First, a bit of levity:
Some thoughts to get the conversation started: 1. Why were relics so important in the Middle Ages? 2. Were contact relics as effective as body parts? 3. What is the relationship between the container and the contents in body-part reliquaries and does it shift over time? 4. Have you ever seen a relic? If so, what was the context and what was the effect of this experience?
The vierge ouvrante is one of the most interesting categories of sculpture produced in the Middle Ages. 1. Why does the author stress the importance of both the haptic and optic dimensions of the worshiper’s experience of this sculpture? 2. In what way is the Virgin the door for Christ and for the saved through his sacrifice? 3. What are the theological implications of lodging the whole Trinity within the Virgin’s womb? 4. In the narrative interiors of the vierge ouvrante, what subject matter was found and how was it disposed? 5. What are some of the differences in types of sculpture north and south of the Pyrenees? 6. What is the symbolic meaning of the doors that open the womb of the Virgin and how does the statue’s capacity to move affect the viewer’s experience? 7. What is the paradox embodied by the vierge ouvrante? What occurs in her corporeal erasure?