The Latin Passion Play: Its Origins and Development

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SUNY Press, 1970 - Jeux de la Passion - Histoire et critique - 220 pages
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In this first comprehensive study of the Latin Passion play, Professor Sticca examines the medieval liturgical ceremonies commemorating the events in Christ's Passion and traces their gradual change in character from the contemplative to the dramatic.

The author shows that while Christ's Passion became increasingly popular as one of the sacred mysteries beginning in the tenth century, new forces that allowed a more eloquent and humane visualization and description of Christ's anguish first appeared in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Professor Sticca analyzes the earliest extant Latin Passion play, the twelfth-century Montecassino codex, and compares it with other Latin and vernacular Passion plays. He refutes the traditional view that the Planctus Mariae is the germinal point of the Latin Passion play and then offers a new theory of its inception.

As a literary form, the Latin Passion play appears to Professor Sticca as a creation of the Montecassino monastic circle which was inspired by the liturgical services of Good Friday and the Gospel accounts. Particularly influential also were three themes that developed in the eleventh century: in liturgy, a concentration on Christocentric piety; in art, a more humanistic treatment of Christ; and in literature, a consideration of the scenes of the Passion as dramatic and human episodes.

In the course of this investigation, Professor Sticca also reappraises traditional views of the origin of the medieval liturgical drama, indicating that it should not be traced exclusively to the tropes from the schools of St. Gall and St. Martial of Limoges, but rather to a number of sources.
  

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Contents

CLASSICAL HERITAGE AND THE LITURGICAL DRAMA
3
Hrotswitha
4
Religious vs Secular Theater
7
Comoedia Elegiaca
13
The Tropes
19
THE ORIGIN OF THE LATIN PASSION PLAY
39
THE TRADITION OF THE PASSION PLAY
51
THE MONTECASSINO AND SULMONA PASSIONS
84
The Tours Ludus Paschalis
144
The AngloNorman Resurrection
147
Vernacular Passion Plays
148
The Lauda
149
French Passion Plays
153
German Passion Plays
156
CONCLUSION
167
BIBLIOGRAPHY
177

THE PLANCTUS MARIAE AND PASSIONS PLAYS
122
THE LITURGICAL AND VERNACULAR TRADITION
133
Latin Passion Plays
134

About the author (1970)

Sandro Sticca is associate professor of French and comparative literature at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

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