At the very heart of Christian doctrine and late medieval practice was the image of the crucified Christ. Sarah Beckwith examines the social meaning of this image across a range of key devotional English texts, using insights from anthropology and cultural studies.
The image of the crucified Christ, she argues, acted as a place where the tensions between the sacred and the profane, the individual and the collective, were played out. The medieval obsession with the contours of Christ's body functioned to challenge and transform social and political relations.
A fascinating and challenging book of interest not only to students of medieval literature, but also to cultural historians and women's studies specialists.
'An important contribution … will have a profound impact on our thinking about our own practices as historians and literary critics.' - Medium Aevum
'Disarmingly fearless … a brilliant study … Beckwith moves through her arguments with jewelled precision of thought and breathtaking skill … makes a compelling case for the new kinds of questions we should be asking of late-medieval religious texts … more fully and more urgently than any recent book I know.' - Studies in the Age of Chaucer
'An intelligent, original and inspiring book which will interest not only medievalists but all those who face the challenge of studying religious cultures, and of applying social and cultural theory to pre-modern societies.' - History Workshop Journal
' … innovative, exciting and stimulating.' - Women: A Cultural Review