The Measure of Piety!

The Measure of Piety!

1. Why are the Wounds of Christ a key element in late Medieval piety?
2. Do you agree with Lewis about the gendered nature of devotion in the later Middle Ages?
3. What did a focus on the side wound promote in the worshiper?
4. Is it a useful fiction to view men as the authors of guides to meditation and women as the authors of visions?
5. How do the Rothchild Canticles differ from the representation of Christ in Kunigunde’s manuscript?
6. How has scholarship treated the sexual nature of the side wound? Where do you stand on this issue?
7. What associations does the Arma Christi have besides invoking the Passion of Christ?
8. How does the symbolism of the Arma Christi vary over the course of the medieval period and is it the same for lay and religious audiences?
9. Does Christ weigh in (as it were) on the arithmetic of grace?
10. What was quantified for spiritual merit in the later Middle Ages?
11. What is implied by the phrase “with spiritual interest and annuities?” Have you done your taxes?
12. What was the impact of the written word on this economy of grace?
13. Who criticized the quantification of piety and what did that criticism engender?
14. In what ways did this number game function as a mnemonic system? What was the purpose of number symbolism in the later Middle Ages?
15. What was God’s side of the bargain in this bartering system?


Questions on everything from Depositions to Flagellation to Sacral Presence to Performance!

Questions about Depositions, Sacral Presence, the Crucifix, Quick Images, Performance, and Flagellation!


  1. In what way do Northern paintings of the Deposition both present and withdraw the image of Christ from the viewer?


  1. Why are icons always in the business of presenting absence?


  1. Do you agree that the movable images of Christ are more lifelike, yet also assert their inert character?


  1. Consider the ritual of Dead Sunday in light of the Deposition and iconoclasm.


  1. Powell asserts that the Incarnation is the central defense of sacred images. Do you agree or disagree?


  1. Would Paoletti and Powell get into an argument about lifelike images at a cocktail party?


  1. Would Paoletti and Lipton agree on the function of art in the medieval period? Did art function as an efficacious agent of the sacral?


  1. Why do you think liturgical drama bypassed the Crucifixion? Do you feel that wood is the only medium that blurs the boundaries between viewer and devotional object?


  1. Do Lipton’s ideas mirror Bynum’s thoughts about Christian materiality regarding the paradoxes inherent in the devotional object?


  1. How does Rupert of Deutz’s text reflect both the power of art as well as art’s limitations?


  1. Do the crucifixes described in the texts cited by Lipton embody the stylistic changes that occurred in the art of the successive periods?


  1. What does Lipton mean by describing the process of looking at a crucifix as dialogic?


  1. “Preaching…..developed its own peculiar way of using art, one that exploited the power of the glance rather than the power of the gaze to provide a sudden and visceral visual jolt.” Discuss.


  1. What does Lerud mean by “quick images?”


  1. What are the parallels between images and miracles?


  1. In what ways do the Pauper’s view of images echo those of Thomas Aquinas?


  1. What was the role of dialogue in medieval plays? Do you agree with the author?


  1. How does Van der Weyden manipulate space/the viewer in his Deposition according to Gertsman? Would Powell agree with this analysis?


  1. What does the viewer experience before an image of the Arma Christi?


  1. How does the sacramental gaze work in viewing the Man of Sorrows?


  1. Will we ever leave stop reacting to Mel Gibson? What was the purpose of violence in medieval plays?


  1. Do you agree that the medieval period is inherently theatrical?


  1. What was the effect of kinesthetic perception on the mystery plays?


  1. Why did the successive outbreaks of the plague stimulate the practice of flagellation?


  1. How does flagellation differ from Passion mysticism?


  1. How does the sympathetic magical salvation effect come into play according to Kreuder?


  1. Do you agree with the author’s interpretation of the flagellation as a case of intercorporeal participation?

Questions on Performance, Theater, and Performance Literacy

Acting (Up) in the Middle Ages: Performance, Theater, Performance Literacy



  1. What does medieval theater borrow from the Imitatio Christi in your opinion?



  1. Does Njus give the visual arts enough credit in his analysis of Elisabeth of Spalbeek and medieval performance?


  1. Discuss Elisabeth as a living Veronica.


  1. What is the relationship of the audience to Elisabeth? Does this relationship support Stevenson’s ideas?


  1. Does one gaze at a diptych in the same way as one gazes at a medieval performance?


  1. Do you consider Elisabeth of Spalbeek’s trances a subversive alternative for devout women?


  1. Does the anthropological-art historical bifocal lens reveal the “real” Elisabeth? What was distinctive about Elisabeth compared to other mystics of her time?


  1. Discuss the rebellious nature of Elisabeth’s dances as defined by Rodgers and Ziegler.


  1. “Performance is twice-behaved behavior.” Discuss. Cf. The dance is the dancer….


  1. Do you feel that a phenomenological approach to medieval theater is useful?


  1. How does performance literacy operate in the case of a vernacular play and in viewing the Pavement Hours?


  1. Do you believe that images in a manuscript foreground the reader’s material presence in the devotional text?


  1. In what way does the face of Christ in the Pavement Hours offer a subversive interaction for the reader?

Questions on Ritual, Theater, the Eucharist, and Venerating the Veronica

Questions on Ritual, Church, Theater, the Eucharist, and venerating the Veronica!



  1. One question that keeps emerging from these readings is whether seeing is believing in the later Middle Ages. Where do the authors of these articles stand on this issue?


  1. What occurs when the host is treated as a commodity?


  1. How does the Jew fare in the wake of the Feast of the Corpus Christi and in the Croxton play?


  1. Do you agree with Beckwith’s characterization of the Mass vis à vis theater?


  1. What was the significance of the battle waged at Corbie in the 9th century?


  1. What practices surrounding the Eucharist ensued after the host was proclaimed the holiest of holies by the priest? In other words, in what ways was the Eucharist both a doctrine and a practice?


  1. What was the 13th century trope of the Jew abusing the host? Why was the construction of “the other” necessary in this symbolic system?


  1. What were the two types of images of Christ depicted on the Veronica? Do they correspond to a certain period in time or genre of literature?


  1. How do Hamburger’s findings about the nuns differ from Clark’s ideas about lay women and their respective use of images?


  1. What impact did increased literacy and the flourishing of the book market have upon the Veronica?


  1. Discuss the divergent characterizations of the Virgin Mary in devotional texts and the conduct manuals of the later Middle Ages. Do you agree with Clark’s thesis?


  1. The Veronica may be a metonym for the whole body of Christ or an alternative to the focus on his body. Do you believe the worshiper would respond in different ways to Christ as a Man of Sorrows than he/she would to the image of the Veronica?