Imagining Heaven in the Middle Ages
A Book of Essays
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Medieval attempts to capture a glimpse of heaven range from the ethereal to the mundane, utilizing media as diverse as maps, cathedrals, songs, treatises, poems, visions and sewer systems. Heaven was at once the goal of the individual Christian life and the end of the cosmic plan. It was, simply stated, perfection. But interpretations varied from the traditional to the dangerously unique as artists and authors, theologians and visionaries struggled to define that perfection. Depending on the source, heaven's attributes vary from height to depth, darkness to light, silence to symphony; the souls within it from activity to passivity, experience to essence, participation to distant admiration. Questions addressed in this anthology include: Are erotic and spiritual love mutually exclusive? Does the soul's happiness depend on the resurrection of the body? What will be the nature of the transfigured body? Will it retain its gender? Will it have senses? Will it know desire? How can desire and fulfillment exist together? Can the human soul ever know God? Contributors to this volume examine well-known and previously unexplored texts and artefacts from historical and art historical, theological, philosophical, and literary perspectives, to complement and challenge more general surveys of the history of heaven, and above all to illuminate the richness and variety of medieval Christian ideas on heaven.
Table of Contents
Corporeality: Harmony and the Senses in the Vision of Tundal, Jan S. Emerson, Eugene Oregon * The Sexualized Body in the Divine Comedy, F. Regina Psaki, University of Oregon * Desire and Fulfillment: John of F camp's Longing for Heaven, Hugh Feiss, O.S.B. * Ascension Priory Idaho, The Discourse of Heaven in Mechthild of Hackeborn's Booke of Gostlye Grace, Barbara Kline * Seattle, Washington * Heaven in Bernard of Cluny's De contemptu mundi, Ronald E. Pepin, Capital Community - Technical College 8 Hadewych of Antwerp's Dark Visions of Heaven, Mary Suydam, Kenyon College-Gambier * Transcendence: Heaven in the Theology of Hugh, Achard, and Richard of St. Victor, Hugh Feiss, O.S.B. * Ascension Priory, Idaho, Thomas Aquinas on Beatitude, Larry Hundersmarck, Pace University * Impassioned Failure: Memory, Metaphor, and the Drive toward Intellection, Dan Terkla, Illinois Wesleyan University * Heaven on Earth: An Attempt to Replicate the Heavenly City through Municipal Legislation, Robert Laures, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee * Pyramus at the Mulberry Tree: De-petrifying Dante's Tinted Mind, Christian Moevs University of Notre Dame