. The affinities nurtured by families in their homes combined with the possibilities offered by a vibrant public religious culture to endow Europeans with a sentimental education, and with a repertoire of identities for life.

Notes

1 Natalie Z. Davis, “The Rites of Violence,” in Society and Culture in Early Modern France: Eight Essays, London, 1975, pp. 152–87; first published in Past and Present 59 (1973), pp. 51–91.

2 Miri Rubin, “Identities,” in A Social History of England, 1200–1500, ed. Rosemary Horrox and Mark Ormrod, Cambridge, 2006, pp. 383–412.

3 R. I. Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe 950–1250, second edn., Oxford, 2007. This edition includes comments by the author in response to the reception of the first edition, published in 1987, with the subtitle Power and Deviance in Western Europe, 950–1250.

4 For a summary of the sermon and its moral message see Stephen Murray, A Gothic Sermon: Making a Contract with the Mother of God, Saint Mary of Amiens, Berkeley (CA), 2004, pp. 13–25.

5 “Ce n’est pas corvée qu’il feront à la douce mere diu sainte Marie; or prenés garde entre vous, se vous avés bien gardées les festes, que vous a commandées tout l’an contreval.
Si m’aït dex! Ge cuit qu’il i a moult à amender.
Après i gaaigniés vous encore qui mex vaut, que pour seulement venir de leurs maisons au mostier, il gaaignent XL iornées de vrai pardon, sans doner denier ne obole, et XL iornées de vrai pardon, pour atendre le besoigne le douce mere diu sainte Marie que ele soit aconsomée,” Ibid, pp. 70–71. On the city and its economy see Stephen Murray, Notre-Dame Cathedral of Amiens: the Power of Change in Gothic, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 19–27.

6 “Car sachiés vraiement quiconques depieche ne deront mariage il deront et depiece la bele char nostre segneur, il desment le saint sacrament nostre segneur, il desdit et deffait la sainte escriture et le saintes paroles nostre segneur,” Murray, A Gothic Sermon, pp. 92–3.

7 Ibid, pp. 114–15. For an insight into the life of Amiens cathedral canons see Page, The Owl and the Nightingale: Musical Life and Ideas in France 1100–1300, London, 1989, p. 136.

8 Amiens was, in fact, one of the few northern French towns which excluded Jewish migration from the mid-twelfth century, William Chester Jordan, The French Monarchy and the Jews: From Philip Augustus to the Last Capetians, Philadelphia (PA), 1989, pp. 34, 155 and map on p. 156.

9 A unique and luxurious artifact which exemplifies this vision is the Bible moralisée, studied in Sara Lipton, Images of Intolerance: the Representation of Jews and Judaism in the Bible moralisée, Berkeley (CA), 1999.

10 Odo of Tournai, On Original Sin; and, A Disputation with the Jew, Leo, concerning the Advent of Christ, the Son of God: Two Theological Treatises, trans. Irven M. Resnick, Philadelphia (PA), 1994.

11 Ibid, pp. 79–80.

12 On this period and its writings see Anna Sapir Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, London, 1995.

13 Jonathan Elukin, Living Together, Living Apart, Princeton (NJ), 2007.

14 See, for example, the making of the myth of ritual murder by a monk of Norwich Cathedral Priory in Simon Yarrow, Saints and their Communities: Miracle Stories in Twelfth Century England, Oxford, 2006, chapter 5, especially pp. 123–40.

15 Rose fresche et clere
Dou Saint Espir plainne,
Tu iez fille et mere
Au fil Dieu demaine.
Tant fu ta matere
Nete et pure et sainne
Qu’en toi prist tes père
Char et forme humainne.
Dame, qui tant sainte
Et qui tant fu eslite
Que grose et enchainte
Fus dou Saint Esperite,
Oiez ma complainte
Et envers moi t’apite,
Gautier de Coinci, Les miracles de Nostre Dame I, ed. V. Frederic Koenig, Geneva and Lille, 1955, III, p. 35, lines 73–86.

16 … et vit una tavlete
Ou painte avoit une ymagete
A la semblance Nostre Dame.
“Di moi, fait il, di moi, par t’ame,
Ceste ymage de cui est ele?
-Ele est, fait il, de la pucele
Qui tant fu pure, nete et monde
Que li sires de tot le monde
Humanité prist en ses flans
Gautier de Coinci, Les miracles de Nostre Dame II, ed. V. Frederic Koenig, Geneva and Paris, 1961, pp. 101–104, lines 17–25.

17 A la privee corant vint,
L’image quist, si la trova.
Com loiax hom bien se prova:
Lavee l’a et netoïe,
Si l’a remise et retirie,
Plus belement que n’ert devant,
Ibid, p. 103, lines 58–63.

18 Robin R. Mundill, England’s Jewish Solution: Experiment and Expulsion, 1262–1290, Cambridge, 1998, has contributed a great deal to acquaintance with Jewish presence in small towns and rural communities.

19 Songs of Holy Mary of Alfonso X, The Wise: a Translation of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, trans. Kathleen Kulp-Hill, Tempe (AZ), 2000, no. 12, p. 19:

E a voz, come chorando,/ dizia: ‘Ay Deus, ai Deus,
com’ é mui grand’ e provada/ a perfia dos judeus
que meu Fillo mataron, seendo seus,
e aynda non queren conosco paz.’
O que a Santa Maria mais despraz,
é de quen ao seu Fillo pesar faz;

Enton todos mui correndo/ começaron logo d’ir
dereit’ aa judaria,/ e acharon, sen mentir,
omagen de Jeso-Crist’, a que ferir
yan os judeus e cospir-lle ne faz.
O que a Santa Maria mais despraz,
é de quen ao seu Fillo pesar faz;

E sen aquesta’, os judeus/ fezeran u˜a cruz fazer
en que aquela omagen/ querian logo põer.
E por est’ ouveron todos de morrer,
e tornou-e-lles en doo seu solaz.
O que a Santa Maria mais despraz,
Ée de quen ao seu Fillo pesar faz,
Cantigas de Santa Maria I, ed. Walter Mettmann, Coimbra, 1959, no. 12, pp. 88-9, lines 16-20, 26-35.

20 Songs of the Holy Mary, no. 167, p. 202;
Ca eu levarei meu fillo/ a Salas desta vegada
con ssa omagen de cera/ que ja lle tenno comprada,
e velarei na eigreja/ da mui benaventurada
Santa Maria, e tenno/ que de mia coita se sença;
e tornou logo crischãa/ pois viu que llo vivo dera
Santa Maria, e sempre/ a ouv’ en gran reverença,
Cantigas de Santa Maria II, Coimbra, 1961, no. 167, pp. 170–1; lines 20-24, 37-8.

21 Oymè, Çudei, la crudelle çente,
Como lo coro vostro è açegato,
Che Jeso Cristo omnipotente
Aviti sì crucifigato?
Il laudario dei Battuti de Modena, ed. Giulio Bertoni, Halle, 1909, XL, p. 46, lines 1–4 and later as refrain.

22 Vidi lo sole chi per tristeça
À retrato lo so’splendore,
Ch’ el non veça tanta aspreça
In Cristo so’ criatore.
E la terra per grameça
Trema tuta per dolore
Del vostro grande errore
Chi avi inço’ monstrato,
Ibid, lines 5–12.

23 O çudei, e tuta çente,
Chi si in mortale peccato,
Se crederiti, fariti
Quello che Cristo à ordenato
E inserire veraxemente
D’ugni uostro peccato
veriti da deo omnipotente
Lo regno chi per lo mundo è facto,
Ibid, p. 47, lines 48–55.

24 Robert Gragger, “Eine altungarische Marienklage,” in Ungarische Bibliothek 7, Berlin and Leipzig, 1923, pp. 1–21; at pp. 18–9.

25 On Mary and disputations see William Chester Jordan, “Marian Devotion and the Talmud Trial of 1240,” in Religionsgespräche im Mittelalter, ed. Bernard Lewis and Friedrich Niewöhner, Wolfenbütteler Mittelalter-Studien 4, Wiesbaden, 1992, pp. 61–76.

26 Ed Muir, “The Virgin on the Street Corner: The Place of the Sacred in Italian Cities,” in Religion and Culture in the Renaissance and Reformation, ed. Steven Ozment, Kirksville (MI), 1987, pp. 24–40.

27 Michele Luzzati, “Ebrei, chiesa locale, ‘principe’ e popolo: due episodi di distruzione di immagini sacre alla fine del Quattrocento,” in La casa dell’ebreo: Saggi sugli Ebrei a Pisa e in Roscana nel Medioevo e nel Rinascimento, Pisa, 1985, pp. 205–34; Dana E. Katz, “Painting and the Politics of Persecution: Representing the Jew in Fifteenth-Century Mantua,” Art History 23 (2000), pp. 475–95.

28 Hedwig Röckelein, “Marie, l’église et la synagogue: culte de la Vierge et lutte contre les Juifs en Allemagne à la fin du Moyen-Âge,” in Marie: le culte de la vierge dans la société médiévale, Paris, 1996, pp. 512–32; see also Mary Minty, “Judengasse to Christian Quarter: The Phenomenon of the Converted Synagogue in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Holy Roman Empire,” in Popular Religion in Germany and Central Europe, 1400–1800, Basingstoke, 1996, pp. 58–86.

29 Philip M. Soergel, Wondrous in his Saints: Counter-Reformation Propaganda in Bavaria, Berkeley (CA), 1993, pp. 53–5.

30 ‘Tu es bien folle si tu cuyde quelle te ayde, car elle na nulle puissance et quelle est vierge autant que toy qui es putain publicque,’ Olivier Christin, Une révolution symbolique: l’iconoclasme Huguenot et la reconstruction catholique, Paris, 1991, p. 179.

31 On retouching of images see Cathleen Hoeniger, The Renovation of Paintings in Tuscany, 1250–1500, Cambridge, 1995.

Table des illustrations

Légende Amiens Cathedral, West façade, 1260s
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/434/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 696k
Légende Cimabue: Crucifix Florence, Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/434/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 319k
Légende Giotto: Lamentation of Christ, 1305–06Scrovegni Chapel, Padova
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/434/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 508k
Légende Regensburg, Schöne Maria Coburg, Kunstsammlung der Veste
URL http://books.openedition.org/ceup/docannexe/image/434/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 243k

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