Mary Magdalene in Medieval Culture: Conflicted Roles, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Mary Magdalene in Medieval Culture

Conflicted Roles, 1st Edition

Edited by Peter Loewen, Robin Waugh


304 pages

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This innovative and multidisciplinary collection visits representations and interpretations of Mary Magdalene in the medieval and early modern periods, questioning major scholarly assumptions behind the examination of female saints and their depictions in medieval artworks, literature, and music. Mary Magdalene’s many and various characterizations from reformed prostitute to conversion-figure to devotee of Christ to "apostle to the apostles" to spiritual advisor to the Prince of Marseilles to hermit in the desert, to list just a few examples, mean that the many conflicted representations of Mary Magdalene apply to a staggering variety of cultural material, including art, liturgy, music, literature, theology, hagiography, and the historical record. Furthermore, Mary Magdalene has grown into an extremely popular and controversial figure due to recent books and movies concerning her, and due to a groundswell of general speculation concerning her relationship to Jesus: was she his acquaintance, follower, companion, wife, family-member, or lover? This volume employs a broad spectrum of theoretical methodologies in order to present poststructuralist, postcolonial, postmodernist, hagiographic, and feminist readings of the figure of Mary Magdalene, addressing and interrogating her conflicting roles and the precise relationship between her sacred and secular representations.

Table of Contents

Foreword Katherine L. Jansen. Introduction: Where Sacred Meets Secular: The Many Conflicted Roles of Mary Magdalene Peter Loewen and Robin Waugh Part I: Roles in Development 1. Apostle to the Apostles: The Complexity of Medieval Preaching about Mary Magdalene Larissa Juliet Taylor 2. The Proto-Cistercian Office for Mary Magdalene and Its Changes in the Course of the Twelfth Century Alicia Scarcez 3. The Invention and Development of the ‘Secular’ Mary Magdalene in Late Renaissance Florentine Painting Heidi Hornik Part II: Roles in Tension 4.Mary Magdalene as a Model of Devotion, Penitence, and Authority in The Gospels of Henry the Lion and MatildaElizabeth Monroe5. The Late Medieval Mary Magdalene: Sacredness, Otherness, and WildnessJoana Antunes6.Challenging Cluny in England?: Effacing the Priest in the Magdalene Liturgies at Lewes and PontefractDonna Alfano Bussell Part III: Mary Magdalene’s Roles in Action 7. From Apostola Apostolorum to Provençal Evangelist: On the Evolution of a Medieval Motif for Mary MagdaleneDiane Apostolos-Cappadona 8. Mary Magdalene Converts Her Vanities Through Song: Signs of Franciscan Spirituality and Preaching in Late-Medieval German DramaPeter Loewen9. `I wolde I wer as worthy to ben sekyr of thy lofe as Mary Mawdelyn was:’ The Magdalene as an Authorizing Tool in the Book of Margery KempeJuliette Vuille Part IV: Mary Magdalene’s Proto-feminist and other Subversive Roles 10. The Voice of the Heart in a Box in the Middle English Lamentation of Mary MagdaleneRobin Waugh 11. ‘Now is aloft þat late was ondyr!’: Enclosure, Liberation, and Spatial Semantics in the Digby Mary Magdalene Play Joanne Findon12. The Singing Prophetess: Mary of Magdala in J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion Corinna Herr.Afterword Theresa Coletti.

About the Editors

Peter V. Loewen is Associate Professor of musicology at Rice University. He is the author of Music in Early Franciscan Thought (2013), and articles concerning Mary Magdalene in From the Margins 2: Women of the New Testament and their Afterlives (2009); and in Speculum (July 2007), co-authored by Robin Waugh.

Robin Waugh specializes in Old English, Middle English, and Old Norse literature, and is Coordinator of Medieval Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is the author of The Genre of Medieval Patience Literature, co-editor of another book, and has published articles in Modern Philology, Comparative Literature, JEGP, Philological Quarterly, and Speculum.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General