Questions on Visuality and Devotion and Gibson’s Passion of Christ

Questions on Visuality and Devotion and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ



  1. What do the medieval theories of vision have in common? What connection does sight have to the acquisition of knowledge?


  1. Consider the quasi-sacramental character of images in the Middle Ages and the origins of this quality.


  1. How does the hierarchy of vision endow late medieval andachsbild with even greater devotional power?


  1. Herbert Kessler discusses the challenge of medieval art as it claims “to show the invisible by means of the visible.” Discuss!


  1. Why was the Resurrection marginalized in Passion plays?


  1. Michael Camille claims medieval images were “so much more powerful, moving, and instrumental, as well as disturbing and dangerous than later works of art.” Do you agree?


  1. Do you agree that the act of looking constitutes a powerful practice of belief, that it is tied to one’s religious identity?


  1. Does Gibson’s film share the same aesthetic goals as say, the Isenheim altarpiece? Is it kosher to compare the Cyclorama, the Gibson film, and medieval art?




Questions on the Muessig’s “Performance of the Passion”

Questions on Muessig’s “Performance of the Passion”


  1. This article refines the distinctions that define ritual, theater, and liturgy. How does the Absent Other function in the performances of Elizabeth of Spalbeek, Margarita of Cortona, and Gertrude van der Oosten?


  1. Discuss the role of the witness in the above performances.


  1. How did Margarita of Cortona use visual art?


  1. How does the collective creativity participate in the construction of the ritual? Is this always a necessary ingredient in rituals?


  1. What was distinctive about the preaching strategy of Ladislaus on Good Friday in 1505? Isn’t the Middle Ages fundamentally theatrical in nature?!


  1. How did this article intersect with last week’s readings?


Questions on the Well of Moses and the ‘Punctum’ of Piety

Questions on the Well of Moses and the Punctum of Piety


  1. How does the Well of Moses relate to Carthusian piety?


  1. Do you think Philip the Bold consciously emulated his royal forebears in his artistic patronage?


  1. Do you think it is possible to turn a contemporary theoretical lens on a medieval work of art?


Questions on “The Tactile and the Visionary”

Questions on “The Tactile and the Visionary”


  1. What role does sculpture play in forming imaginative perception? In other words does art inspire visions?


  1. Under what circumstances do we find sculpture animated in the medieval period?



  1. In what way are the Gero Crucifix and the crucifixi dolorosi “betwixt and between?” How are works of this ilk “embodied templates for imaginative projection?” And are you happy with that term?!


  1. Discuss the role of Nicodemus as the “arch creator.”


  1. Does Jung’s discussion of the role of touch in the Silos reliefs resonate with Bynum’s ideas about Christian materiality?


Questions on Devotional Images and Imaginative Devotions

Questions on “Devotional Images and Imaginative Devotions”



  1. What role does art play in miraculous visions according to Ringbom? Do you agree?


  1. Does the primacy of the text overshadow the significance of the visual tradition?


  1. Which medieval thinker/writer after Augustine advanced the “cause of art history” the most in your opinion?


  1. What was the fate of imageless devotion?


  1. Should Sts. Augustine and Gregory be the patron saints of art history? Discuss! How did St. Bernard conceive of corporeal and spiritual vision?

Questions on the Meditationes Vitae Christi

Questions on “The Logistics of Access to Divinity: Meditationes Vitae Christi”


  1. What was the impact of the Meditationes on the visual arts?


  1. How is God conceived in the Meditationes? Christ?


  1. How does the text encourage an experiential knowledge of Christ?


  1. What does the author mean by “incarnational stylistics?”


  1. Discuss the role of imagination in the spiritual life of a late medieval person.