Texts of the Passion: Latin Devotional Literature and Medieval Society

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University of Pennyslvania Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 264 pages
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In Texts of the Passion, Thomas H. Bestul constructs the literary history of the Latin Passion narratives, placing them within their social, cultural, and historical contexts. He examines the ways in which the Passion is narrated and renarrated in devotional treatises, paying particular attention to the modifications and enlargements of the narrative of the Passion as it is presented in the canonical gospels. Of particular interest to Bestul are the representations of Jews, women, and the body of the crucified Christ. Bestul argues that the greatly enlarged role of the Jews in the Passion narratives of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is connected to the rising anti-Judaism of the period. He explores how the representations of women, particularly the Virgin Mary, express cultural values about the place of women in late medieval society and reveal an increased interest in female subjectivity. He argues that the richly detailed and increasingly graphic descriptions of the torments of Christ in the Passion narratives not only indicate a new concern with the problem of representing pain, but can be linked to the rise of judicial torture in the thirteenth century.
Throughout Texts of the Passion, Bestul offers an articulate and theoretically informed remapping of the relationship between vernacular and Latin literature in the Middle Ages.

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Methodology and Theoretical
Medieval Narratives of the Passion of Christ
The Representation of the Jews in Medieval

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About the author (1996)

Thomas H. Bestul is Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

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