From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800-1200

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Columbia University Press, 2002 - History - 676 pages
Devotion to the crucified Christ is one of the most familiar, yet most disconcerting artifacts of medieval European civilization. How and why did the images of the dying God-man and his grieving mother achieve such prominence, inspiring unparalleled religious creativity as well such imitative extremes as celibacy and self-flagellation? To answer this question, Rachel Fulton ranges over developments in liturgical performance, private prayer, doctrine, and art. She considers the fear occasioned by the disappointed hopes of medieval Christians convinced that the apocalypse would come soon, the revulsion of medieval Jews at being baptized in the name of God born from a woman, the reform of the Church in light of a new European money economy, the eroticism of the Marian exegesis of the Song of Songs, and much more.
Devotion to the crucified Christ is one of the most familiar yet disconcerting artifacts of medieval European civilization. How and why did the images of the dying God-man and his grieving mother achieve such prominence, inspiring unparalleled religious creativity and emotional artistry even as they fostered such imitative extremes as celibacy, crusade, and self-flagellation?

Magisterial in style and comprehensive in scope, From Judgment to Passion is the first systematic attempt to explain the origins and initial development of European devotion to Christ in his suffering humanity and Mary in her compassionate grief. Rachel Fulton examines liturgical performance, doctrine, private prayer, scriptural exegesis, and art in order to illuminate and explain the powerful desire shared by medieval women and men to identify with the crucified Christ and his mother.

The book begins with the Carolingian campaign to convert the newly conquered pagan Saxons, in particular with the effort to explain for these new converts the mystery of the Eucharist, the miraculous presence of Christ's body at the Mass. Moving on to the early eleventh century, when Christ's failure to return on the millennium of his Passion (A.D. 1033) necessitated for believers a radical revision of Christian history, Fulton examines the novel liturgies and devotions that arose amid this apocalyptic disappointment. The book turns finally to the twelfth century when, in the wake of the capture of Jerusalem in the First Crusade, there occurred the full flowering of a new, more emotional sensibility of faith, epitomized by the eroticism of the Marian exegesis of the Song of Songs and by the artistic and architectural innovations we have come to think of as quintessentially high medieval.

In addition to its concern with explaining devotional change, From Judgment to Passion presses a second, crucial question: How is it possible for modern historians to understand not only the social and cultural functions but also the experience of faith--the impulsive engagement with the emotions, sometimes ineffable, of prayer and devotion? The answer, magnificently exemplified throughout this book's narrative, lies in imaginative empathy, the same incorporation of self into story that lay at the heart of the medieval effort to identify with Christ and Mary in their love and pain.
 

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From judgment to passion: devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800-1200

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This enormous tome (468 pages without the nearly 200 pages of abbreviations, endnotes, and 15 introductory pages) is dedicated to the seemingly simple task of understanding medieval religious fervor ... Read full review

Contents

HISTORY CONVERSIONS AND THE SAXON CHRIST
9
Converting the Pagans
16
Translating the Savior
27
The Miracle of Gods Speaking
41
The Paschasian Christ
53
APOCALYPSE REFORM AND THE SUFFERING SAVIOR
60
Waiting for the Apocalypse
64
The Coming of Christ in Judgment
78
Queenly Favors
285
THE VOICE OF MY BELOVED KNOCKING
289
Figures and Shadows
295
I Sleep and My Heart Keeps Watch
309
The Song of the Incarnation
317
My Belly Trembled at His Touch
336
Reading and Singing
344
ONCE UPON A TIME
351

Signed with the Cross
88
A Priesthood Apart
106
The Whole Church Believes
118
PLAYING TO THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST
142
Adoring God on the Cross
146
Writing on the Tablets of the Heart
155
Why God Became Man
170
Maria Compatiens
193
INTRODUCTION
195
PRAYING TO THE MOTHER OF THE CRUCIFIED JUDGE
204
Grieving Without Tears
205
O Glorious Domina
215
My Heart Is Sick with Love
232
THE SEAL OF THE MOTHER BRIDE
244
Impressing the Soft Wax of the Memory
254
The Sweet Songs of the Drama
265
I Will Be a Wall for Them
280
A Bride Foreseen
353
Trumpets of God
363
A Modest and Spiritual Fabula
373
Love of the Flesh
383
Come My Chosen One
397
COMMORIENS COMMORTUA CONSEPULTA
405
35 Et Lacrymatus Est lesus
417
Scrutinizing Lofty Matters
429
The Song of the Virgin Mother to the Lamb
444
Our Bed Is Flowery
458
Abbreviations
471
Notes
473
Bibliography
593
Index of Scriptural Citations
651
Index of Manuscripts Cited
655
General Index
657
Copyright

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Page xvii - Be ye therefore followers of God, as most dear children: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness.
Page xvii - And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed. —Luke 2:34-35

About the author (2002)

Rachel Fulton is asssociate professor of history at the University of Chicago. She has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Lilly Endowment, and she has been a Fellow at the National Humanities Center, where she began work on this book. Her current project is a study of the cognitive and ritual making of prayer in the monastic culture of the medieval West.

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