The Voice of Mary: Later Medieval Representations of Marian Communication

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The Voice of Mary: Later Medieval Representations of Marian Communication

Table of contents :
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 01 - Title Page and Abstract
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 02 - Signature Page
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 03 - Front Matter
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 04 - Introduction
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 05 - Chapter 1
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 06 - Chapter 2
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 07 - Chapter 3
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 08 - Chapter 4
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 09 - Conclusion
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 10 - Epilogue
April 2017 - Corcoran Dissertation - 11 - End Matter (v3)
_____. Law, Sex and Christian Society in Medieval Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
Heaney, Seamus P. The Development of the Sacramentality of Marriage from Anselm of Laon to Thomas Aquinas. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1963.

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THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA The Voice of Mary: Later Medieval Representations of Marian Communication A DISSERTATION Submitted to the Faculty of the Department of History School of Arts and Sciences Of The Catholic University of America In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree Doctor of Philosophy © Copyright All Rights Reserved By Vanessa Rose Corcoran Washington, D.C. 2017



   

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The Voice of Mary: Later Medieval Representations of Marian Communication Vanessa R. Corcoran Director: Katherine L. Jansen, Ph.D. It is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of the Virgin Mary’s role in the landscape of medieval Christian spirituality. Innumerable prayers, hymns, sermons, liturgical traditions, and other devotional practices praised her as the Mother of God and imagined her speaking profusely to her supplicants. Yet Mary only spoke in the Bible on four occasions (Luke 1:26-38, 1:46-56, 2:41-52, and John 2:1-11). Why then, given this limited speaking presence, were late medieval authors so intent on giving her an enhanced speaking role in textual sources that augmented her power? The striking transformation from the muted early Christian portrayals of Mary to the later medieval depictions of her as an outspoken matriarch cannot be ignored. My dissertation explores the emergence of Mary’s powerful persona through an examination of her speech as reported in narrative sources from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, including miracle collections, passion narratives, and mystery plays. Within both Latin and vernacular sources, authors expanded upon stories rooted in biblical and apocryphal literature to give Mary a new voice. I argue that the creation and development of “Marian speech” enabled Mary to emerge in the late Middle Ages as a more dominant, influential figure in Christian thought and worship who functioned as an active speaker and effective intercessor. Marian speech as a constructed category has yet to be considered as a means of studying devotion to the Virgin Mary. An analysis of Marian speech reveals the development in articulating her power and place in Christian piety. By analyzing Mary’s voice, this dissertation raises questions about the religious and cultural conditions that prompted this change in how

authors depicted Mary. Each section of the dissertation maps out different representations of Mary’s voice, as expressed in a series of speaking roles: as student and teacher, as wife and mother, and in the sovereign roles of Queen of Heaven, mediatrix, and Empress of Hell. This thematic approach draws attention to the widespread concerns for regulating women’s speech in the Middle Ages and serves as an effective barometer for measuring both religious and social change.

This dissertation by Vanessa R. Corcoran fulfills the dissertation requirement for the doctoral degree in History approved by Katherine L. Jansen, Ph.D., as Director, and by Jennifer R. Davis, Ph.D., Caroline R. Sherman, Ph.D., and Jennifer Paxton, Ph.D. as Readers. ___________________________________________ Katherine L. Jansen, Ph.D., Director

__________________________________________ Jennifer R. Davis, Ph.D., Reader

___________________________________________ Caroline R. Sherman, Ph.D., Reader

___________________________________________ Jennifer Paxton, Ph.D., Reader

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Contents Abbreviations……………………………………………………………………………………..iv Acknowledgements……………………………………………………………………….……….v Introduction: The First Whisperings of Mary’s Voice…………………………...……………….1 Chapter 1: From Silent Sobbing to Speech: Mary’s Lament at the Passion ………………….…40 Chapter 2: “Instructed by Heaven”: Mary’s Medieval Learned Voice…………………..………82 Chapter 3: Medieval Marital Expectations: Marian Speech in the Domestic Sphere..................133 Chapter 4: The Voice between Heaven and Hell: The Virgin Mary as Intercessor……………179 Conclusion: The Great Crescendo……………………………………………………………...237 Epilogue: The Resonance of Mary’s Voice in the Sixteenth Century……………………….…255 Appendix: The Voice of Mary in the Bible………………………………………………..…...269 Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………271

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Abbreviations Works: EETS

Early English Text Society

MED

Middle English Dictionary

OED

Oxford English Dictionary

PL

Patrologia Latina

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Acknowledgements Throughout this process, many were quick to remind me that the dissertation “is a marathon, not a sprint,” and embodying the runner’s mentality I know so well, I am filled with gratitude to all of those who stood at the mile markers and aid stations along the way. Thanks to the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C. for their grant that enabled me to conduct research at the Marian Library and International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton in 2015. The Catholic University of America Hyvernat Scholarship allowed me to focus on writing in Fall 2015, and similarly, the scholarship from The National Organization for Italian-American Women in Spring 2016. The Medieval Academy of America Travel Grant supported my presentation at the 2016 annual meeting, and the American Catholic Historical Association’s travel grant for the 2017 annual meeting did similarly. During these conferences, I was able to meet with scholars who discussed my project with me: Rachel Fulton Brown, Leslie Brubaker, Anne Clark, and Mary Cunningham. Their kindness and support of a young scholar renewed my enthusiasm for my topic. I must extend particular gratitude to Miri Rubin, whose extensive and eloquent research on Mary set a high bar for both admiratio and imitatio and whose spirit of both generosity and friendship I will cherish. Long before I arrived at CUA, many dedicated educators supported and encouraged my academic interests. My history teachers at Spencerport High School, John Deserto and Douglas Hanson, cultivated my love of history and their enthusiasm for the subject propelled me to seek further education in the subject. The College of the Holy Cross offered me my first thorough introduction to the fascinating world of medieval history and provided me with the first cohort of professors who I would later seek to emulate, especially: my first mentor Lorraine Attreed, Theresa McBride, Pamela Mindell, Sarah Stanbury, Fr. Thomas Worcester, and Stephanie Yuhl. v

The Catholic University of America not only shaped me as a medievalist; it became a home and community that supported my interests. I am grateful to Bill Jonas and the Office of the President for involving me in the CUA collaboration with the NMWA’s exhibit, “Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea,” an opportunity of a lifetime. Special thanks to Dr. Kevin Rulo of the Writing Center, whose critical feedback and outside perspective I deeply needed and valued. The entire History Department was deeply supportive of my entire graduate education. Dr. Julia Young offered her personal interest and support, and gave me my first opportunity to aid in the creation of a book. Dean Laura Mayhall provided her sharp insights on historical pedagogy, and Dr. Jerry Muller gave me the opportunity to teach Junior Seminar three times. Dr. Jennifer Paxton satiated my appetite for English history and was in the front row of every conference paper, eager to listen and provide feedback. Dr. Caroline Sherman, who wondered aloud, “so what does it really mean when Mary speaks,” ultimately gave me the question that would drive this entire project, as well as many other rich insights over the years. Dr. Jennifer Davis once remarked to me that “teaching is helping students realize their potential, and then achieving it,” and she took that undertaking wholeheartedly in investing her time and resources in order to make me a better historian. Her independent study on early medieval hagiography galvanized me to finally change topics and was one of the most fulfilling experiences of school. Finally, deepest gratitude goes to Dr. Katherine Jansen, who has been at the helm of my graduate career unceasingly. When she handed Miri Rubin’s Mother of God to me and recommended, “You should write about Mary,” she inspired a project that I loved undertaking. She offered a wealth of resources, advice, copious reading lists, feedback, but also innumerable words of encouragement along the way and made “Operation Endgame” an enjoyable endeavor. Thanks to my classmates who became my friends and offered input throughout the vi

writing process, especially to Carol Anderson, Brian Boosel, Kate Bush, Wes Bush, Ryan Carpenter, Katya Mouris, Austin Powell, Sarah Spalding, and Julie Yarwood. My dearest friends Amanda Daxon, Kathleen Mannava, Jennifer Olsen, and Sara Tully, always gave words of encouragement and support. They have remained the loving sisters I always dreamed of. My extended family was so reassuring throughout the project. The Corcorans welcomed me into their family. Immense gratitude goes to my own Taylor and McGuire relatives, who have supported me since the beginning. My aunts Barbara Crandall and Maryanne O’Connor were enlisted as writing taskmasters. My late grandfather George Taylor would have loved reading the finished product. My grandparents Bob and Lucille McGuire, have always shown interest in my work, especially Lucille, whose love of Mary motivated me to keep writing. My brother Ryan Taylor has always brought so much humor and joy to my life. My parents Doug and Judy Taylor were always a phone call away for both the highs and the lows, and believed in me even when I did not. They have remained twin pillars of inspiration and constant supporters who helped me reach this finish line. All of my victories belong to them as well. I met my wonderful husband Pat soon after reaching ABD status and accepted his proposal two days after the History Department approved my proposal. He built the desk where the proposal and most of the dissertation were written, lovingly smiled when I presented about the often-tumultuous marital relationship between Mary and Joseph, and provided daily support and encouragement as he cheered me on. I am so excited to begin our next chapter together. And for Mary, who was both the subject of the project and a source of comfort throughout, particularly when I knelt at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help chapel at the National Basilica with these words on my lips and in my heart: Salve regina, mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. vii

This dissertation is lovingly dedicated to my grandmother, Lucille McGuire, for immeasurable reasons, and because Mary is “her favorite lady.”

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Introduction: The First Whisperings of Mary’s Voice Maximus the Confessor, a seventh-century theologian and scholar, wrote the first fulllength biography of the Virgin Mary, noting among other attributes, “She was clever with words and had a pleasant voice.” 1 Yet, given that there were only four brief episodes of Mary speaking in the Bible (Luke 1:26-38, 1:46-56, 2:41-52, and John 2:1-11), what would have prompted Maximus to make this observation six centuries later? This statement was an outlier within early medieval Marian devotional texts. When one thinks of Mary in the Bible, it is often as the maiden who quaked at the sight of the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation. However, observations about Mary’s eloquent voice would become quite frequent in a series of later medieval devotional and dramatic sources that reimagined the Mother of God to be an authoritative figure whose voice was an effective instrument of her power. Late medieval Christians viewed Mary as so powerful that one twelfth-century miracle collection described her beating the devil with a stick and verbally attacking him, “redoubling her blows and making them sharper with words, ‘Take that, and go away. I warn you and order you not to harass my monk any more. If you dare to do so, you will suffer worse.”’ 2 The transformation from the muted early Christian portrayals of Mary to the later medieval depictions of her as an outspoken matriarch are striking and call out for analysis. The reasons for this remarkable change are at the center of this study. The case for Mary’s importance in medieval religious culture cannot be overstated. Second only to her son, Mary dominated the landscape of Christian spirituality as expressed in a myriad of prayers, hymns, sermons, liturgical traditions, and other devotional practices. Maximus the Confessor, The Life of the Virgin, trans. Stephen J. Shoemaker (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), 43. 2 “Sed uirgam in diabolum uibrans terque quaterque perculit, ingeminans et acerbans uocibus ictus: ‘Haec habe, et fuge. Ne ultra inquietes monachum meum denuntio et precipio. Quod si presumpseris, deteriora sustinebis.’” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, eds. Michael Winterbottom and R.M. Thomson (Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2015), 53. 1

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Although it is easy to argue for her significance in medieval Christianity, Mary remained a

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“contradiction, a creative state that challenged poets and theologians and composers who tried to express this quality.” 3 Mary’s voice, mysterious and captivating in terms of its profusion in sources, raised a number of compelling questions about her status and influence within Christian devotional practices reckoned with both in the Middle Ages and in today’s scholarship. My dissertation will explore the emergence of Mary’s powerful persona through an examination of her speech as reported in narrative sources of the high and late medieval period. Authors expanded upon stories rooted in biblical and apocryphal literature to give Mary a new voice. I contend that the development and change over time of the creation of “Marian speech” enabled Mary to emerge in the late Middle Ages as a more dominant, influential figure in Christian thought and worship. Additionally, I maintain that by the end of the Middle Ages, Mary’s voice had been imagined and reconstructed, in a manner that suggests that medieval authors had fashioned a new Mary as an active speaker and effective intercessor. Not only did more genres of sources opt to include engaging dialogue, but these sources also conveyed a clear interest in the content and reception of Mary’s voice. Our understanding of the medieval Mary is heightened by “listening” to her voice, which deepens and enriches our understanding of how medieval Christians thought about her. Additionally, because Marian piety was so entrenched in late medieval religion, these sources offer a broad commentary about some of the larger socio-cultural underpinnings of the later Middle Ages. This pervasive written tradition of imagining Mary speaking, both in reinterpreting her role in her own lifetime and speaking to medieval Christian supplicants, signaled an increased desire among Christians to cultivate a dynamic relationship with their spiritual mother. 3

Miri Rubin, Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), xxvi.

This is not to negate Mary’s early medieval role. Rather, earlier devotional materials often

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neglected to provide a speaking voice for her and relegated her to a passive, secondary role. Studies on medieval Marian devotion have thus far remained mute on this dramatic shift in her persona. I will begin this introductory chapter with some observations about the chronological and geographical parameters of the project. Next, I will summarize the appearances of Mary both in biblical and apocryphal sources that provide the inspiration for many of the devotional sources analyzed in this project. Then, I will turn to the medieval sources themselves, explaining how these particular devotional and dramatic sources bolster my argument. I will also outline the two historiographical aims of this dissertation: to enrich our understanding on the medieval persona of Mary and to explore how different representations of Mary’s voice and persona impacted medieval religious culture. Finally, I will offer a précis of the four chapters contained herein.

Chronological and Geographical Parameters of the Project By the time of the later Middle Ages, a number of conditions aided in the development of Mary’s vibrant cult. The “Christianization” of Europe had already largely occurred: “a time of immense social and cultural change—a period of turmoil during which society took comfort in the belief in a substratum of unchanging values.” 4 This process of “Christianization” included both changes in institutional practices from the ecclesiastical hierarchy and the introduction of new cultural rituals and practices that impacted local parish life. The twelfth century is typically associated with the development of Marian devotion across Europe and will serve as the point of

John Van Engen, “The Christian Middle Ages as an Historiographical Problem,” The American Historical Review 91.3 (1986): 541-542; Dyan Elliott, The Bride of Christ Goes to Hell: Metaphor and Embodiment in the Lives of Pious Women, 200-1500 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 106.

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4 departure for this project. It was then that several of the most prominent Marian shrines emerged, including Laon, Rocamadour, Soissons, Walsingham, and by the end of the thirteenth century, Loreto. Simultaneously, a vast catalogue of religious iconography had emerged to illustrate Mary’s life to throngs of churchgoers. This era also witnessed an increased production of miracle collections that documented a variety of miracles attributed to the Virgin Mary. While starting the project in the twelfth century will demonstrate that Marian devotion was on the rise, it will also show that Marian speech had not yet fully developed as a major motif. That would not occur until the thirteenth century, with further development in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The fifteenth century marks the apex of Marian speech as a means of asserting Mary’s authority. In order to understand the phenomenon of what I refer to as “Marian communication,” it is imperative to study its entire trajectory in the later Middle Ages. My geographical focus revolves largely around England as it had a special devotion to Mary, so much so that the region was known as “Mary’s Dowry.” Yet, England also became one of the most contentious areas for Marian devotion by the end of the Middle Ages, culminating in the summer of 1538 when a series of statues of Mary were set on fire in impassioned riots against perceived Mariolatry. Although England remains the central focus of the dissertation, I will incorporate examples of Mary speaking in miracula across Northwestern Europe, including areas in France and Germany where religious orders devoted to Mary, like the Cistercians, produced miracle collections. This region created a variety of textual sources connected with Marian devotion, but also contained many shrines dedicated to Mary, which brought pilgrims in droves who sought to venerate her. 5 Considering a larger area will also allow for the examination

Of course, Marian devotion was not limited to Northern Europe. The cult of Mary in medieval Spain produced many popular devotional texts, such as the thirteenth-century Las Cantigas de Santa María. This was a series of 420 poems in Gallican-Portuguese written in praise of Mary during the reign of Alfonso el Sabio (Alfonso X), and the

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of potential regional differences in the development of Marian speech.

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Of course, caution should be applied when casting such a wide net in terms of chronology and geography. Still, this broad framework reveals that the characterization of Mary as a powerful speaker pervaded a number of genres of medieval sources. Yet, when considering both the broad swath of sources and the different audiences who had access to these materials, like religious historian Thomas Bestul acknowledged: “I do not claim that the audiences were uniform or that their uses of these texts were always identical.” 6 Indeed, medieval authors did not create a singular voice or tone for Mary. Rather, there was a multiplicity of depictions of Mary that existed contemporaneously. Many devotional writers continued to fashion her as a model for obedience and silence. By scarcely offering an expansion to Mary’s voice, these sources adhered to the centuries-long tradition of limiting the voice of women. These different approaches demonstrated that while Mary had nearly universal appeal with medieval Christian audiences, she spoke to and appealed to different components of that world in a variety of ways. The Marian sources that provide her with a powerful voice were accessible to many audiences, thereby introducing future generations to this reimagining of a foundational Christian figure. Despite the culture that embraced this powerful representation of Mary, there remained many

poems are often attributed to him. Particularly within Toledo, Mary was viewed as a symbol of the Reconquest, and accordingly, many devotional sources positioned her as an advocate and champion of Christians fighting against Muslims. See Linda B. Hall, Mary, Mother and Warrior: The Virgin in Spain and the America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004); William A. Christian, Apparitions in Late Medieval and Renaissance Spain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981). Italy also was known for a series of churches and pilgrimages shrines erected in Mary’s honor. Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome was one of the first churches built in honor of the Virgin Mary. Pope Sixtus III (432-440) wanted to commemorate the 431 Council of Ephesus, and ordered the construction of Santa Maria Maggiore to honor the council that proclaimed Mary Theotokos (Mother of God). This marked the beginning of a long tradition of Marian devotional practices within Italy. See Diana Norman, Siena and the Virgin: Art and Politics in a Late Medieval City State (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999); Nancy Frey Breuner, “The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Southern Italy and Spain,” Ethos 20.1 (1992): 66-95. The epilogue of this dissertation will address the shrine of Our Lady of Loreto and discuss how this popular pilgrimage site transcended European devotional culture. 6 Thomas H. Bestul, Texts of the Passion: Latin Devotional Literature and Medieval Society (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996), 6.

6 civic, social, and theological concerns about the parameters and implications of women’s speech. Moreover, it is not initially apparent whether Mary’s powerful voice was meant to counter these concerns, or if Mary’s exceptional status granted her the freedom and mobility to speak, but not as representative of her sex. This is a central question in the study of Marian piety and the status of medieval women. Although these broader questions about gendered speech drive my project, we must first begin with a brief excursus concerning Mary’s role in the Gospels and apocrypha. Doing so will highlight the early framework from which medieval sources drew from when constructing their different depictions of Mary.

Mary in the Bible and Apocrypha This project, like Marian devotion itself, relies heavily on the early construction of Marian stories. These four speaking episodes in the Gospels: The Annunciation, The Visitation and Magnificat, Jesus and the Doctors in the Temple, and The Wedding at Cana (all cited fully in the Appendix), eventually become the basis for extended and creative medieval constructions of Marian speech. These four instances when she spoke (amounting to less than two hundred words), became some of the most frequently cited and remembered passages and inspired a rich series of devotional practices. Interestingly, in a 2014 study, Lindsay Hardin Freeman determined that women’s speech occupies only 1.1% of all of the text in the Bible, and more notably, Mary does not even make the top ten in terms of most outspoken women (those ten women all appear in the Old Testament – Mary is the most prolific female speaker in the New Testament). 7 Although Mary’s appearance in the New Testament is “tantalizingly brief,” a

In descending order, the ten women who talk the most in the Bible (by word count): Judith, the Shaumalmite woman in the Song of Songs, Esther, Mother of seven sons (Maccabees 2, 4), The Woman of Tekoa (2 Samuel),

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summary of her appearances is fundamental to setting the stage for this dissertation. This will

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examine both the segments of Mary’s life that later medieval sources drew their inspiration from, as well as point out how apocryphal materials attempted to fill in the gaps in the story of Mary’s birth and upbringing. Among the four gospels, the Gospel of Mark (written c. 65-80 C.E.) was most likely composed first but does not provide any information about Jesus’s birth or early youth. 9 Subsequently, the other synoptic gospels sought to expand on the portrait of Mary and offer a fuller glimpse into the promising conditions leading to Christ’s birth. The Gospel of Matthew (written c. 80-90 C.E.) references Christ’s lineage (Matthew 1:16) and then, describes the birth of Christ in elaborate detail (Matthew 1:18–25 and 2.7–21). Within these passages, Mary functions solely as a background figure during Christ’s ministry; she is merely noted as being present without any additional information provided. Though Mark and Matthew offer only terse observations, the Gospel of Luke (written c. 80-100 C.E.) supplies the most details about Mary and influenced subsequent Marian narratives. Luke was often referred to as the painter of Mary, meaning that his descriptions of Mary illuminated a colorful portrait of her. The first example of Mary speaking takes place in the Gospel of Luke. Within the Infancy narrative (Luke 1:26-38), we meet Mary as a young virgin betrothed to Joseph. In just twelve verses, the Annunciation not only defined Mary as obedient to

Huldah (2 Kings, 2 Chronicles), Naomi (Ruth), Abigail (1 Samuel), Rebekah (Genesis). Lindsay Hardin Freeman, Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter (Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement Publications, 2015). 8 Jaroslav Pelikan, Mary through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 8. 9 Mary is only identified as “his mother” in Mark 3:31-35: “Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mary is referred to by name in Mark 6:3: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and of Duda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?”

the will of God, but became a scene reimagined countlessly both in visual illuminations and

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written devotional materials. The concise story of the angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary to reveal to her that she will bear the Son of God would be second only to the Passion in terms of representation in pre-modern Western art. 10 Moreover, the short set of verses captivated Christians over countless generations and became the source of many medieval theological and devotional materials. 11 Mary’s fiat (“Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word”) became a model for Christians. Even amid a corpus of late medieval literature that fashioned a new, stronger voice for Mary, there remained a rich tradition of devotional sources that produced extensive glosses on the Annunciation passage where Mary obediently accepted her role as the handmaid of God. For instance, Jacobus de Voragine’s thirteenth-century Golden Legend comments on the significance of Mary’s apprehension, Here we see that the Virgin was worthy of praise in her hearing the words and her reception of them, and in her pausing to think about them. She was praiseworthy for her modesty when she heard the words and remained silent, for her hesitancy at receiving the words, and for her prudence in her thoughtfulness, because she thought about the sense of the greeting. 12 Although the Annunciation narrative was the most memorable Marian story within the Gospel of Luke, this gospel also provided other crucial details about Mary’s life. Luke also described the Visitation: the meeting between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth while both were pregnant. This encounter (Luke 1:46-56) elicited Elizabeth’s greeting, which would become the basis of the Ave Maria prayer. Additionally, Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s Catherine Oakes, Ora pro nobis: The Virgin as Intercessor in Medieval Art and Devotion (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008); Laura Saetveit Miles, “The Origins and Development of the Virgin Mary’s Book at the Annunciation,” Speculum 89.3 (July, 2014): 632-669. 11 Raymond E. Brown goes so far as to claim that “there has been more Marian reflections (and literature) based on this story than on any other in the New Testament.” Raymond E. Brown, Mary in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1978), 112. 12 Jacobus de Voragine, “The Annunciation,” The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, trans. William G. Ryan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), 198. 10

salutation became the Magnificat, a canticle that, beginning in the late fifth century, was recited

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during the Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. The Gospel of Luke provides the detailed narrative of Christ’s birth, and also offers a glimpse of how Mary and Joseph raised Jesus as a boy. This includes the third instance of Mary speaking (Luke 2:48), when she discovers Jesus in the Temple conversing with the Doctors after searching for him in Jerusalem for three days (“Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing”). Her reproving remark stands in opposition to her serenity as depicted in Luke 1. Mary’s final words appear in the Gospel of John (written c. 90-100 C.E.) at the Wedding of Cana (John 2:1–5). This occasion marks the beginning of Christ’s public ministry, in part due to Mary’s prompting remark (“They have no wine.”). Among the Gospels, John is the only one to record Mary’s appearance at the Passion as a witness to the Crucifixion (John 19:25–27). She is also mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as in attendance in the Upper Room after Christ’s Ascension (Acts 1:14). The Gospels acknowledge Mary’s presence at both Christ’s birth and death, but they fail to address the rest of her life. The limited passages did not satisfy early Christians’ desire to know more about Mary. The texts that became the canonical gospels were not the only early Christian texts that attempted to supply biographical details about the Virgin Mary. Because of the “wish to know more about the mother of Christ,” the apocryphal gospels used the biblical fragments to create a more complete portrait of Mary. 13 These early Christian narratives did not merely rework the stories of the canonical gospels, but also inserted new stories. 14 I will only focus on the apocrypha concerned with the development of Marian legends, namely the Protoevangelium of Mary Clayton, The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 6-7. 14 Virginia Nixon, Mary’s Mother: Saint Anne in Late Medieval Europe (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004), 11. 13

10 James (written c. 150 C.E.) and the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (written c. 600-625 C.E.). Other non-canonical narratives borrowed from the Protoevangelium, and later medieval legends and devotional materials would sometimes derive from this second-century account. 15 Practically speaking, the apocrypha are chronologically the closest to the New Testament and there are over one hundred early manuscripts of the Protoevangelium (supposedly written by James, the son of Joseph from his first marriage). 16 In part, the Protoevangelium serves as an apologia for her Immaculate Conception (the teaching that Mary was conceived free from original sin) against pagan slander. Additionally, in an attempt to offer a more developed narrative of Mary, this account sketches out more of her life, including information about her parents Joachim and Anne, Mary’s conception, her early upbringing in the Temple, and her betrothal to Joseph. The Protoevangelium draws attention to signs of Mary’s holiness from her infancy. Additionally, this account laid the foundation for some of the Marian feasts, including the Immaculate Conception (December 8) and the Nativity of Mary (September 8). 17 Despite its popularity, some theologians criticized the Protoevangelium and insisted that it should not be part of the canonical tradition. Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296-373 C.E.) wrote, “There should be no mention at all of apocryphal books created by heretics, who write them whenever they want but try to bestow favor on them by assigning them dates, that by setting them forth as ancient, they can be, on false grounds, used to deceive the simple Jerome condemned the apocryphal text as full of “absurdities” and subsequently Popes Damasus, Innocent I, and Gelasius viewed it as an untrustworthy account. Sherry L. Reames, “Legends of St. Anne, Mother of the Virgin Mary: Introduction,” in Middle English Legends of Women Saints (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2003), 249. 16 James K. Elliott, The Apocryphal Jesus: Legends of the Early Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 192. 17 The “Feast of the Conception of the Most Holy and All Pure Mother of God” had been celebrated in the Eastern Church as early as the fifth century. In the Western Church, the term “immaculate” became associated with this feast day in the twelfth century. Pope Clement XI in 1708 was the first to mark December 8 as a holy day of obligation. The feast of the Nativity of Mary emerged from either Syria or Palestine in the sixth century. Rubin, Mother of God, 9. 15

11 minded.” In addition to individual authors who condemned the Protoevangelium, the Gelasian 18

decree (written c. 519-553 C.E.), which determined which texts would form the canonical tradition, rejected it, along with other “writings which have been compiled or been recognized by heretics or schismatics.” 19 Despite these overt criticisms, such texts continued to play a role in informing particular devotional traditions. The Pseudo-Matthew Gospel incorporated many aspects from the Protoevangelium and like the Protoevangelium, the Pseudo-Matthew Gospel devoted extended space to describing the birth of Mary. 20 It also attempted to fill in the gap between Christ’s infancy and the beginning of his public ministry. The Pseudo-Matthew’s influence is most profoundly evident in numerous references within the Golden Legend by the Dominican Jacobus de Voragine (c. 1230-1298). Moreover, the Pseudo-Matthew Gospel continued to be copied well into the Middle Ages, including illustrated versions that illuminated stories of Christ’s childhood. 21 The Pseudo-Matthew Gospel survives in nearly two hundred extant manuscripts, as well as translations in German, French, and Anglo-Saxon, demonstrating its popularity among medieval devotional narratives. 22 In addition to these early accounts, a series of early Christian conciliar decisions cemented Mary’s key place in the Church and sought to define particular aspects of her sanctity. Among the accomplishments of the ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 was the Nicene Creed. Recited in the Sunday Mass following the homily, this profession of faith included a reference to Athanasius of Alexandria, cited in Tony Burke, Secret Scriptures Revealed: A New Introduction to the Christian Apocrypha (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdnmans Publishing Co., 2013), 3. 19 Hans-Josef Klauck, Apocryphal Gospels: An Introduction, trans. Brian McNeil (New York: T&T Clark LTD, 2003), 3; James K. Elliott, The Apocryphal Jesus: Legends of the Early Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). 20 Clayton, The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Anglo-Saxon England, 20. 21 Rubin, Mother of God, 202, 213. 22 Burke, Secret Scriptures Revealed, 52. 18

12 the Incarnation: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” The Council of Ephesus in 431 affirmed Mary’s title as Theotokos (Mother of God), which was then upheld at the Fourth General Council of Chalcedon in 451. 23 Additionally, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 assigned to Mary the title Aeiparthenos (“ever Virgin”). Although these councils affirmed certain components of Mary’s place in the Church, other issues, such as the Immaculate Conception and Mary’s assumption into heaven, continued to be debated for centuries. 24 Both early Christian narratives and this series of ecclesiastical decrees attempted to define precisely the nature of Mary, and provided the foundation for her medieval cult. In particular, these narratives were compelling enough for later writers to ruminate on and imagine more about Mary, what her life was like before the birth of Christ, and after his death. Later medieval hagiographic texts exhibited a desire to bring the Mother of God and Queen of Heaven closer to the Christians who sought her powerful and heavenly intercession. In an era that This doctrine was disputed, and the following scholarship highlights some of the debates surrounding this particular issue: Richard M. Price, “The Theotokos and the Council of Ephesus,” in Origins of the Cult of Mary, ed. Chris Maunder (New York: Burns & Oates, 2008), 89-104; Averil Cameron, “The Cult of the Virgin in Late Antiquity: Religious Development and Myth-Making,” in The Church and Mary (Studies in Church History 39), ed. Ron Swanson (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2004), 1-21; Richard M. Price, “Marian Piety and the Nestorian Controversy,” The Church and Mary (Studies in Church History 39), ed. Ron N. Swanson (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2004), 3-8; D.F. Wright, “From ‘God-Bearer’ to ‘Mother of God’ in the Later Fathers,” The Church and Mary (Studies in Church History 39), ed. Ron N. Swanson (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2004), 22-30; Luigi Gambero, “Patristic Intuitions of Mary’s Role as Mediatrix and Advocate: The Invocation of the Faithful for her Help,” Marian Studies 52 (2001): 78-101; Sebastian Brock, “Mary in the Syriac Tradition,” in Mary’s Place in Christian Dialogue: Occasional Papers of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, ed. Alberic Stacpoole (Slough, England: St. Paul Publications, 1982), 182-191. 24 The two final dogmas on Mary, her Immaculate Conception (feast day on December 8) and Assumption (feast day on August 15), were not made official until 1854 and 1950, respectively. There are a wealth of studies on the Immaculate Conception; a few of the comprehensive studies include The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance, ed. Edward O’Connor (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958); Sarah Jane Boss, “The Development of the Doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception,” in Mary: The Complete Resource, ed. Sarah Jane Boss (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 207-235; The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church: Essays from the International Symposium in Honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, ed. Donald H. Calloway (Stockbridge, MA: John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, 2004); Carlo Balić, “The Medieval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus,” in The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance, ed. Edward O’Connor (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 161-212. 23

“witnessed the spectacular explosion of devotion to Mary,” these rich sources were filled with

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extensive glosses on a variety of subjects. The miracle collections and other hagiographic texts include discussions about her grief at the Passion, her wisdom, her intercessory powers, and her ability to help Christians seek forgiveness and salvation: all thematic motifs to be explored in this dissertation, as well as examples when Mary’s speech was contested and viewed as disruptive. 25 Because I will analyze several distinct groups of sources, instead of a singular corpus, I will address those sources briefly.

Miracula, Drama, and Devotional Materials: An Overview of the Sources The texts that I will analyze fall into three categories: miracle collections, the English Corpus Christi plays, and more broadly, a series of devotional materials. These sources “use fable and legend as vehicles for religious instruction,” which enables us to examine these texts together. 26 In the section that follows, I will provide background on each group of sources, as well as address caveats about the difficulties of interpretation in each genre. Miracula are collections of miracle stories, popular throughout the Middle Ages. While miracula have garnered a great deal of scholarly attention, my work offers a new approach to consider how Marian miracle stories contribute to our understanding of the medieval persona of Mary. 27 In the twelfth century, collections that foregrounded the speaking voice of Mary were

Donna Spivey Ellington, review of Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary by Miri Rubin (review no. 820), in Reviews in History http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/820 (October 2009). Date accessed: 4 October 2016. 26 Boulton, Sacred Fictions of Medieval France, 6. 27 Benedicta Ward’s book remains one of the clearest studies on miracula, with a short section on Marian miracula. Benedicta Ward, Miracles and the Medieval Mind: Theory, Record, and Event 1000-1250 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982). Other major studies include include: Pierre-André Sigal, L’homme et les miracles dans la France médiévale (XI-XIIe siècles) (Paris: Cerf, 1985); Michael E. Goodich, Miracles and Wonders: The Development of the Concept of Miracles, 1150-1350 (Burlington: Ashgate, 2007); Ronald Finucane, Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England, 2nd ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995); Simon Yarrow, Saints and Their Communities: Miracle Stories in Twelfth-Century England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006); Rachel 25

first produced. I argue that the following collections are notable for the emphasis they place on

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Mary as teacher and intercessor. 28 These “sound bites” adapted and reworked Mary’s persona to appeal to a medieval Christian audience that was yearning to hear from their spiritual mother. Assigning voices to the figures in the miracula was a change from the narrative format that had previously dominated the genre in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries. The dialogic format became popular as part of a broader trend in university culture. Eventually, the use of dialogue became integrated in polemical, theological, literary, narrative sources, as well as within the miracula genre. Specifically, Alex Novikoff has claimed that dialogue was so pervasive in medieval culture that it requires a new assessment of its multiplicity of uses. 29 The new scholarly interest in the role of dialogue in medieval society provides one context for my examination of the implications of Marian dialogues found in miracle collections. The representations of Mary speaking that I will examine are exemplary of this trend. I provide here a brief introduction to each of the collections that I will use in both Chapters Two and Four.

Koopmans, Wonderful to Relate: Miracle Stories and Miracle Collecting in High Medieval England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). Additionally, Mary and miracula are both major topics of scholarship, as well as research more particularly on Marian miracula. R.W. Southern, ‘The English Origins of the ‘Miracles of the Virgin,’’ Medieval and Renaissance Studies 4 (1958): 176–216; Kati Ihnat, “Marian Liturgies and Marian Miracles in the Benedictine Tradition of Post-Conquest England,” in Contextualising Miracles in the Christian West, 11001500: New Historical Approaches, eds. Matthew Mesley, Louise Wilson (Toronto: Medium Aevum, 2013), 63-98. Ihnat’s study demonstrates that for historians, there is a dual method of interpretation of the Marian miracles. The collections respond to institutional developments and social pressures in general, as well as intellectual debates about the role of Mary. See also Ruth Mazo Karras, “The Virgin and the Pregnant Abbess: Miracles and Gender in the Middle Ages,” Medieval Perspectives 3 (1991): 112-132; Gabriella Signori, Maria zwischen Kathedrale, Kloster und Welt: Hagiographische und historiographische Annäherungen an eine hochmittelalterliche Wunderpredigt (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1995). 28 Gábor Klaniczay explores the concept of hagiographical pedagogy in both early medieval and thirteenth-century miracles (such as St. Foy, St. Elisabeth of Hungary [Thuringia]). This kind of miracle has a distinct “hagiographical pedagogy” and had an educative and pedagogical aim, particularly when constructed as coercive and directed toward lower classes. Gábor Klaniczay, “Healing with Certain Conditions,” Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes 19 (June 2010): 235-248. 29 Novikoff suggests that a broader, more inclusive definition of dialogue and its influence on medieval culture would enable a deeper understanding of this popular cultural practice. Alex J. Novikoff, “Toward a Cultural History of Scholastic Disputation,” The American Historical Review 117.2 (April 2012): 331-364; Alex J. Novikoff, “Anselm, Dialogue, and the Rise of Scholastic Disputation,” Speculum 86 (2011): 387-418; Alex J. Novikoff, The Culture of Disputation in Medieval Europe (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

15 William of Malmesbury (1080-1143), best known as an English chronicler, also wrote a text known as the Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the earliest and largest Marian miracle collections. 30 A Benedictine monk who expressed a profound devotion to Mary, William assembled this collection in 1135. He was part of a larger wave of authors who wrote extensively about the subject of the Virgin Mary, including his contemporaries such as Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) and his student, Honorius of Autun (1080-1151), whose devotional materials contributed to the expanding cult of Mary in twelfth-century England. Amid this upsurge in hagiographic writings about the Virgin Mary, William of Malmesbury’s collection represents a shift in the construction of Marian miracle stories: dialogue plays a greater role in this particular account. 31 Additionally, this collection includes many stories that praise Mary as both a learned figure and a powerful intercessor. Caesarius of Heisterbach’s Dialogus Miraculorum (written between 1219 and 1223) is one of the earliest continental miracle collections to craft a powerfully vocal Mary, who was fully engaged in dialogue with her supplicants. 32 Writing in a Cistercian abbey, Caesarius of Heisterbach both reshaped popular legends that had been passed down for generations and also wrote new miracle stories. His Dialogue served as a manual for Cistercian novices at his priory

Peter Carter, “The Historical Content of William of Malmesbury’s Miracles of the Virgin Mary,” in The Writing of History in the Middle Ages: Essays Presented to Richard William Southern, eds. R.H.C. Davis and J.M. WallaceHadrill (London: Oxford University Press, 1981), 127-165. 31 Compare with the contemporaneous miracle collection from the Marian shrine at Soissons, authored by Hugh Farsit sometime after 1143. The following example described Mary’s intervention to cure the sick: “Henceforward the most blessed Virgin, mother of piety, with profuse kindness assuaged and healed however many came each day and they returned to their own with their pain gone.” Although the story makes it evident that Mary was an effective intercessor, there is no example of Mary speaking directly to her supplicants. Hugo Farsitus, Libellus de Miraculis B. Mariae Virginis in urbe Suessionensi. PL 179: cols. 1773-1800. The miracle stories I will analyze offer many examples of Mary speaking to her supplicants. 32 Caesarius of Heisterbach, Dialogue on Miracles, trans. H. Von E. Scott and C. C. Swinton Bland (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1929). 30

16 in Germany until the eve of the Reformation. Caesarius extols Mary through colorful examples 33

of her love and compassion, as well as instances when she intervened to punish those who blasphemed or acted impiously against her. These stories “reveal a genuine interest on Caesarius’s part in the condition of the laity and the priests who are supposed to be looking after its spiritual needs.” 34 Caesarius’s collection served as a model for late medieval miracula, to the extent that other authors explicitly cited Caesarius’s work as the basis for their versions of certain Marian legends. Although many of the miracle stories I analyze throughout this dissertation emerge from Marian-focused miracle collections, I will also briefly mention another set of Marian miracle stories that are found interspersed with other hagiographical texts, instead of appearing in dedicated miracle collections. For example, the South English Legendary (written c. 1290, and then reproduced throughout the fifteenth century) was a Middle English hagiographical work containing both vitae and sermons. The late thirteenth/early fourteenth-century Gesta Romanorum included non-religious legends as well as devotional narratives that included miracle stories that depicted Mary in verbal disputes with the devil. This format was similar to the Vernon Manuscript, a late fourteenth-century English compendium of religious poetry and prose, which featured a retelling of the Theophilus miracle. For his late fourteenth/early fifteenth-century Festial, a collection of Middle English homilies, Augustinian Canon John Mirk drew much inspiration from the style of Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend, and included For more on the translation and dissemination of the Dialogue, see Elena Koroleva, “The Dialogus miraculorum in the light of its fifteenth-century German translation by Johannes Hartlieb,” in The Art of Cistercian Persuasion in the Middle Ages and Beyond: Caesarius of Heisterbach’s Dialogue on Miracles and Its Reception, eds. Victoria Smirnova, Marie Anne Polo de Beaulieu and Jacques Berlioz (Boston: Brill, 2015): 227-241. 34 Canons of the Fourth Lateran Council urged the clergy to reach out to the laity. Brian Patrick McGuire maintains that Caesarius of Heisterbach’s stories are an indirect consequence of this particular ecclesiastical effort. Brian Patrick McGuire, “Friends and Tales in the Cloister: Oral Sources in Caesarius of Heisterbach’s Dialogus Miraculorum,” Analecta Cisterciensia 36 (1980): 231. 33

17 exemplary stories about Mary as Jacobus had done. Many scholars have attributed the dearth of “traditional” Middle English miracle collections during the thirteenth and fourteenth century to the destruction of such materials during the English Reformation. Adrienne Boyarin counters this explanation by pointing to the “miscellaneous” nature of the extant Marian devotional texts of this period. Because these Marian stories were interspersed within broader hagiographic texts, these stories avoided destruction by the reformers who incinerated texts believed to promote Mariolatry. 35 This group of sources represents a body of late medieval English sources that took creative liberties with how they represented Mary’s voice. But this trend was not confined to England. Familiar with Caesarius’s work, Johannes Herolt (d. 1468), a Dominican preacher in Basel, assembled over one hundred miracle stories “to strengthen in love for her the hearts of the faithful.” In his prologue to Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he states that they will demonstrate “how the Blessed Virgin succors men, women, and children, in life, in death, and after death, in all needs and straits.” 36 Herolt’s collection includes revised versions of well-known tales, such as Theophilus’s pact with the devil; he also borrowed stories from the Dialogus Miraculoroum which were noted as such: “this is from Caesarius.” Herolt utilized Caesarius’s dialogic method, assigning a forceful voice to Mary in his original miracle stories. Returning to England, an extant Middle English collection that demonstrates the emergence of this new Marian persona is Wynken de Worde’s Myracles of Our Lady, a late fifteenth-century compilation. Its popularity was so great that it was printed in 1496, 1514, and

Adrienne Williams Boyarin, Miracles of the Virgin: Law and Jewishness in Marian Legends (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2010), 138-148. See also Carol M. Meale, “The Miracles of Our Lady: Context and Interpretation,” in Studies in the Vernon Manuscript, ed. Derek Pearsall (Rochester, NY: D.S. Brewer, 1990), 115-136. 36 Johannes Herolt, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, trans. C.C. Swinton Bland (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1928), 8. 35

37

1530. Wynken de Worde, who was a layman and a student of the great fifteenth-century

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English printer William Caxton, assembled a collection of 48 Middle English miracles. This Middle English collection was largely reminiscent of Latin collections, continuing a pattern of revising and recasting old miracle stories, and presenting them in a dialogic format that framed Mary as a teacher of devotional practices and a powerful intercessor. While I include some collections that indicate that miracle-story compilers shaped Mary as an authoritative teacher and intercessor on the Continent, the English miracle collections represent the core of my study, as England had a broader range of Marian liturgies and devotional practices. 38 Nevertheless, both geographical regions share common stories and themes that make it feasible to examine them together under the lens of Mary as an authority figure. I have excluded from consideration Marian miracle collections whose provenance can be traced to shrines such as Laon and Soissons on the grounds that they focus more on the pilgrims’ supplications than on eliciting information about Mary’s persona. 39 Additionally, the collections I examine have not been fully scrutinized and therefore merit further consideration. Like the miracle collections, mystery plays took similar liberties in crafting a persona for Mary that accentuated her agency and power to influence Christian supplicants who turned to her for spiritual edification and support. The Corpus Christi dramas, represent a rich expression of

Wynken de Worde, The Myracles of Oure Lady: Edited from Wynkyn de Worde’s Edition, ed. Peter Whiteford (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1990). 38 Boyarin, Miracles of the Virgin, 6. 39 The twelfth-century French Marian collections of Laon and Soissons fall into this category. These collections are tied to specific pilgrimage shrines, which include relics of the Virgin, such as the Slipper Chapel in Soissons. Hugh Farsit, a canon at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame wrote the Soissons collection, and the Laon collection described the relic tour of 1113 by the canons of St Mary of Laon, who traveled from Dover to Bodmin with threads from the chemise and hair from the head of the Virgin Mary. See Hugo Farsitus, Libellus de Miraculis B. Mariae Virginis in urbe Suessionensi. PL 179: cols. 1773-1800; Gautier de Coincy, Les Miracles de Notre Dame, ed. V. Fréderic Koening. 4 vols. (Geneva: Droz, 1955); Simon Yarrow, Saints and Their Communities, 63-99; David A. Flory, Marian Representations in the Miracle Tales of Thirteenth-Century Spain and France (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2000). 37

19 lay piety that were performed on the relatively new feast day of Corpus Christi (a post-Pentecost feast that commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist). 40 Each of the four cycles (York, Chester, Wakefield, and N-Town), divided into distinct pageants that illuminated the stories of salvation history, reshaped these accounts to suit a medieval audience. Telling biblical stories from Creation to Doomsday, these were public performances that included a wide variety of participants, including guild sponsors, actors, authors, and the audience. Each extant cycle is linked with a particular manuscript that is tied to a specific date and/or place of performance, but many uncertainties remain. The size and demographics of each audience varied, and the particular background of the authors of these dramas remain unclear. Although clerics may have assisted the scribe-compilers, they did not explicitly author the texts. Additionally, the theological motifs are not the only themes within the pageants: there are also many pointed references to medieval social customs. 41 The Corpus Christi dramas functioned within the public sphere as they joined together various civic and religious communities. 42

Beginning with Canon 1 that defined transubstantiation at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, the thirteenth century placed a great deal of importance on the sacrament of the Eucharist. In 1264, adoration of the Eucharist reached a new pinnacle when Pope Urban IV sanctioned Corpus Christi as a post-Pentecost feast in the papal bull Transiturus de hoc mundo. It was a moveable feast, held on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, ranging between May 23 and June 24. The papal bull was reaffirmed at the Council of Vienne in 1311 by Pope Clement V, and then by Pope John XXII in 1317. Initially, it was not widely celebrated in England: the first mention of its celebration in England was at Ipswich in 1325. For more on the development of this feast day and its cultural implications, see Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). 41 Andrea Buboc, “Lay Performances of Work and Salvation in the York Cycle,” Comparative Drama 43.2 (Summer 2009): 247-271. Kate Normington addresses the “exclusive male hierarchy” of bishops, canons, and city fathers that authorized and produced the plays, as well as the impact of understanding medieval women in light of this in “Giving Voice to Women: Teaching Feminist Approaches to the Mystery Plays,” College Literature 28.2 (Spring, 2001): 130-154. See also Theresa Coletti, “A Feminist Approach to the Corpus Christi Plays,” in Approaches to Teaching Medieval English Drama, ed. Richard Emmerson (New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1990), 78-89. 42 Different craft guilds sponsored the pageants, which were performed at different stations throughout the city, and moved throughout the town via a wagon. For more on the production, staging, and other performative aspects of the plays, see Twycross, “The Theatricality of Medieval English Plays,” in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre, Second Edition, eds. Richard Beadle and Alan J. Fletcher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 26-74; Richard Beadle, “The York Corpus Christi Play,” in The Cambridge Companion, eds. Richard Beadle and Alan J. Fletcher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 108. By using civic records, historians 40

20 To refer to these dramas as “Corpus Christi cycles” makes them appear to be a cohesive set. However, the term Corpus Christi play was not even used until the sixteenth century, when a scribe-compiler wrote “the plaie called Corpus Christi” at the top of an N-Town manuscript. 43 I will use the term Corpus Christi cycles to distinguish these English plays from other biblical dramas, even though the cycles are only loosely connected and are compilations that evolved over an extended period of time. 44 Each of the four extant cycles provides a varying degree of Marian-centric pageants. N-Town was the only cycle to address Mary’s childhood (discussed in Chapters Two and Three), whereas York featured more extensive pageants on her assumption into heaven and coronation as Queen of Heaven (addressed in Chapter Four). Therefore, examining the different cycles will accentuate the distinctions between how these liturgical dramas depicted Mary and crafted her speaking voice. 45 The York Cycle is both the oldest and the largest, containing over thirteen thousand lines of verse in forty-seven pageants in British Library, MS. Add. 35290. 46 In addition to its massive length, performances of the York cycle had the longest lifespan. The York Memorandum Book references Corpus Christi pageant wagons as early as 1377, and regular performances occurred until 1569. 47 The language of this cycle indicates knowledge of a wide variety of religious

of medieval drama have carefully mined the REED (Records of Early English Drama) to understand the social context of these performances, but this is more concerned with the logistics of the individual performances of each cycle. Because of the registers that record the finances behind the productions, scholars can assess some of the reception of the plays. See York, eds. Alexandra F. Johnston and Margaret Rogerson, 2 vols. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977). 43 Alan J. Fletcher, “The N-Town Plays,” in Medieval English Theatre, ed. Richard Beadle (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 185. 44 Clifford Davidson, Festivals and Plays in Late Medieval Britain (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007), 79. 45 Marianne G. Briscoe, “Preaching and Medieval English Drama,” in Contexts for Early English Drama, eds. Marianne G. Briscoe and John C. Coldewey (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 150-172; Martin Stevens, Four Middle English Mystery Cycles: Textual, Contextual, and Critical Interpretations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987). 46 The York Plays, ed. Richard Beadle (London: Edward Arnold, 1982). 47 The manuscript was written into the city’s register sometime between 1463 and 1477. Pageants such as the Wedding at Cana and the Feast in Simon’s House were never officially entered into the register. Others were

21 literature. Additionally, over one-quarter of the pageants included the Virgin Mary and provide 48

a diverse set of representations of Mary’s voice, meaning that the pageants offer a more creative reimagining of Mary’s role in the story of salvation. This was not the case for all of the cycles. The Chester cycle, another “complete” cycle, was performed annually from 1422 to about 1521, and last performed as a complete cycle in 1575. 49 This cycle of 25 pageants was performed over the course of three days, compared to York’s massive single-day performance. 50 In the Chester play, Mary takes on a more passive role, akin to her limited role in the Gospel of John. The Wakefield cycle contains 32 pageants and was performed until 1576. 51 Like in the Chester cycle, Mary’s role was limited and made minimal contributions to the outcome of the pageants, as her responses were largely confined to reiterations of her speaking passages from the Bible. The most complex and misunderstood cycle is the N-Town cycle, formerly mislabeled as Ludus Coventriae, or Hegge Cycle, based on the manuscript’s previous owner. 52 The “N” stood for nomen, and signified that the place of the performance could be filled in. N-Town (BL MS Cotton Vespasian D.8) was a moveable cycle in terms of location, most likely rooted in East stricken because they were deemed to be a farce. For example, the funeral of the Virgin play was ultimately dropped from the York Cycle in 1431 because it reportedly caused an excessive amount of laughing and was not regarded as a serious performance. See Ruth Evans, “When a Body Meets a Body: Fergus and Mary in the York Cycle,” New Medieval Literatures I, ed. W. Scase, R. Copeland, and D. Lawton (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 193-212. 48 Richard Beadle, “Verbal Texture and Wordplay,” Early Theatre 3 (2000): 173. It has been argued that Augustinian canons had some influence on a few of the pageants, based on an inventory of the library of the Augustinian Friary in York that contained many of the non-scriptural sources that were incorporated within the cycle. Alexandra F. Johnston, “Acting Mary: The Emotional Realism of the Mature Virgin in the N-Town Plays,” in From Page to Performance: Essays in Early English Drama, ed. John A. Alford (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1995), 85-98; Alexandra F. Johnston, “The York Cycle and the Libraries of York,” in The Church and Learning in Later Medieval Society: Essays in Honour of R. B. Dobson, eds. Caroline M. Barron and Jenny Stratford (Donnington: Shaun Tyas, 2002), 355-370. 49 The Chester Mystery Cycle, eds. R.M. Lumiansky and David Mills (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1974). 50 Lawrence M. Clopper, “The History and Development of the Chester Cycle,” Modern Philology 75.3 (Feb., 1978): 219-246. 51 Unlike the other cycles, which were intricately connected to the various craft guilds, Wakefield was not “produced” by guilds; rather this cycle had other civic or religious support. It is often mislabeled as the “Townley Cycle,” which was the surname of the family that possessed the manuscript. The Wakefield Pageants in the Towneley cycle, ed. Arthur C. Cawley (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1958); Barbara Palmer, “‘Townley Plays’ or ‘Wakefield Cycle’ Revisited,” Comparative Drama 21.4 (Winter, 1987-1988): 318-348. 52 The N-Town Plays, ed. Douglas Sugano (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2007).

53

Anglia and containing 42 pageants. N-Town is not “the shy and misunderstood intellectual

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sibling to three boisterous brothers of the other extant cycles,” as previous historians had characterized this undervalued cycle. Historians had failed to give this complex cycle full consideration in earlier scholarship. 54 Instead, with an embedded “Mary Play,” it provides one of the most extensive medieval depictions of the life of Mary via a public performance. Peter Meredith contends that there is reason to give N-Town extra scrutiny for the sake of understanding Mary, asserting that second only to Christ, she is the most important figure in the cycle. Moreover, he maintains that the structure of N-Town serves to heighten Mary’s prominence. 55 Depicting the life of Mary from her conception through her assumption into heaven, the cluster of Marian pageants could be performed independent from the larger cycle. 56 The unique structure of this cycle gives us the freedom to examine particular pageants independently. 57 Therefore, N-Town and the York cycle merit the most extended analysis because their pageants include the largest number of Marian pageants, the widest range of Mary’s voice, and feature Mary in dialogue with different male interlocutors. Finally, this project, like Marian devotion itself, is influenced by the theology that informed how Christians sought to connect with Mary. I will not eschew theological debates entirely in this dissertation. Instead, I will examine how particular debates about Mary’s distinct

Given the late medieval popularity of the nearby shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, it is unsurprising that a Corpus Christi cycle with an independent and complex Mary Play emerged in East Anglia. Emma Maggie “Madonna, Whore: Mary’s Sexuality in the N-Town Plays,” Comparative Drama 48.3 (Fall 2014): 191; Gail Murray Gibson, Theater of Devotion: East Anglian Drama and Society in the Late Middle Ages (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 137-175. 54 John T. Sebastian, Review of The N-Town Play: Drama and Liturgy in Medieval East Anglia by Penny Granger, in The Medieval Review (September 17, 2012). 55 Peter Meredith, “Introduction,” in The Mary Play: from the N. Town Manuscript, ed. Peter Meredith (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1997). 56 Penny Granger, The N-Town Play: Drama and Liturgy in Medieval East Anglia (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2009), 30. 57 Fletcher, “The N-Town Plays,” 189. 53

23 roles inform the thematic topics that frame each chapter. In doing so, I will highlight how some devotional materials departed from conventional theological interpretations of Mary. These hagiographical materials were used to offer supplemental information about Mary, increase devotion to her, or facilitate prayer. Some authors opted to maintain a more conservative approach to portraying Mary. Alternatively, other Marian sources elected to frame her as a powerful, authoritative figure, whose voice carried more influence than has traditionally been recognized by scholars. This later group of sources is the driving force of this project. The key biblical stories about Mary were retold in numerous genres, including non-canonical gospels, liturgy, sermons, poems, hymns,, private prayers, and visionary literature: all undergoing different “enlargements and modifications” to suit the changing audience’s needs. 58 Just as Bynum did not ever intend to debate the veracity of food-related miracles as recounted in medieval accounts in her seminal work Holy Feast and Holy Fast, it is not my intention to dispute the accuracy of the apparitions and miracles performed that were recounted in the miracle collections. 59 Like any study of medieval hagiography, it is implausible to expect that all of these “conversations” with Mary occurred precisely as written, or even at all. Rather, these stories pointed to a deep-seated desire to offer a detailed portrait of the woman who had such a fundamental impact on the landscape of medieval Christianity. For example, the Golden Legend, one of the most influential hagiographical works of the Middle Ages, represents the effects of centuries of intertwining canonical, apocryphal, and medieval legends about the lives

Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 24. “I am interested in what medieval people experienced, and while I have a historian’s skepticism about all evidence, I also, as a historian, prefer to start my study of the past with what people in the past said themselves.” Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast, 8.

58 59

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of the saints, including Mary. Occasionally, I will include some images that help underscore

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my argument about particular ways that medieval devotional materials deliberately shaped Mary’s persona. These visual illuminations provided memorable representations that likely shaped how medieval Christians imagined Mary and help bring particular aspects about Mary into sharper focus when considered alongside the narrative texts. 61 Utilizing a variety of sources within each chapter will help reveal the complexities of each of Mary’s roles.

Assessing Recent Historiography of Medieval Religious Culture Analyzing the various representations of Mary’s voice allows me to pursue two interrelated historiographical goals. First, because this project aims to further illuminate Mary’s role in medieval Christian practices, this project therefore contributes to the broader field of medieval religious culture. After all, Mary was the most influential woman in Christian spirituality and thus played a significant role in the landscape of both devotional practices and formal theological discussions. Ignoring Mary’s voice would be detrimental to the field at large. In a narrower subfield, my dissertation contributes to studies of Marian devotion, specifically, the scholars who seek to categorize Mary’s late medieval identity as dynamic and powerful. My aim is to join these two bodies of scholarship together through the lens of Mary’s voice. I will now briefly address some of the key scholarship in both of these fields and discuss how each influences my work and how my work will contribute to both fields. I will begin by assessing the broader historiographical field of medieval religious culture, and then will proceed to address developments in the field of Marian scholarship. Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, 2 vols., trans. William G. Ryan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). 61 Gary Waller, A Cultural Study of Mary and the Annunciation: From Luke to the Enlightenment (London: Pickering & Chatto Ltd., 2015), 4. 60

Within the field of medieval religious culture, the most productive scholarship recently

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has emphasized lived religious experience. It has nearly been a century since historians had to defend their use of hagiographic sources from the criticism that this highly stylized genre does not offer an authentic representation of medieval life. Since the days of Hippolyte Delahye, Herbert Grundmann, and André Vauchez, historians have recognized that much can be gained from examining vitae, canonization records, and other records concerning the lives of saints. Early seminal works like Delehaye’s The Legends of the Saints: An Introduction to Hagiography (1907) and Grundmann’s Religious Movements in the Middle Ages (1935) sought to examine hagiography to understand the role of saints within medieval society and to use this particular genre to gain a better understanding of devotional practices in the Middle Ages. 62 Additionally, Vauchez’s Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages (1978) fused together hagiographical texts and canonization records to reflect a better understanding of the mentalitiés of both the clerical world and lay practitioners of the Christian faith. 63 Consequently, my project seeks to use Marian devotional sources to elucidate more about the religious and cultural practices of the period, and shed more light on those who participated in these vibrant traditions. This study demonstrates why an investigation of the transformation of Mary’s medieval persona must include an investigation of speech, as it was a key part of her medieval characterization. In his assessment of the field of medieval religious history, John Van Engen has called for historians to view the practices of the “clerical elite” and “popular religion” not in total

62 Hippolyte Delehaye, The Legends of the Saints: An Introduction to Hagiography, trans. Donald Attwater (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1998). Herbert Grundmann advocated for both the seriousness of the religious movements of the Middle Ages and their feverish religious motivations. Herbert Grundmann, Religious Movements in the Middle Ages, revised edition, trans. Donald Attwater (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Press, 1995). 63 André Vauchez, Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, trans. Jean Birrell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

26 opposition, but as part of a more interwoven and complicated religious culture. This framework 64

does not just point to a “dramatic shift downward,” in terms of approach but begs for us to appreciate the “medieval cultural legacy” of medieval religion and its influence on medieval culture at large. 65 Specifically, Van Engen insists on the importance of studying how the “explosion” of medieval religious literature shaped both “religious practices and religious teachings.” 66 Broadly speaking, the challenge for medieval religious historians is “allowing for pluralism and individuality, for commonalities and explosive energies, for religion and society, also for those traits distinctive to medieval Christian beliefs and aspirations, rites and practices, culture and thought.” 67 Van Engen’s remarks also connect with the objective of Eamon Duffy’s 1992 The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c.1400-c.1580, which sought to uncover the “remarkable degree of religious and imaginative homogeneity across the social spectrum” in late medieval English religious practices. 68 Duffy sought to bring together a diverse set of devotional sources to examine broad trends in traditional religious culture in England. With that in mind, my own work is cognizant of the reciprocal influence between popular devotional sources and medieval theological writings about Mary. This project is written in the wake of Caroline Walker Bynum’s Holy Feast, in which a hagiographical inquiry into female fasting practices highlighted the gendered differences in

John Van Engen, ‘The Christian Middle Ages as an Historiographical Problem,” 519-552; John Van Engen, “The Future of Medieval Church History,” in Church History, 71.3 (2002): 492-522. Van Engen pointed to the work of Jean Delumeau, who had only then-recently deemed that medieval Christian spirituality was superficial at best, “it was the legend of the Christian Middle Ages,” a practice only codified by the early modern age. Van Engen, “The Christian Middle Ages as an Historiographical Problem,” 521. 65 John Van Engen, “The Christian Middle Ages as an Historiographical Problem,” 535. 66 John Van Engen, “The Future of Medieval Church History,” 521. 67 Ibid., 522. 68 Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c.1400-1580 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 3. 64

27 terms of approaches to Eucharistic piety. Bynum’s work offers a clear benchmark to evaluate 69

the subsequent innovations in medieval gender studies. Her work set into motion a series of studies on female sanctity and piety, as well as issues of gender within Christian religious practices. 70 Given that gendered speech is part of the thrust of this dissertation, it is important to uncover the series of motivations behind creating such colorful dialogue that portrayed the Mother of God in such compelling ways.

Recent Developments in Marian Scholarship Recent Marian scholars who have categorized the later Middle Ages as the apex of Mary’s influence have described her as a formidable and authoritative figure. My project will contribute to this recent reconsideration of Mary’s medieval persona. I argue that medieval authors crafted a powerful speaking voice for Mary that enhanced her power and influence. To set my work in context, I will first assess the historiographical contributions of several seminal Marian works, and then identify the more closely related scholarship that is focused on examining Mary as a powerful figure. While it was the twelfth century that witnessed an unprecedented expansion in devotional

Caroline Walker Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1987). Scholars such as Natalie Zemon Davis were clear precursors to Bynum. Davis’s work on women’s history laid the groundwork for later studies in medieval gender. Natalie Zemon Davis, “‘Women’s History’ in Transition: The European Case,” Feminist Studies 3.3-4 (1976): 83103. Dyan Elliott also provides a widespread summary of trends within gender studies in “The Three Ages of Joan Scott,” American Historical Review 113 (2008): 1390-1403. 70 While this is a vast field, a few of the foremost studies include Dyan Elliott, Spiritual Marriage: Sexual Abstinence in Medieval Wedlock (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993); Anne Clark Bartlett, Male Authors, Female Readers: Representation and Subjectivity in Middle English Devotional Literature (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995); Catherine Mooney, ed., Gendered Voices: Medieval Saints and their Interpreters, (Philadelpha, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999); John Coakley, Women, Men and Spiritual Power: Female Saints and their Male Collaborators (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006); Catherine Mooney, “Voice, Gender, and the Portrayal of Sanctity,” in Gendered Voices: Medieval Saints and Their Interpreters, 1–15; Barbara Newman, “Hildegard and her Hagiographers: The Remaking of Female Sainthood,” in Gendered Voices: Medieval Saints and Their Interpreters, 16-34. 69

28 material produced about the Virgin Mary, it was the end of the twentieth century that produced a wealth of scholarship concerning the socio-cultural impact of Mary within medieval Christian devotion. Marina Warner’s Alone of All Her Sex raised much controversy among Marian scholars in 1976 when she claimed that the phenomenon of Marian devotion ultimately limited the role of “real women.” Specifically, she claimed, “in the very celebration of the perfect human woman, both humanity and women were subtly denigrated.” 71 Warner’s survey of Marian devotion sought to show ways in which the near perfection of Mary (“the very conditions that make the Virgin sublime”) provided an unattainable model that women are unable to fulfill. 72 Although many scholars have rejected this idea that Marian devotion is in opposition to feminist thinking, Warner’s argument continues to be loom large within Marian scholarship. Jaroslav Pelikan’s 1996 survey Mary through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture endeavors to survey Mary’s changing roles in various historical and geographical cultures. By examining different historical, theological, and cultural representations of Mary across the centuries, Pelikan underscores the need to examine Mary, who “has been more of an inspiration to more people than any other woman who ever lived,” through a complex lens that incorporates a wide variety of medieval devotional materials. 73 Miri Rubin continues with this effort to incorporate a broad mixture of evidence in her magisterial Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary, which explores, “the history of the ideas, practices and images that developed around the figure of the Virgin Mary from the earliest times until around the year 1600.” 74 Using an interdisciplinary approach that spans both a wide geographical and chronological framework, Rubin articulates the need to consider how competing conceptions of Mary created numerous Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (New York: Knopf, 1976), xxi. Ibid., 77. 73 Pelikan, Mary through the Centuries, 2. 74 Rubin, Mother of God, xxi. 71 72

coexisting cultures of devotion to her. In responding to a review of Mother of God, Rubin

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reiterated the importance of future scholars considering Mary as “a useful and illuminating conduit … in any attempt to understand European intellectual and cultural production, as well as social relations, especially those which touch upon family life, and which are inflected by gender,” an observation that fits squarely with the goals for my own project. 75 Her methodical inquiries into a variety of themes concerning Marian devotion and its ramifications within medieval society offers a model for this field that ought to be imitated. While many medieval Marian scholars begin their work in the twelfth century, when Marian veneration reached its peak, Rachel Fulton commences From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800-1200 in the ninth century as a way of explaining the early origins of this trend. In this work, Fulton contended that the suffering Christ and cosufferer Mary went hand in hand, and this was manifested in numerous sermons on the Song of Songs. 76 Other scholars have adopted this longue durée approach to studying changes in representations of Mary. Sermon studies by Beth Kreitzer and Donna Ellington show that authors in the late Middle Ages viewed Mary as more authoritative, and focused less on her more submissive characteristics. In her 2003 study, Reforming Mary: Changing Images of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lutheran Sermons of the Sixteenth Century, Beth Kreitzer argued that medieval devotional authors sought to separate aspects of Mary’s persona from solely that of her maternity, thus shaping Mary to be a more complex figure. 77 In another study seeking to study transformation in depictions of Mary over time, Donna Ellington’s 2001 monograph From Miri Rubin’s response to Donna Spivey Ellington’s review of Mother of God, in Reviews in History http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/820 (October 2009). 76 Rachel Fulton, From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary 800-1200 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002). 77 Beth Kreitzer, Reforming Mary: Changing Images of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lutheran Sermons of the Sixteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 15. 75

30 Sacred Body to Angelic Soul: Understanding Mary in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe examined sermons on Mary in the late Middle Ages and early modern period to prove a decisive change in depictions of Mary as a model of piety. 78 In noting that “the scarcity of Biblical evidence regarding the Virgin caused her cult to be malleable, easily shaped to fit the social and spiritual needs of the Church at any given time,” Ellington showed why this particular cult was so fluid and dynamic. 79 This observation further supports the need to investigate how representations of Mary’s voice reflected socio-cultural issues within medieval society. Mary’s importance and influence in medieval religious devotion have already been established through the mining of sermons, pilgrimage to Marian shrines, and other devotional materials. 80 Adrienne Williams Boyarin and Georgiana Donavin have asserted that Mary’s authority as an advocate and exemplar of wisdom, respectively, were rooted in late medieval textual traditions. 81 My work will complement their scholarship by offering a new lens for considering the prevailing role that Mary played in Christian spirituality in the late Middle Ages. 82 In examining legends, vitae, sermons, exempla, and poetry, Boyarin observes that these sources have been “underestimated or undervalued in literary and historical studies in large part because its content can only be generalized and flattened out in any discussion that seeks to describe or summarize it.” 83 In a similar manner, Donavin in Scribit Mater: Mary and the Language Arts in the Literature of Medieval England (2011) turned to a combination of literary Donna S. Ellington, From Sacred Body to Angelic Soul: Understanding Mary in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2001). 79 Ibid., 25. 80 Gary Waller, Walsingham and the English Imagination (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2011). 81 Georgiana Donavin, Scribit Mater: Mary and the Language Arts in the Literature of Medieval England (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2011). 82 Boyarin is largely focused on examining how English miracle collections opted to either portray Mary as either a protector of the Jews or their antagonist. Boyarin, Miracles of the Virgin, 42-74. Kati Ihnat explores this representation in greater detail in Mother of Mercy, Bane of the Jews: Devotion to the Virgin Mary in Anglo-Norman England (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016). 83 Boyarin, Miracles of the Virgin, 11. 78

and devotional sources to demonstrate that alongside the rise of the university, there was a

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pervasive late medieval interest in framing Mary as the queen of the liberal arts. Both monographs incorporate a wide group of sources to reveal more about Mary’s medieval persona – an approach I seek to imitate. Joining with other scholars who have categorized Mary as a powerful figure in late medieval Christianity, this dissertation will argue that the phenomenon of Marian speech across numerous genres provides an articulation of her power and new standing in Christian piety. As this trend evolved, Mary’s voice both grew and served as a testimony to the medieval world’s belief in Mary as an effective mediatrix to a more approachable and loving God. Within these sources, Mary’s voice functions as a central aspect of her persona and a fundamental part of the authority that defined her role in late medieval Christian spirituality.

Using Speech Studies to Illuminate Trends in Medieval Religious Culture We have fully yet to value the voice of Mary for its ability to illuminate broader issues surrounding medieval religious culture. Because that claim is integral to my argument, it is also worth briefly touching upon the topic of speech studies: the field that endeavors to understand the role of speech in medieval socio-cultural communities and in medieval texts. Although this is primarily a linguistic field, it has also garnered the interest of medieval historians, who have sought to use speech studies as a tool to illuminate textual sources. 84 My inquiry on what I will refer to as “Marian speech” will draw from this field. 85 In her introduction to Speaking in the Jean E. Godsall-Myers, Speaking in the Medieval World (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 6. All recent works on speech studies have their origins in John Austin’s seminal work, How to Do Things With Words, which argued the need to consider the different function of speech within textual sources. John L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962), as well as John R. Searle, Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language (London: Cambridge University Press, 1969). As of late, Judith Butler’s work attributes much power in speech, and recognizes that this force both “reflects prior social conditions and produces a set of social effects.” Judith Butler, Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative (New York: Routledge, 1997), 158. Many medieval historians who focus on the utilization of voices within medieval sources insist that if a character

84 85

Medieval World, Jean Godsall-Myers contends that examining speech is an important key to

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understanding the medieval world for four reasons. First, studying speech provides insight into social networks in the medieval world. Mary’s speech can both reinforce and question societal norms, particularly those rejecting the speech and behavioral expectations of women. Secondly, scrutinizing these passages reveals the broader interest in fashioning dialogue in medieval devotional sources. Thirdly, examining speech patterns reveals that the medieval authors found speech to be an effective tool in written sources. Finally, speech studies allow us to consider how speech functions in a variety of genres. In examining “how the concepts of voice and voicelessness operate within distinct domains of medieval Christian culture,” the 2015 collection of essays Voice and Voicelessness in Medieval Europe stresses the need to study medieval speech practices as described in written materials. 86 I plan to assess examples of Marian speech in this dissertation following in the footsteps of Jean Godsall-Myers, who offers a straightforward formula to examine speech patterns in medieval texts. She proposes beginning by examining the speaking examples of one figure in a particular text. Subsequently, one would compare these patterns with other speech examples in related texts to get a sense of larger phenomenon in terms of representations of medieval speech. With her recommendation “Collect the evidence, establish the norm, consider the significance of the norm:” Godsall-Myers offers a logical, practical approach to adopt for evaluating speech

can speak effectively, then that character must have the ability to operate with autonomy in the text. See also Jill Stevenson, Performance, Cognitive Theory, and Devotional Culture: Sensual Piety in Late Medieval York (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); Susan Boynton, Sarah Kay, Alison Cornish, and Andrew Albin, “Sound Matters,” Speculum 91.4 (October 2016): 998-1039. 86 Irit Ruth Kleiman, “Introduction,” Voice and Voicelessness in Medieval Europe, ed. Irit Ruth Kleiman (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 1. While one of the essays offers an inquiry into Byzantine funerary rites that points to “an intense longing for the voice that inhabits Marian devotion,” it is not a full-fledged inquiry on the voice of Mary in medieval devotional materials. also Hélène Bernier-Farella, “Ritual Voices and Social Silence: Funerary Lamentations in Byzantium,” in Voice and Voicelessness in Medieval Europe, ed. Irit Ruth Kleiman (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 47-63.

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within medieval texts. This methodology stresses the importance of distinguishing between

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sensational outliers and evidence that support a broader phenomenon of particular speech patterns. With that approach in mind, I will begin by examining Mary in a single text in a singular time period. Then, I will compare how her voice functions in other similar types of texts in that period. Throughout this study, we need to think of Marian speech as a series of distinct patterns and ask how and why medieval authors used speech to shape Mary’s characterization in this manner. Some devotional narratives offer expanded retellings of biblical or apocryphal stories, assigning Mary a greater speaking role. Alternatively, some miracle collections report secondhand accounts of Mary speaking that have been written down by a clerical scribe, who edits the speech for the miracle collection. Some visionary texts present eyewitnesses of Mary speaking, where the religious person records a dialogue between herself and the Virgin Mary. Lastly, I will examine a category of implied speech, in which the author delineates Mary’s thought process and infers her motivations concerning how she proceeds to interact with supplicants. Each of these categories will be considered throughout the dissertation. Of course, one could not hope to catalogue every instance when Mary spoke in devotional literature. Such an exercise would likely reveal that this Marian speech phenomenon was even more pervasive than I will demonstrate in this dissertation. Still, my sampling will indicate that not only did Mary speak more, but did so in a manner that was much more authoritative and often ran counter to gender expectations. Thus far, these different components of Mary’s persona have been treated as separate entities within Marian scholarship. However, in bringing these themes together under the lens of Mary’s voice, these representations show that 87

Godsall-Myers, Speaking in the Medieval World, 8.

this was now a Mary to which people had access, among other depictions of Mary. Moreover,

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they show a new figure of Mary emerging in the later Middle Ages, who was active, forceful, and authoritative. Ultimately, this brief discussion of current historiographical trends reveals that although there are consistently new developments within Marian scholarship, what has been lacking is a study that shows that the voice of Mary is an integral aspect to understanding medieval religious history. Analyzing patterns of Marian communication can further explain the medieval portrait of Mary as a powerful figure: an image that recent scholars have claimed needs further consideration.

Sifting through the Multiple Marys: Chapter Structure and Content Mary did not have a singular identity or meaning in the Middle Ages: “For the men and women who have loved her over the centuries, she has been mother, virgin, bride, apocalyptic messenger, inimitable paragon, model of femininity, punisher of sin, fountain of consolation, queen of heaven, and more.” 88 This series of interrelated titles colored the mosaic of her medieval identity. While it would be an insurmountable task to address the speaking roles in each distinct aspect of Mary’s medieval identity, each chapter will focus on the trajectory of one or two related elements of Mary’s persona that are magnified and refracted when examined through the prism of crafted speech. By bringing together related components of Mary’s medieval persona, my thematic approach will highlight how Mary’s authority was accentuated in several distinct roles in late medieval devotional sources. This method will help determine which areas of Marian devotion allowed for more freedom and flexibility of her speech, compared to Amy G. Remensnyder, “Meeting the Challenge of Mary: Review Essay,” Journal of Women’s History 25 (2013): 195. 88

35 aspects entrenched in traditional representations of Mary that emphasized her quiet obedience to God’s will. The progression of chapters intentionally reflects how Mary’s power and authority grew as a powerful learned figure, wife and mother, and intercessor, and how the sources upended conventional ideas about Mary. Moreover, each chapter deals with the issue of contested speech: many examples of Mary speaking were often met with efforts to silence her or discredit her statements. This organization will not only demonstrate the trajectory of Mary’s voice in different genres, but it will also allow us to evaluate the range of responses to Mary’s voice across a wide chronological period. Within both iconography and devotional texts, one of the most popular Marian motifs in the later Middle Ages was the Mater Dolorosa, which depicted Mary mourning the Passion of Jesus at the foot of the Cross. Christian supplicants were invited to envision Mary’s emotional suffering as they themselves imagined the Crucifixion. During this period, there was a significant transformation in how her grief was represented, particularly in the planctus narrative genre that told the story of the Crucifixion from Mary’s perspective. Chapter One, “From Silent Sobbing to Speech: Mary’s Lament at the Passion,” investigates the complex characterizations of Mary’s laments, drawing attention to the broad efforts to shape Mary as the chief mourner who stoically and obediently remained at the Crucifixion. By analyzing Mary’s recounting of the Passion in a series of planctus laments and pageants from liturgical dramas, this chapter will establish that there were varied representations of Mary’s grief. I will examine narratives that depicted acceptable mourning, as well as the more emotional, performative laments that prompted criticism and even attempts at suppression. I maintain that the changes in textual depictions of Mary’s mourning reflect broader medieval concerns about the limits of female expressions of emotional mourning within the public sphere. Mary’s vocal expressions of mourning tested the

boundaries of acceptable female speech practices. Overall, this chapter sets the stage for the

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remainder of the dissertation by demonstrating that the later Middle Ages was particularly fascinated with assigning Mary an expanded speaking role that emphasized her unique role as a participant in the salvation of humankind. As the cult of the Virgin Mary flourished in the late Middle Ages, a profusion of devotional texts imagined Mary as a model student and teacher who was skilled in a variety of subjects. Chapter Two, “‘Instructed by Heaven’: Mary’s Medieval Learned Voice,” argues that devotional sources, particularly miracle collections, used Mary’s voice as evidence of her pedagogical capabilities. I will begin with a brief examination of Mary’s verbal glossing of the Gradual Psalms in the N-Town “Presentation of the Temple” pageant that characterizes her as a precocious learner at just three years old. This performance was part of a larger trend of shaping Mary as a bright young student. I will then analyze a series of devotional sources that depicted Mary as the appropriate teacher to offer instruction to the Apostles following Christ’s Ascension into heaven. Finally, I will consider the role of Mary’s voice within the genre of miracula and address how Mary’s voice was used as an important pedagogical tool. Although medievalists have studied Mary as a teacher through various avenues, I will examine her pedagogy through her voice, carefully crafted by medieval writers. By highlighting the connection between her pedagogical and maternal roles, I argue that the miracula shaped Mary as a teacher of devotional practices. Mary was uniquely equipped to offer instruction on Marian prayers and to promote participation in the sacraments. An examination of Mary’s voice in these stories deepens our understanding of Mary’s pedagogical role and its connection to her status as mother. I contend that the evidence suggests that through the teaching function of dialogue, Mary became a more accessible teaching figure amidst a culture preoccupied with learning.

37 Chapter Three, “Medieval Marital Expectations: Marian Speech in the Domestic Sphere,” examines representations of Mary in heated dialogue with Joseph, particularly instances when her firm responses cause him to fear cuckoldry as they fight about the true cause of her pregnancy. By analyzing Mary’s marriage to Joseph as conveyed through dialogue within the English Corpus Christi mystery plays, we find numerous instances where Mary’s voice appears to be subversive and threatens to undermine the stability of her marriage. These examples of contested speech will be read against popular conduct literature, which were prescriptive texts that sought to advise husbands on how to manage their wives and even limit their speech. Contextualizing the plays within broader socio-religious materials demonstrates that female challenges to male authority were met with suspicion and skepticism. I claim that the depictions of Mary within the Corpus Christi dramas, especially episodes that depict conflict, offered a compelling case study of marital conduct, with clear allusions to how a medieval wife should speak and behave. While some of the chapters survey Mary in roles that medieval Christians themselves could occupy, such as mother, wife, and teacher, Chapter Four, “The Voice Between Heaven and Hell,” traces Mary’s power as exemplified in the tripartite sovereign roles of Queen of Heaven, Mediatrix, and Empress of Hell. Here, Mary wields her voice as her instrument to aid in the redemption of souls. Devotional and dramatic sources craft her as an essential figure who plays a powerful and pivotal role in Christians’ salvation. I will analyze miracle stories that emphasize Mary’s role as advocate, and assess the power of Mary’s authority to mediate between heaven, earth, and hell. This chapter will examine Mary as an advocate of sinners, as evidenced through examples of some of her most powerful and controversial speech. As the Mother of God, Mary served as an advocate, defending sinners in her son’s courtroom. These sources construct Mary

as an effective intercessor, a role that grew in popularity in the later Middle Ages. Some of

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the miracula underscore Mary’s maternal intercessory role by emphasizing her powerful sway over her son. Each of these positions represents Mary as a powerful negotiator, using her voice as her most effective tool. Although previous scholarship has studied these three roles separately, I contend that they must be examined together. First of all, medieval devotional sources often referred to the three sovereign roles together, and we should follow that approach when studying them. Secondly, these three roles, although seemingly in opposition at first glance, share compelling commonalities that must be explored. In my conclusion, I will show how, taken together, these chapters reflect the widespread interest in crafting Mary’s voice as a means of making her more accessible to the faithful. Moreover, I will indicate how this method of interpreting Mary’s voice in devotional sources has broader implications within the field of medieval religious culture. Finally, I will address other genres of sources that could be considered in a broader study about Marian speech. Despite the Virgin Mary’s widespread popularity, many ultimately viewed the profusion of Mary’s speech as cacophony. The transitional period between the late Middle Ages and the early modern period sheds light on some of the major problems of Marian devotion, which reached a fever pitch in the early sixteenth century. In my epilogue, I will briefly touch on the ways in which these themes changed in the early modern period, particularly due to critiques by Protestant performers who felt that Marian devotion reached the tipping point of idolatry and threatened to detract from devotion to Christ. This short inquiry will provide a new lens for considering the emerging attitudes on reform and the fluctuating view on Mary’s role in the Church in a contentious era. The Protestant reaction to Mary’s towering influence was not universal: the Catholic Church affirmed Mary’s role but carefully heightened aspects of Mary’s

domesticity and diminished the more powerful components that shaped her medieval identity.

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The sixteenth century was ultimately a watershed moment in terms of depictions of Mary’s voice. It did not disappear completely but demonstrated a clear change from the Middle Ages, an era influenced by widespread Marian devotion, to the early modern period, an age that witnessed the splintering of Christianity in the aftermath of the Reformation. Let us now begin with an inquiry into Mary’s voice as a sorrowful mother at the foot of the Cross. Starting with the earlier, more restrained, examples of Mary’s voice will enable the crescendo of Mary’s voice in the later chapters to resonate all the louder.

Chapter One From Silent Sobbing to Speech: Mary’s Lament at the Passion Though the figure of Mary weeping at the foot of the Cross is ubiquitous in late medieval devotional literature, it is worth remembering that the Gospel of John was the only gospel to even cite Mary as present at her Son’s Passion (John 19:25-27): Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he said to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he said to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. John recorded her presence and noted that Christ entrusted Mary to his care but offered no other details about Mary’s role or reaction to the Passion. Mary does not speak or weep in this Gospel account. Such a tantalizingly brief observation on Mary’s role caused Ambrose (d. 397) in his “Exegesis on Calvary” to note, “I read of her standing, but I read not of her weeping,” indicating his curiosity to know more about her experience at the foot of the Cross. 1 John’s concise description was compelling enough to spark the production of a rich profusion of theological tracts, devotional texts and images, liturgical dramas, and other imaginative materials throughout Western Christendom that sought to envision Mary’s experience at the Crucifixion. 2 Though the following brief passage within a longer thirteenth-century planctus is considered a typical example of Mary’s response to the Passion, the nuances of this lament encapsulate the gist of this chapter’s argument: Ambrose, “Exegesis on Calvary,” in The Blessed Virgin in the Fathers of the First Six Centuries, ed. Thomas Livius (London: Burns and Oates, 1893), 186. 2 James A. Marrow, “Inventing the Passion in the Late Middle Ages,” in The Passion Story: From Visual Representation to Social Drama, ed. Marcia Kupfer (University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2008), 2352; Carol M. Schuler, “The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin: Popular Culture and Cultic Imagery in Pre-Reformation Europe,” Simiolus 21 (1992), 5-28. Susan Boynton, “From the Lament of Rachel to the Lament of Mary: A Transformation in the History of Drama and Spirituality,” in Signs of Change: Transformations of Christian Traditions and their Representations in the Arts, 1000-1200 (New York: Rodopi, 2004), 319-340. 1

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I was tormented by such great sorrow and sadness in death that it could not be expressed in speech…My voice had nearly gone, but I uttered sighs of sorrow and moans of grief. I wanted to speak, but sorrow broke off the words, for a word is first conceived in the mind, then proceeds to formation by the mouth. 3

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Mary described the difficulties of articulating her sorrowful experience of watching the Crucifixion. She recalled that her grief was so overpowering that it limited her ability to speak, even as she attempted to retell the sequence of events of the Passion. This is just one example of the portrayal of Mary as an engaged and effusive mourner in the planctus Mariae tradition. In a Christian culture fascinated with the suffering of both Christ and Mary, that tradition retold the Passion story from Mary’s vantage point. Her ambivalent reflection on the Passion raises questions about the representations of Mary’s conflicted description of her grief. More broadly, representations of Mary’s mourning developed from inarticulate sobs to eloquent speech that enabled Mary to convey her unbounded grief. But not all Passion narratives permitted Mary to mourn without interruption: this was a major shift in the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century texts. Some texts referenced male figures that chastised her and tried to silence Mary’s cries, signaling broader concerns that these laments were excessive in terms of their emotional and physical expressions. 4 How can we account for the fact that some planctus accounts affirmed Mary’s expansive responses while other Passion narratives tried to suppress her speech? In this chapter, I seek to call attention to the striking and contrasting ways in which medieval authors depicted Mary’s expression of grief, as well as the differing responses to her laments. I will organize my inquiry around three categories within both the planctus genre and “Tanto dolore et tristicia uexabar in morte, quantus non posset explicari sermone...Vox mea fere pertransierat omnis, sed dabam pro gemitibus suspiria doloris. Volebam loqui, sed dolor verba rumpebat, quia verbum iam mente conceptum, dum ad formacionem procederet oris: ad se imperfectum reuocabat dolor nimis cordis.” Ogier of Locedio (Pseudo-Bernard), “Meditation by Bernard on the Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin (Meditacio Bernardi de lamentacione beate virginis),” in Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 171. 4 It is worth noting that while women were particularly encouraged to suppress their laments, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 urged all Christians not to grieve excessively: “Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope.” 3

the English Corpus Christi plays: external praise for Mary’s appropriate mourning, Mary’s

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interior ambivalence towards her own grieving, and external attempts at suppressing Mary’s laments. I will do so by examining narrative and dramatic accounts that have not thus far been used to illuminate representations of Mary’s speaking voice. These texts transform her role from a silent mourner to an engaged participant. The first category of laments (those that praised Mary’s controlled form of mourning) occurred in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In these examples, Mary couched her emotional expressions of grief with hesitant remarks about speaking so extensively about her emotions The second two categories of later medieval sources (those written in the thirteenth-, fourteenth-, and fifteenth-century) show that alongside narratives that permitted Mary to mourn publicly, there was a contemporaneous set of narratives that took issue with Mary’s speech and attempted to silence her. I assert that these sources sought to emphasize her agency as a willing participant in an event that was instrumental to the salvation of humankind. While the following sources appear to be indicative of the status quo in portraying Mary’s passive persona, they represent the first signs of a shift in her medieval identity to a more active, vocal figure. Considerations of Mary’s mourning touch off the larger expansion of Mary’s speech and they signal a broader range of Mary’s voice than we have yet to appreciate. This thematic organization will also allow us to trace clear shifts within the texts over time in representing a more articulate Mary. Moreover, these sources offer a context for understanding the significance of her voice in the later Middle Ages, thus orienting the direction of this entire dissertation. In expanding upon the Crucifixion story, both devotional narratives and liturgical dramas crafted a voice for her that signaled her reluctant willingness to accept God’s will. A closer analysis of the characterization of Mary’s distressed laments supports the work of Maureen

Boulton’s Sacred Fictions, which considers the creative ways that medieval writers reshaped

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both the personae of Mary and Jesus. Through the inclusion of engaging dialogue, their roles were “amplified” and reframed for a medieval audience. 5 This approach enables us to view figures like Christ and Mary not just as “sacred figures” but also as “speaking subjects.” 6 Furthermore, this method encourages the inclusion of the liturgical dramas for analysis, as they frame Mary as a key player within the Passion story. Unlike some of the vignettes to be explored later in the study, the Passion narratives represent Mary in one of her most traditional roles as Mater Dolorosa. To begin this project with an exploration of the development of the planctus is to investigate a set of devotional sources that represented a key element of late medieval spirituality.

The Development of the Mater Dolorosa The events of the Crucifixion, one of the most re-imagined stories of Christian literature, were retold in non-canonical gospels, liturgy, sermons, poems, hymns, meditations, prayers, and visionary literature. In these texts the Crucifixion narrative underwent “enlargements and modifications” that reflected trends that fulfilled the spiritual appetites of medieval Christians. 7 The most memorable interpretations of the Passion occurred when “the best medieval writers of religious narrative turned theological abstractions into living persons, breathing beings, malice

Maureen Barry McCann Boulton, Sacred Fictions of Medieval France: Narrative Theology in the Lives of Christ and the Virgin, 1150-1500 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015), 9. 6 Barbara Zimbalist, “Exemplary Speech in the Life of the Virgin Mary and Christ: Dublin, Trinity College, MS 423,” in Devotional Culture in Late Medieval England and Europe: Diverse Imaginations of Christ’s Life, eds. Stephen Kelly and Ryan Perry (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014), 519. This also speaks to the idea of Barbara Newman’s concept of “imaginative theology,” which “offers a mode of religious exploration beyond the constraints of systematic theology.” Philip Sheldrake, “Imaginative Theology: A Strategy of Subversion,” Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 5.2 (2005): 211-213; Barbara Newman, God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry, and Belief in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003). 7 Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 24. 5

44 personified and love embodied, enabling their listeners and readers to absorb eternal truths about themselves, their Creator and the world around them.” 8 Before analyzing a selection of planctus laments and liturgical dramas, I will summarize the development of Passion narratives from early Christianity and identify how Mary’s role within this set of devotional materials evolved. Although the Gospel of John was the only gospel text to document Mary’s presence at the foot of the Cross, the brief Crucifixion passage still provoked a desire among patristic writers to imagine the Passion from Mary’s perspective. After all, surely Mary would have said something during her vigil at the Crucifixion as she witnessed the death of her son. Ambrose, who had noted, “I read of her standing, but I read not of her weeping,” expanded upon this description in an attempt to speculate about her emotions, stating, “She looked with pity on the wounds of her Son.” 9 Many Eastern sources focused on the “strength, impassivity, and stoicism” of Mary, and merged Mary’s grief into the specifically female funerary tradition. 10 But stoic portrayals of Mary mourning at the Passion were not universal; some narratives offered elaborate summations of Mary’s emotional laments. The earliest planctus Mariae was most likely composed by Romanos the Melodist (c. 560), a Syrian hymnographer who imagined Mary trying to prevent Jesus from taking up the cross, which elicited a chastisement from him. In response to her weeping, Jesus inquired, “Why do you cry, Mother? Why do you let yourself lose your good sense like the other women? So that I might not endure suffering, so that I might not meet death? But then, how will I pay the ransom

Judith Davis, “The ‘Imaginative Theology’ of Mary in Medieval French Literature: Sermons in Song and Story,” Marian Studies 60 (2009): 172. 9 Ambrose, De institutione virginis, cited in Brian K. Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven: Marian Doctrine and Devotion Image and Typology in the Patristic and Medieval Periods Volume 1: Doctrine and Devotion (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2014), 263. 10 Bernier-Farella, “Ritual Voices and Social Silence: Funerary Lamentations in Byzantium,” 47-63. 8

45 for Adam?” This first planctus positions Mary as crying so much that Jesus’s intervention was 11

required to assure her of the necessity of his death. Christ continues to offer assurance to her: “Be still, Mother, calm your anguish: laments do not become you of whom was said full of grace. Do not abandon such a title to sobs. Do not be like women with no intelligence, most wise Virgin.” 12 It is fascinating to consider that Christ makes a clear distinction between Mary, believed to be wise, and other women, whose excessive mourning was deemed unintelligent. Furthermore, it is worth examining the manner in which Mary responded: she defended her extreme reaction that mirrored the reactions of other women: “What have you said to me, Son: ‘Do not allow yourself to lose your wits together with the other women?’ Similar to woman am I in that I bore you in my womb and nourished you at my breast. How can you expect me not to cry for you, my Son, as you rush to undergo an unjust death, you who raised the dead, my Son and my God?” 13 Mary does not see a difference between herself and the other women and claims that her bodily connection to her son would indeed warrant such an emotional reaction. This intense debate between Mary and Christ, which continues at length, created a model for didactic rhetoric that would characterize some of the planctus laments. Scholars largely accept that early Eastern narratives like Romanos’s Mary at the Cross eventually influenced a twelfth-century Western tradition that was interested in Mary’s emotional reactions, a part of the larger fascination about the humanity of Christ. 14 This was a relatively new tradition in the West after the first millennium. Romanos the Melodist, Mary at the Cross, translated in Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 255. Ibid., 255. 13 Ibid., 255. 14 That is not to say that Mary’s role was absent in central medieval sources: it was just not such a pervasive part of devotional practices. Because Augustine did not assign significant importance to Mary’s presence at the Crucifion, for centuries thereafter, many Western commentators did not comment on Mary’s suffering in the Passion. Rachel Fulton’s From Judgment to Passion highlights how in the Western tradition, the first inklings of this trend occurred in the ninth century and continued to grow for centuries. See also Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 255-257. 11 12

After centuries during which many Western theologians did not comment on Mary’s

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suffering at the Crucifixion, the late Middle Ages was rife with devotional practices that imagined Mary at the Passion such as the Stabat Mater hymn and Mater Dolorosa imagery. 15 Growing in popularity in the twelfth century, the planctus Mariae, a genre aimed at telling the story of the Passion from Mary’s perspective, offered a more “intimate, vibrant, and pervasive participation of the Virgin in her Son’s redemptive sacrifice.” 16 Within a culture “saturated by tears,” the planctus explored the elements of Mary’s sorrow and was designed to elicit empathy from the reader. 17 Sarah McNamer, whose work on affective devotional sources offers an avenue to consider the planctus genre, notes that scholars have yet to consider the “amplification and stridency of the Virgin’s voice,” despite its striking appearance within the genre. 18 Additionally, in their research on medieval textual representations of Mary at the Passion, both Thomas Bestul and Sandro Sticca have pointed to the need to consider “the enlarged role of Mary.” 19 They do not just call for intense scrutiny of the enhanced story assigned to Mary, but also emphasize the need to consider the context of gender in regard to her laments, as “the language given to the Virgin in the Passion narratives…is conditioned by male evaluations of women’s speech.” 20 In

There were over one hundred versions of the Stabat Mater hymn, reflecting its popularity and the different interpretations of Mary’s emotional distress as she witnessed the Crucifixion. The drama at the foot of the cross also inspired an abundance of devotional imagery, as visual representations of the Passion sought to capture not just Christ’s extreme suffering amidst his torture, but the emotional pain that was wrought upon Mary as she watched her son slowly suffer. See Rubin, Mother of God, 243-255; Miri Rubin, “The Passion of Mary: The Virgin and the Jews in Medieval Culture,” in The Passion Story: From Visual Representation to Social Drama, ed. Marcia Kupfer (University Park, PA: The Penn State University Press, 2008), 53–66. For a summation of the development of the planctus from the patristic period to the early Middle Ages, see Sandro Sticca, The Planctus Mariae in the Dramatic Tradition of the Middle Ages, trans. Joseph R. Berrigan (Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 1988), 1930; Warner, Alone of All Her Sex, 206-223. 16 Sticca, The Planctus Mariae in the Dramatic Tradition of the Middle Ages, 20. See also Fulton, From Judgment to Passion, 405-470; Newman, God and the Goddesses, 297-298. 17 Emil M. Cioran, Tears and Saints (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 29. 18 Sarah McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 156. 19 Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 119. 20 Ibid., 126. 15

keeping with their recommendations, I will examine laments that vary from reserved and

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contemplative to very public and emotional outcries. Moreover, I will note changing patterns in the genre; I assert that such transformations occur throughout the course of the later Middle Ages. The more affective laments that were viewed as excessive were likely constructed as a reaction to some of the more emotive female mourning rituals that had become part of medieval Christian society. Widespread interest in the suffering of Christ became an invitation to ruminate on Mary’s tormented state. The rising twelfth-century interest in both Christ’s and Mary’s humanity, as expressed in affective devotional texts, led to an increased production of written materials that imagined Mary’s “participation, suffering and imagined words” at the Crucifixion. 21 The Planctus Mariae as a genre used imaginative dialogue intended to engage the readers, who desired to empathize with and understand Mary’s grief at the Crucifixion. Such prolonged articulations of Mary’s distress were designed to offer a structure for a devotee’s own mode of sorrowful contemplation. 22 No longer just a “mere footnote to the suffering flesh of Jesus,” in this genre, Mary acts “as a direct interlocutor of the devotee’s soul and the articulator of her own emotions.” 23 The popularity of Passion narratives is evident in how frequently they were produced and circulated. They were manufactured in a number of genres: some were meant for private contemplation, others functioned as entertainment in a public setting. 24 I contend that

Miri Rubin, Emotion and Devotion: The Meaning of Mary in Medieval Religious Cultures (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2009), 91. These narrative texts were not just read privately, but were sometimes performed within Good Friday ceremonies. Thus, the genre was not just a text that an individual read as part of one’s personal devotional practice, but incorporated as a larger communal ritual. Sticca, The Planctus Mariae in the Dramatic Tradition of the Middle Ages, 134-136. 22 Jessica A. Boon, The Mystical Science of the Soul: Medieval Cognition in Bernardino de Laredo’s Recollection Method (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 41. 23 Jessica A. Boon, “The Agony of the Virgin: The Swoons and Crucifixion of Mary in Sixteenth-Century Castilian Passion Treatises,” The Sixteenth Century Journal 38.1 (2007): 8. 24 Boulton, Sacred Fictions, 297. 21

scrutinizing some of these narratives offers a new understanding of the verbal articulation of

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Mary’s externalized grief. Additionally, these sources have yet to be contextualized against other medieval interpretations of Mary speaking, one of the primary goals of this dissertation. The first set of planctus laments I will analyze can be categorized as “acceptable” Marian laments, meaning that the authors of these texts praised Mary’s vocal response; I will then proceed to analyze the emotional responses that yielded both scrutiny and criticism.

“She overcame her sex:” Appropriate Expressions of Grief at the Crucifixion I contend that the planctus genre as largely split between two diverging interpretations of Mary’s role at the Passion: some underscore Mary’s “willing participation in the redemptive work of her Son” while others “portray Mary as lacking in understanding and acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice.” 25 Although some of the evidence within this study addresses attempts to suppress Mary’s voice, it should be acknowledged that medieval devotional commentaries on the Passion did not universally regard Mary’s mourning as extreme or excessive. On the contrary, many devotional materials framed Mary as the paragon of mourning whose display of grief was considered appropriate. This is not to say that devotional sources minimized Mary’s sorrow. In fact, Mary’s anguish was believed to be so enormous that the English historian and theologian Eadmer of Canterbury (1060-1126) wrote that her pain surpassed that of the martyrs: “All the cruelties inflicted on the bodies of the martyrs were light, or rather nothing, when compared to your Passion, which in its enormity truly pierced all the wounds of your most benevolent heart.” 26 The comparison of Mary’s emotional torture to the pain of the martyrs contextualizes Mary’s extreme expressions of grief, by deeming them to be more severe than the physical 25 26

Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 283. Eadmer of Canterbury, De excellentia Virginis Mariae liber 5, PL 159, col. 567 A-B.

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sufferings that the martyrs endured. Moreover, Eadmer of Canterbury categorizes her pain as

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justification for an emotional response – he did not regard her reaction to be unwarranted or disproportionate. Although many characterizations of Mary’s grief were designed to mirror descriptions of women in mourning, French theologian and mystical author Alain of Lille (d. 1203) characterizes Mary’s role at the foot of the cross as contrary to her gender, noting, “She loved Christ with such strength that, to her praise, it is sufficient to recall the strength of the love that occupied her mind when, while the disciples had fled, she forgot the fragility of her sex and, standing in tears under the Cross, she suffered with her dying Son.” 28 Alain encourages the reader to view Mary’s decision to remain at the Crucifixion as evidence of her strength. It is also possible that Alain of Lille’s praise of Mary’s composure is a broader suggestion that women seek to emulate Mary’s restrained form of mourning. Moreover, he stresses Mary’s obedience to the will of God. By witnessing the Passion without protest, she accepted the important role that the Crucifixion played in the Redemption, regardless of the personal pain it inflicted upon her. Cistercian author Amadeus of Lausanne (1110-1159), most known for his eight sermons on Mary, also viewed her suffering as outside the constrictions of her gender, noting, “She overcame her sex, she overcame human nature, and she suffered beyond what is human.” 29 Mary was not just a passive onlooker to Christ’s suffering, but “through her willing identification with Christ’s sacrifice she underwent a spiritual martyrdom for the sake of humanity which was,

Amy Neff, “The Pain of Compassio: Mary’s Labor at the Foot of the Cross,” Art Bulletin 80.2 (1998): 254–273. Alain of Lille, In Cantica Canticorum, PL 210, col. 58D-59A. 29 Amadeus of Lusanne, Homilia V, De mentis robore seu martyrio beatissimae Virginis, PL 188, col. 1330; trans. Grace Perigo, Eight Homilies on the Praises of Blessed Mary (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1979), 46. 27 28

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within human limitations, akin to the Passion.” In addition to emphasizing Christ’s sacrifice

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ensured the salvation of the world, medieval interpretations of the Passion also underscored Mary’s obedience at the Cross and made her emotional suffering “a fundamental element in the history of salvation.” 31 These commentaries on Mary’s response to the Passion offer a different and interesting analysis of the function of her grief with specific references to her gender. To these authors, Mary’s speech was a gendered issue, as her responses ran counter to typical expectations of female lamentations. Moreover, these authors emphasized that Mary’s steadfast obedience to God’s will was not just evident within her Fiat at the Annunciation, but in her acceptance of Christ’s death. Adopting a similar defense of Mary’s weeping, some theologians were quick to justify Mary’s emotional laments, viewing them as acceptable, not excessive. 32 Carthusian theologian Ludolph of Saxony (1295-1378) joined in this defense of Mary’s intense cries against those who regarded these lamentations as disproportionate, noting in his Vita Christi, “And therefore it cannot be explained in words how many lamentations, wailings, complaints, and weepings she made then over the body of her only son. Yet it must be believed that she made no irrational complaints.” 33 With this explanation in mind, it appears that while Ludolph noted that Mary’s laments were regarded as both dramatic and emotional, they remained within traditional 30 Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 246. These medieval descriptions of Mary’s grief as counter to her sex are particularly fascinating when read against Joan Scott’s observations about the “language of gender.” Joan W. Scott, “Unanswered Questions,” American Historical Review 113.5 (Dec., 2008): 1426. 31 Although these Passion commentaries do not reference Eve explicitly, by framing Mary as a key player in the story of salvation, Mary’s agony here atones for Eve’s sin. Boon, “The Agony of the Virgin,” 16. 32 Twelfth-century English Augustinian canon William of Newburgh (1136-1198) noted, “And thereupon she heard from many: “‘Don’t you know, woman, what has happened to your son?’ ‘I knew it,’ she says, ‘so be silent and do not add to the pain of my wounds.’” In this reflection, Mary encourages silence as a means of tempering her grief; additional verbal reflection would only increase the pain she already experienced. Fulton, From Judgment to Passion, 450. 33 “Et ideo quantas lamentationes, ulutatus, planctus et fletus super idem corpus unici filii sui tunc fecerit, verbis explicari non posset. Credendum tamen est, quod nullos planctus irrationabiles fecerit, quia dolor ejus ad rationem superiorem non pertingebat.” Ludolph of Saxony, Vita Christi, Vol. 2, ed. L.M. Rigollot (Paris: Palme, 1870), 623.

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expectations of female lamentation. This was part of the larger trend of medieval Marian

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sources that commented on the content, style, and reception of Mary’s voice. By emphasizing Mary’s and Christ’s complete obedience to God’s will during the Crucifixion, “Medieval Christians were urged to model their behavior on the (unattainable) standards set by Mary and Jesus, who are portrayed as paragons of humility, patience, and submission to the will of God.” 35 These texts praised her steadfast obedience to God’s will as evidence of her strength. Such observations underscore the need to scrutinize the planctus genre in order to gauge different reactions to the various constructions of Mary’s lament. These particular texts’ formulations of Mary’s voice and the function of her voice as an articulation of her grief require further analysis. 36 Rendering Mary as determined to stay at the foot of the Cross, despite the turmoil it will cause her, Odon of Morimond (1116-1161), prior of the abbey of Morimond in northeast France, offers a planctus narrative in which Mary affirms what her role will be at the Passion, stating in the affirmative, I will be nearer and will stay next to the Cross of my Jesus. I will hold him in my arms; I will kiss him with my lips; and will bathe him with tears; and given that it’s not permitted to die with him, I will fix my eyes on my hanging Son; I will observe how he leaves this world. I will not abandon him as he is dying. 37 Departing from succinct representations of Mary’s grief at the foot of the Cross, in this later medieval representation of Mary’s lament, “the Virgin begins to speak for herself with greater frequency, either in dialogues with her son on the cross or in response to an interlocutor seeking

34 Anne E. Bailey, “Lamentation Motifs in Medieval Hagiography,” Gender & History 25.3 (November 2013): 529544. 35 Boulton, Sacred Fictions, 13. 36 Elizabeth A. Witt, Contrary Marys in Medieval English and French Drama (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1995), 129. 37 Odon of Morimond, Homily on John 19:25-27, translated by Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 276.

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to understand and thus share in her deep pain.” This representation of Mary speaking more

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frequently is not limited to this particular text, but a broader trend within the plancus genre. We should view these initial increases in Marian speech during the Crucifixion as testing the boundaries of acceptable female mourning. Nothing here is deemed excessive or overly performative in terms of her lamentation: no one interrupts to censor or rebuke Mary. In this planctus, Mary pledges to remain at the foot of the cross throughout the duration of the Crucifixion, unlike other examples where she vacillates between wanting to be with her son or fleeing as a result of her staggering grief. Odon portrays Mary as obedient to God’s will and resolute in her willingness to be near Christ during the Crucifixion. This also differs from subsequent portrayals of the Passion where John tries to forcibly remove Mary from the cross because of her extreme lamentations. Here, Mary remains steadfast in her pledge to remain with her son, despite the heartache it causes her. Even within a single planctus, an author can underline Mary’s uncertainty of her role at the Passion. She is often conflicted about her desire to halt the events that will lead to her son’s death, but also recognizes the Passion’s necessity for the sake of the Resurrection and the salvation of humankind. In the Pseudo-Bede lament Meditatio de passio Christi per septem diei horas, which scholars date between the late twelfth and early fourteenth century, Mary alternates between crying out to her son and to God the Father. She first turns to Jesus, pleading, “O sweetest son, what will your wretched and sorrowful one do, to whom you commended me, miserable, my sweet son?” 39 In an effort to confirm her active and willing role in the Crucifixion, Mary then quickly shifts her attention towards God. Similar to the final words Christ uttered McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, 156. “O fili dulcissime, quid facit haec misera et moestissima, cui me miseram commendatam relinquis, fili mi dulcissime?” Pseudo-Bede, Meditatio de passione Christi per septem diei horas, PL 94: cols. 561-568, cited in Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 126.

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53 before his death (Luke 23:46 “And speaking in a loud voice, Jesus said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’”), Mary herself offers Jesus up to God, “O father, holy God, O father, I commend my son into your hands, indeed my lord, as much as I can, and not as much as I ought, for I cannot, because I grow weak and desire to die before the son in your sight.” 40 This is an interesting deviation from the traditional planctus format. Typically, the lament focuses on Mary’s dialogue with Christ, yet this narrative envisions Mary speaking to God as well. Mary’s speech thus reshapes the trajectory of the story. I argue that this is part of a larger pattern of medieval authors using Marian speech to reframe biblical stories for a medieval audience. Additionally, Mary recognizes that she has reached her emotional limit – in growing weak, she seeks to die alongside Jesus. Despite her public cries, Mary ultimately affirms her obedience to God’s will and actively cooperates in commending her son over to God. It is worth pausing to examine how devotional texts framed Mary as the chief mourner at the Crucifixion and also positioned her to elicit empathy from and connect with all mourning mothers. The late fifteenth-century Middle English Lament of Mary describes Mary’s grief as not unique to her but experienced by all mourning women. It was unusual in the planctus genre to have Mary directly address mothers, yet this particular lament begins, “Thus said our mother, both meek and mild, to all women.” 41 Mary related her sorrows to those of all mourning women, at a time when women played a prominent role in ritual mourning. Mary does not view her grief as hers alone, but instead she invites all women to participate in communal mourning: Women, come and weep with me; “O pater sancte Deus, O pater, in manus tuas commendo filium meum, imo et dominum meum, in quantum possum, et non in quantum debeo, quia non possum, quia deficio et hoc desidero ante filium in conspectus tuo mori.” Pseudo-Bede, Meditatio de passione Christi per septem diei horas, 126. 41 Lament of Mary, in Codex Ashmole 61: A Compilation of Popular Middle English Verse, ed. George Shuffelton (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2008) on http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/shuffelton-codexashmole-61-lament-of-mary (accessed 1 November 2016). 40

For my beloved son died at a great cost. … “Weep with me, both man and wife; My son is yours and loves you. 42

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Through this invitation, Mary does not just share her grief with other mothers but broadens her request for contemplation to include fathers, making her lamentation available to all. It is framed in familial terms, even for men. Instead of solely focusing on Mary’s unique grief, the lament also constructed an appeal to a broad audience that was part of an “emotional community.” 43 Examples like this suggest that medieval authors sometimes used Marian speech to serve as a bridge to connect different groups of people under a common thread of religious devotion. Moreover, this example frames Mary as modeling behavior that was to be imitated within a larger emotional community. By the fourteenth century, Mary’s role at the Passion had been reshaped and augmented to inspire pious contemplation. Analyzing medieval interpretations of Mary’s grief at the Passion in planctus texts offers a better understanding of Mary’s role as chief mourner in medieval devotional practices. The phrase “who cannot weep, come learn of me,” was woven into meditative treatises and hymns that described Mary’s role at the Passion, indicating that this contemplative mourning was meant to be an engaging and communal experience. 44 These more conventional planctus serve as a litmus test to compare with more emotionally dynamic representations of Mary’s grief. For the most part, the stoic laments emerge in the twelfth and thirteenth century. Studying these relatively measured narratives offer a contrast to those we will Lament of Mary, at http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/shuffelton-codex-ashmole-61-lament-of-mary (accessed 1 November 2016). 43 Barbara H. Rosenwein, Generations of Feeling: A History of Emotions 600-1700 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015). 44 Rosemary Woolf, The English Mystery Plays (Berkeley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press, 1972), 246; Ellen M. Ross, The Grief of God: Images of the Suffering Jesus in Late Medieval England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). 42

55 examine next, that break with the format of Mary as a willing observer of the Crucifixion. This is a chronological change: in these later sources, Mary often struggles to recount her experience of witnessing the Passion of Christ. With that in mind, the following section discusses the ambivalent portrayal of Mary’s grief at the Cross: an indication of the concern that her lament bordered on excessive.

Hesitant Expressions of Grief: Mary’s Uncertainty at the Foot of the Cross Although some Passion narratives almost unconditionally praised Mary’s particular form of lamentation, other narratives crafted Mary as a mourner who was full of trepidation about publicly expressing her grief. This section observes subtle changes in the genre that occurred shortly after the emergence of early planctus narratives that characterized Mary’s mourning as reserved. This second category of sources proves that over time, alongside narratives that see no problem with Mary’s grief, there are other narratives that signal some ambivalence towards Mary’s form of mourning. The lamentation of the Passion of pseudo-Bernard (referred to as “Quis dabit”) was a thirteenth-century lament found in 35 extant Latin manuscripts from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. It was also translated into Middle English. Not only was the story widely copied and disseminated, but Thomas Bestul argues that it influenced other popular planctus narratives. 45 Although Bestul observes that this particular narrative is “an outstanding representative of a Marian lament,” he fails to appreciate the compelling characterization of

45 Henri Barré has claimed that the author was an Italian Cistercian, Ogier of Locedio (1136-124), although Thomas Bestul contends that the background of the original author “hardly matters,” as the popular devotional narrative lacks a fixed text and ultimately appears in several distinct iterations, and was widely diffused. Henri Barré, “Le ‘Planctus Mariae’ attribué à saint Bernard,” Revue d’Ascétique et de Mystique 28 (1952): 243-266. Bestul examines the textual legacy and impact of the “Quis dabit” in Texts of the Passion, 50-52.

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Mary’s self-conscious reflection of her mourning process. Moreover, in terms of style, this

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particular planctus offers a depiction of Mary’s moderate grief: compared to some of the preceding materials as well as those later narratives that described Mary’s uncontrollable mourning. The “Quis dabit” begins the Passion story from the perspective of an unnamed observer, who entreats Mary, “Tell me, I beg, the true sequence of events, you who are virgin and mother of the highest trinity.” 47 In this planctus narrative as Mary tells the Passion story to an imaginary bystander, she “is placed in the position of authoritative tutor, possessed of special knowledge by virtue of her being an eyewitness.” 48 Mary does not relate the sequence of events passively, but offers careful instruction about the details of the Crucifixion. The author alternates between Mary’s narration of the Passion and a description of her weak and fragile state, in a tradition that focused on her “passivity, her emotionality, her physical weakness and lack of power.” 49 This particular version stresses Mary’s difficulties in articulating her grief as she recalls watching the Roman soldiers beat her son: “All my innards were stirred, my spirit failed, and there was in me neither sense, nor voice, nor sound.” 50 Although some Marian laments emphasize the dynamic nature of Mary’s cries, in the “Quis dabit” narrative, Mary’s mourning was reduced to inaudible grief. This vacillation between silence and speech is a theme repeated throughout the genre, but Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 52; Susan M. Arvay, “Private Passions: The Contemplation of Suffering in Medieval Affective Devotions,” (Ph.D diss., Rutgers University, 2008), 191; C. W. Marx, “The Middle English Verse Lamentation of Mary to Saint Bernard and the Quis Dabit,” in Studies in the Vernon Manuscript, ed. Derek Pearsall (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1990), 137-157. 47 “Narra michi, te flagito, seriem veritatis, que mater es et virgo tocius summe trinitatis.” Ogier of Locedio (PseudoBernard), “Meditation by Bernard on the Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin,” 169. The Latin text is from British Library MS Cotton Vespasian E.i, s. xiv and is reproduced in full in Bestul’s Texts of the Passion. 48 Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 126. This idea of Mary as an important eyewitness will come into sharper focus in Chapter Two, as devotional sources stated that Mary offered verbal instructions fundamental to the compilation of the Gospels and the spread of Christianity. 49 Ibid., 128. 50 “Commota sunt Omnia uiscera mea, et deficit spiritus meus, et non erat michi sensus, neque vox, neque sonus.” Ogier of Locedio, “Meditation by Bernard on the Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin,” 169. 46

rarely was it so self-consciously observed. There was no singular way to characterize Mary’s

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grief, and accordingly, the planctus genre was filled with examples that either silenced Mary or assigned her effusive monologues describing Christ’s tortuous death. As she recalls the agony of witnessing the events of Jesus’s crucifixion, the author crafts Mary’s recollections to indicate her own awareness of her depleted emotional condition: O son, recognize that I am weak, and hear my prayer. It is fitting for a son to hear his desolate mother. Hear me, I beg you. Take me up onto your cross, that those who live as one flesh and love each other with one love might perish in one death…O dear son, o kind child, have mercy on your mother, hear her prayers. Be no longer harsh to your mother, you who were kind to everyone. 51 In this passage, Mary articulates her wish to die alongside him, and in temporarily succumbing to her grief; she “reinforces gendered norms of female weakness and ineffectuality.” 52 I assert that these descriptions of Mary’s grief differed from the weeping that was emblematic of late medieval women’s mourning experiences. Medieval accounts about female mourning described women who were prone to “loud and violent sobbing, shouting, screaming, and even falling over and writhing on the ground.” 53 On the contrary, parsing this passage reveals that Mary

“O fili, recognosce teneram et exaudi precem meam. Decet enim filium exaudire matrem desolatam. Exaudi me, obsecro!In tuo me suscipe patibulo, vt qui vna carne viuunt et vno amore se diligent, vna morte pereant…O fili care, o nate benigne, miserere matris, suscipe preces. Desine matri nunc esse durus, qui cunctis semper fuisti benignus.” Ogier of Locedio, “Meditation by Bernard on the Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin,” 173. 52 Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 131. 53 Santha Bhattacharji, “Tears and Screaming: Weeping in the Spirituality of Margery Kempe” in Holy Tears: Weeping in the Religious Imagination, eds. Kimberly Christine Patton and Jonathan Stratton Hawley (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 229; Carol Lansing, Passion, Order, Restraint and Grief in the Medieval Communes (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008); Jennifer C. Vaught ed., Grief and Gender: 700–1700 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Jessie Gutgsell, “The Gift of Tears: Weeping in the Religious Imagination of Western Medieval Christianity,” Anglican Theological Review 97.2 (2015): 239-253; Piroska Nagy, “Religious Weeping as Ritual in the Medieval West,” Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice 48.2 (2004): 119-137. Emotions became integrated in these texts particularly as interest in the humanity of Christ and Mary became more popular and integrated into expressions of religious spirituality. William M. Reddy, The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 128; Barbara Rosenwein, “Worrying about Emotions in History,” American Historical Review 107.2 (June 2002): 821-845. 51

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exemplified more control over her verbal and physical expressions of her grief. Bestul posits

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that Marian laments such as the “Quis dabit” were perhaps a commentary on the dangers of women’s speech: “The text raises male anxieties about uncontrolled female behavior precipitated by emotionalism, and succeeds in resolving those anxieties by definitively reinstating patriarchal values at the end of the narrative.” 55 He further notes that these Marian episodes “work to reinforce established clerical values, relegating women to a position of submissiveness and dependency.” 56 I would contend differently. I propose that the “Quis dabit” positioned Mary’s grief as distinct from typical female weeping. Unlike some medieval sources that dramatized Mary’s grief and described her swooning at length, this meditation characterizes Mary as “mild in weeping, mild in sorrow.” 57 It repeatedly sought to demonstrate that Mary maintained control of herself, unlike those women who succumbed to intense physical lamentations. The “Quis dabit” narrative repeatedly presents Mary as remarkably reflective about her diminishing vocal capacity while narrating the events of the Passion. She offers introspective commentary about her bouts of distressed mourning: “I was tormented by such great sorrow and sadness in death that it could not be expressed in speech.” 58 Again, Mary maintains control of her grief, the author perhaps recognizing that uncontrollable fits of lamentation or fainting spells would have been met with condemnation. She continually offers thoughtful reflections as she

As an aisde, thirteenth-century beguine Marie d’Oignies refered to her tears as a sustaining force: “Night and day, they are my bread. They do not impair my head but rather feed my mind. They do not torment me with pain but, on the contrary, they rejoice my soul with a kind of serenity. . . . They are not violently wrenched out but are freely given by the lord.” Cited in Elina Gertsman, “‘Going They Went and Wept:’ Tears in Medieval Discourse,” in Crying in the Middle Ages, ed. Elina Gertsman (New York: Routledge, 2012), xiii. 55 Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 131. 56 Ibid., 131.The subject of male-authored texts on the dangers of women’s speech is a topic that I will explore in greater detail in Chapter Three. 57 “Mollis ad flendum, mollis ad dolendum.” Ogier of Locedio, “Meditation by Bernard on the Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin,” 173. 58 “Tanto dolore et tristicia uexabar in morte, quantus non posset explicari sermone.” Ogier of Locedio, “Meditation by Bernard on the Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin,” 171. 54

59 recalls her grief, viewing it as an oppressive instrument forced upon her that recurrently resulted in her silence. I view these remarks as part of the broader phenomenon across multiple genres of later medieval sources that comment extensively on both the content and reception of Mary’s voice. Moreover, Mary’s voice also served to engage the reader; they can “listen” to her and more clearly imagine her experiences during the Passion. In the “Quis dabit” planctus, Mary’s grieving process is frequently confronted with the insurmountable challenge of verbalizing her sorrow as she watches the instruments of the Passion torture her son. It is possible that in doing so, Mary serves as a mouthpiece encouraging women to be composed during their own pious contemplation of the Crucifixion. In her reflection, she is able to describe her grief but notes that the process of articulating her lamentation aloud proves to be a struggle: My voice had nearly gone, but I uttered sighs of sorrow and moans of grief. I wanted to speak, but sorrow broke off the words, for a word is first conceived in the mind, then proceeds to formation by the mouth…A sad voice sounds on the outside, declaring the wound of the mind. Love provides the words, but they sound harsh, for the tongue, the mistress of the voice, had lost the skill of speaking. 59 In referencing her “wound of the mind,” Mary connects her emotional pain with the physical pain inflicted on Jesus. Mary’s grief often becomes voiceless, and these lamentations accentuate the tension between her internal grief and her external reaction. Both her verbal and physical manifestations of mourning are fused together in a series of emotional expressions. 60 Those who

“Vox mea fere pertransierat omnis, sed dabam pro gemitibus suspiria doloris. Volebam loqui, sed dolor verba rumpebat, quia verbum iam mente conceptum, dum ad formacionem procederet oris: ad se imperfectum reuocabat dolor nimis cordis. Vox triste sonabat foris, vulnus denuncians mentis. Verba dabat amor, sed rauca sonabant, quia lingua magistra uocis vsum loquendi perdiderat.” Ogier of Locedio, “Meditation by Bernard on the Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin,” 171. 60 In another planctus, the Liber de Passione (Formerly attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, now believed to be written by Geoffrey of St. Victor), Mary goes so far as to state, “My moans, my sighs and my outward tears are the signs of my inner wound.” Geoffrey of St. Victor, Liber de Passione, cited in Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 279. 59

shaped these narratives attempted to offer a transparent window into Mary’s emotions as she

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watched her son die an excruciating death. Passages like this within the “Quis dabit” lament offer a self-analytical reflection of Mary’s recollection of the Passion: as she speaks, Mary evaluates the appropriateness of her reaction. This text is part of the wider medieval phenomenon of authors choosing to describe Mary’s fluctuating control over her speech. It shapes her as methodical: parsing every word and recognizing when the power of speech fails her. The “Quis dabit” narrative reaches its climax when Mary’s internalized grief becomes externalized as she cries out to her son directly for the first time, I wept while speaking, and I spoke while weeping. My son! Woe unto me! Woe unto me! Who will only grant that I might die for you? What shall I do? My son is dying. Why can this most sorrowful mother not die with him? My son, my son! My only love, sweetest son, do not leave me behind! Take me to yourself, that I might die with you. O wretched death, do not spare me: you alone are pleasing to me above all things. Increase your strength: slaughter the mother, kill the mother together with the son. 61 Mary’s speaking and weeping become intertwined as she conveys her wish to die along with her son: a statement that likely would have invited sympathy from the reader. This narrative reveals a special interest in noting different conventions of Marian speech. This particular categorization deems Mary’s response as permissible and within the confines of acceptable mourning. In an aside to the reader, the author notes that one could not begin to fathom how to explain Mary’s grief: “The tongue cannot speak, nor the mind conceive, the extent of the sorrow which affected the pious innards of Mary...the dead mother stood near the cross of Christ. And George R. Keiser, “The Middle English Planctus Mariae and the Rhetoric of Pathos,” in The Popular Literature of Medieval England, ed. Thomas J. Heffernan (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985), 183. 61 “Flebam dicendo, et dicebam plorando: “Fili mi! Ve michi, ve michi! Quis modo dabit vt ego moriar pro te? Quid faciam? Moritur filius meus. Cur secum non moritur, hec mestissima mater? Fili mi, fili mi! Amor vnice, fili dulcissime, noli me derelinquiere post te! Trahe me ad teipsum, ut moriar tecum. Male solus moreris. Tecum moriatur ista tua genitrix. O mors misera, noli michi parcere: tu sola michi places pre cunctis. Exaggera vires: trucida matrem, matrem cum filio perime simul.” Ogier of Locedio, “Meditation by Bernard on the Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin,” 171.

she who had conceived by the Holy Spirit had no voice. Sorrow truly had carried off her

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strength.” 62 Despite Mary’s hesitancy about the appropriateness of her remarks, this observation sanctions her reaction, similar to previously discussed texts that labeled her grief as acceptable. Such commentary ultimately typifies the remainder of the narrative, in which Mary weeps during Christ’s Deposition from the Cross. Within both the representations of Mary’s vocal response and in the detailed narrative descriptions, this planctus offers many observations on the difficulties of articulating her extreme sorrow – a notable departure from other laments. Undeniably, the genre was not “fixed and unvarying over the centuries,” but “historically variable” in terms of content, style, and intended audience. 63 The Pseudo-Bernard narrative, along with other later planctus narratives, is flexible with its representations of Mary’s mourning, but also offers more examples of self-censure. It is plausible that the changes in depicting Mary’s grief are part of the broader phenomenon of manipulating Mary’s voice to address late medieval concerns about women’s public speech. Given the heterogeneous nature of the planctus, other Marian laments require additional scrutiny to contrast the different vocal laments of the Virgin Mary. The Complaint of Mary, a fourteenth-century Middle English narrative, offers the perspective of the Passion of Christ from Mary’s vantage point at the foot of the cross. 64 It strips away any other participants in the Passion and focuses solely on the imagined dialogue between Mary and Christ. 65 This particular representation of Mary at the Passion portrayed her mourning in somewhat subdued, controlled terms. In this understudied planctus, Mary’s spoken voice “Non lingua loqui, non mens cogitare valebit, quanto dolore afficebantur pia viscera Marie.” Ogier of Locedio, “Meditation by Bernard on the Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin,” 177. 63 Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 8. 64 The Middle English Prose Complaint of Our Lady and the Gospel of Nicodemus, eds. C.W. Marx and J.F. Drennan: (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag, 1987). 65 Peter Yeager, “The Dispute Between Mary and the Cross: Debate Poems of the Passion,” Christianity & Literature 30 (1981): 53-69. 62

offers the reader a model of restrained, measured mourning. Although Mary’s vocal grief is

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accompanied by a series of physical mourning gestures, including swooning and gripping the cross, this specific lament is largely characterized by articulate speech. Mary reluctantly agrees to tell “her story,” and in her hesitancy and restraint that defines this narrative, Rosemary Woolf observes, “Restraint in grief is more moving than hysteria.” 66 The controlled portrayal supports my claim that Mary’s emotional reactions were intentionally shaped to portray a woman who was in control of her mournful statements. The Complaint embraces the conflicted emotions Mary exhibits at the Crucifixion and utilizes her internal conflict to illustrate her ambivalent response. Mary describes her sorrow as growing throughout the duration of the tortures of Christ: “When my sweet son had been so tortured all night, after he departed from me, sorrow and anguish rose up in me in my mourning.” 67 After Christ was sentenced to death, Mary was forthcoming in describing her emotions as she recalled Christ stripped naked and tortured: “I began to cry loudly and weep – My crying heart failed me and I felt as I ought to be dead. And my sweet son dolefully looked to me as he had great pity of my sorrow…and I said, ‘Sweet son, dear son, I wish I could make your sorrow no more.’” 68 Mary does not just articulate her grief but wishes to take away her son’s pain, a common theme throughout the planctus genre. These laments shape Mary to be full of both complex emotions and extensive verbal reactions. As in the “Quis dabit” lament, in this text Mary cannot precisely categorize her emotional state within “The Complaint of Mary,” offering instead a series of impassioned and variable reactions. Christ attempts to offer her comfort as he utters, “Sweet mother, arise and sorrow no

Woolf, The English Mystery Plays, 273. The Middle English Prose Complaint of Our Lady and the Gospel of Nicodemus, 85. 68 Ibid., 90. 66 67

63 more,” but his words do not provide her any respite. Compared to the first category of laments, 69

which permitted Mary’s form of mourning, the “Complaint of Mary” shows outside attempts to suppress Mary’s grief. Her weeping continues to grow after Pilate sentences Christ to die, and she swoons because of how “violently he was led” to Golgotha. 70 Mary’s anguish does not just come from watching the painful death of her son, but she is also moved by Christ’s willingness to forgive his enemies, “And when I heard my sweet son so sweetly beseech for enemies, I had such great sadness and pity of him, that I felt my heart break into a hundred pieces.” 71 Mary suffers alongside Christ, seemingly experiencing his pains on a parallel emotional level. As the Passion continues, Mary cries aloud in a plea for mercy and wishes that she could die alongside him, “Have pity on me, thy wretched mother, and let me die with thee.” 72 Like other planctus narratives, this author has constructed Mary’s voice to be rife with grief but still capable of verbally articulating her sorrow. It is worth noting that chronologically, these thirteenth- and fourteenth-century laments follow the group of planctus texts discussed in the first part of this chapter. In what follows in this final category, however, we will examine constructions of Mary’s vocal grief that indicate how her lamentations were viewed as problematic, even causing others to intervene in an effort to silence her.

“Leave your mourning”: Male Attempts at Silencing Mary In order to assess attempts to quiet Mary’s lamentations, it is necessary to examine what specific articulations of grief provoked such reactions. The voice of Mary, even within a fairly conventional retelling of a story like the Passion, was often regarded as a disruption. Although Ibid., 86. Ibid., 95. 71 Ibid., 101. 72 Ibid., 102. 69 70

64 by the later Middle Ages, the planctus was defined by “[Mary’s] frenzied grief, her swoons and screams, her desire to die along with, or in place of her Son,” authors explored different aspects of Mary’s grief through variations both in form and content, including those expressions that yielded responses from observing witnesses. 73 Like the contemporaneous “Quis dabit,” the thirteenth-century Vita rhythmica (most likely written by a Benedictine or Cistercian monk) offers an extensive description of Mary’s grief, and became a model for many later medieval vitae of Mary’s life. 74 This particular depiction of Mary’s role at the Passion describes the physical elements of her mourning and notes how her extreme grief appeared to be uncontrollable, both in terms of physical gestures and in verbal lamentations. Such dynamic laments prompted attempts to suppress her speech. As previously discussed, Mary’s sorrow manifested itself in a variety of ways, and the Vita rhythmica described Mary as frequently succumbing to her lamentations, “deprived of all strength and courage,” and “incapable of speech because of the excess of grief.” 75 Like other planctus texts, the Vita rhythmica was fascinated by the overpowering role of silence in Mary’s experience at the Crucifixion. Her speech becomes the central focus of the narrative. Such examples underscore the notion that Mary’s voice was often contested, both in terms of content and style. It is also important to note that the physical manifestations of Mary’s grief coexist with her vocal lamentations. In this instance, the author observed that she was “unable to control herself” as she ripped out her hair and scratched her face while watching the soldiers torture Christ and drag him away to Golgotha. So, what does one make of the genre that was often

Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 279. Vita Beatae Mariae Virginis et Salvatoris rhythmica, ed. Adolf Vögtlin, Bibliothek des litterarischen Vereins Stuttgart, 180 (Tübingen: Laupp, 1888), 168. 75 Ibid., 168. 73 74

65 categorized as “overburdened with weeping, wailing, and despair”? Scholars have viewed these 76

texts as filled with rhetorical excessive exclamations that “whipp[ed] up emotion for its own sake rather than as an understanding response to Christ’s work in the Redemption.” 77 While some laments praised Mary’s controlled expressions of grief, it is possible that the Vita rhythmica “silenced” Mary perhaps because her grief was viewed as excessive. 78 Although the central focus of the Planctus was to imagine the Passion from Mary’s perspective, the Vita rhythmica also described Christ’s reaction to Mary’s lament. As Mary throws herself upon her son, Jesus attempts to comfort her: “O my sweetest Mother, do not grieve so much because of my Passion. Console yourself a little because I am about to die for the salvation of the world. But on the third day I shall rise again to see you. At this moment, I am more pained by your affliction than by my own suffering.” 79 This response was a product of the broader late medieval interest in the sufferings of both Christ and Mary. In this example, Christ’s role has two main purposes: to emphasize Mary’s extreme suffering (noting that it distressed Christ even more than his own agony) and to offer Mary the assurance of the Resurrection. 80 Moreover, Christ’s attempt to alleviate his mother’s sufferings represents an effort to quiet Mary’s lamentation. The planctus was just one of many genres that adopt the medieval trend of creating, listening, and responding to the voice of Mary. Moreover, this genre that grew in popularity in the later Middle Ages increasingly sought to frame Mary’s mourning as dynamic, even by including external attempts to quell these laments. This trend of taking more liberties George R. Keiser, “The Middle English Planctus Mariae and the Rhetoric of Pathos,” 183. Woolf, The English Mystery Plays, 248. 78 Within the last decade, scholars have called for a rehabilitation of the planctus genre with the primary aim of not viewing it as excessively emotional. Rather, medieval writers and readers would have viewed these emotional reactions to be appropriate, whereas previous scholars largely viewed them to be as excessive. Keiser, “The Middle English Planctus Mariae and the Rhetoric of Pathos,” 183. 79 Vita Beatae Mariae Virginis et Salvatoris rhythmica, 168. 80 Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 269. 76 77

with Mary’s mourning occurred concurrently with larger trends of shaping Mary’s voice to

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reflect a more powerful woman. So far this chapter has focused on changes in depictions of Mary’s lament within the planctus genre. These different depictions did not merely signify variety within the genre, but reflected larger concerns about women speaking within the public sphere. The following section will examine how Mary’s lament is framed as a disruption of the traditional Passion story in the Corpus Christi dramas. These dramatic episodes are part of a larger chronological shift in sources representing Mary’s voice as provocative enough that it triggered commentary from others. This section underscores my broader claim that Marian speech ran counter to traditional medieval expectations about women’s speech.

“Not one word thou speaks to me!”: Mary’s Lament in the Corpus Christi Plays The Corpus Christi cycles (performed from the late fourteenth through the mid-sixteenth century) create a Passion scene that augments Mary’s role, shifting the audience’s focus from Christ to include Mary as well. Moreover, these pageants feature male interrupters – those who attempt to halt Mary’s public lamentation and silence her voice. The English pageants differed from the French Passion plays, which often depicted Mary fainting multiple times and crafted a less “dignified” portrayal of Mary as a mourner. 81 The French Passion plays cast her as not just “imperfect, weak, vulnerable, but failing to understand the ultimate purpose of the Crucifixion.” 82 On the contrary, Mary’s role in the English Passion plays was relatively constrained and firmly indicated her knowledge of the larger implications of the Crucifixion. The Passion pageants from the York and N-Town Cycles supply the most extensive and creative Witt, Contrary Marys, 64. The French laments often ran for hundreds of lines, compared to the succinct, controlled responses in the English dramas. The French Passion plays largely focus on the events of the Crucifixion itself, whereas the English plays contextualize the Passion within the larger history of salvation. 82 Ibid., 67. 81

imaginings of Mary’s role as chief mourner, as well as instances when others to try to silence

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Mary’s weeping. These depictions of Mary’s lamentations stand in a sharp contrast to the other categories of Marian laments, which were written prior to the Corpus Christi dramas. These popular liturgical plays reflect a shift from the planctus narratives that were meant for personal contemplation, to public performances that offered lively re-imaginings of Mary’s vocalized suffering at the foot of the Cross. 83 Within the N-Town Passion Play, which was often performed independent from the larger Corpus Christi cycle, Mary offers dynamic expressions of her anguish that escalated to an “emotional crucifixion,” in that her anguish is viewed to be comparable to Christ’s physical suffering. 84 The stage notes indicate that she “swoons multiple times and speaks slowly.” This description of Mary speaking slowly suggests that the author’s goal was to ensure that Mary is clearly understood as she pleads to avoid the emotional turmoil that awaits her: Ah, O my heart! Why does thou not break? As thou art maiden and mother and seeing thy child thus die, How may thou abide this sorrow and this woeful thought? Oh, death, death, why not come thou nigh? 85 In her opening remarks, Mary anticipates the emotional toll of witnessing Christ’s suffering on the Cross. Her description of the pain of watching a child die offers a broad statement on mourning that would have been accessible to the audience, as “the men charged with writing, guiding, composing and directing the performance of compassion clearly judged the graphic telling of the Passion through Mary’s eyes to be moving, effective, and appealing.” 86 The language of her lament underscored the widespread interest in the emotional suffering of both Robert S. Sturges, The Circulation of Power in Medieval Biblical Drama: Theaters of Authority (New York: Springer, 2015), 51-79. 84 Boon, “The Agony of the Virgin,” 16. 85 N-Town, “Crucifixion,” lines 97-100. 86 Rubin, Emotion and Devotion, 103. 83

Christ and Mary.

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Mary’s grief, while uniquely hers as Christ’s mother, can also be viewed as part of a larger movement of ritualized mourning that was described in both dramatic and devotional materials, such as the previously discussed Middle English “Lament of Mary.” Katharine Goodland observes that within the N-Town pageant, Mary sometimes acts helpless like the mothers in the “Slaughter of the Innocents” pageant: “Mary, in obedience to God’s law, cannot prevent her son’s suffering. But she does not succumb without agony to God’s will. She does not stand silently under the cross. With the mothers of the Slaughter plays, she questions, struggles, and mourns to the end.” 87 Mary simultaneously remains obedient to God’s plan, yet still voices her distress over watching her son die. Mary’s mourning process was meant to connect with the women whose children were the victims of King Herod’s massacre, whose “excessive behavior and speech suggest again women potentially out of control.” 88 Ritual lamentation was gendered and in particular, “maternal lachrymosity” was believed to be especially powerful. 89 The concern for a woman’s lack of control of speech and movement is a pervasive theme in the later Middle Ages, particularly in how male figures seek to manage the female response. Mary swoons and asks to kiss Christ’s feet and face. This offers a closer viewpoint of Mary’s experience of the Passion: Mary seeks to be near him during his intense suffering. Within the N-Town pageant, Mary’s weeping increases to the extent that she calls out to Jesus, asking why he has not responded to her laments. Mary confronts Jesus directly: My son, my son, my darling dear! How have I offended thee? Thou hast spoken to all those that are here, Katharine Goodland, Female Mourning in Medieval and Renaissance English Drama (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), 75. 88 Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 131. 89 Bailey, “Lamentation Motifs in Medieval Hagiography,” 534. 87

And not one word thou speaks to me!

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Mary fears that Jesus’s lack of response to her is an overt rejection of her dramatic wailings, as well of her in general. She is concerned that her mourning behavior has become too tortured and that it has overshadowed Christ’s crucifixion. It is this distressed outcry that finally garners an answer from Christ, in which he assures his mother that it “is the will of my father that it must thus be,” and that his death will ensure the Resurrection. 91 His remark also serves as a reminder to Mary to remain obedient to God’s will, despite the immediate sorrow it will cause her. 92 Mary’s lament reflects her ambivalence. Moreover, it stands as a stark contrast to the planctus laments that praised her composure that was in direct contrast to traditional female lamentations. Although she wavers as to whether to try to save her son or die alongside him, medieval commentators “clarified that she never crossed the line into hysteria or conduct otherwise unbecoming to the divine mission of her son.” 93 She cannot halt the painful steps of the Crucifixion that are ultimately necessary for the Redemption. Mary acquiesces to God’s plan, despite anticipating the torment it will bring to both her and Jesus. Mary is not a passive spectator in the N-Town pageant: she uses both her voice and her body to convey her grief. She embraces the Cross, as if attempting to shoulder her son’s burden, and has to be forcibly removed from it (the stage notes indicate “Here they shall take Our Lady from the cross”). 94 Mary describes her pain to the crowd to be so great that she desired to be N-Town, “Crucifixion,” lines 133-146. Ibid., line 153. 92 In the lyrical poem, “Mary at the Foot of the Cross,” Jesus yet again tells her to “do wey thi wepinge (“do away with your weeping.”). William Fitzhenry, “The N-Town Plays and the Politics of Metatheater,” Studies in Philology 100.1 (2003): 22. 93 Boon, “The Agony of the Virgin,” 6. 94 Guillemette Bolens’s The Style of Gestures addresses the relationship between speech and gesture: gestures also spark a series of emotional responses. We can apply this idea to Mary’s reaction. When Mary rushes to the Cross, 90 91

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nailed to the cross alongside him. She rushes to the base of the cross again in an attempt to

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remain with Christ, pleading with the onlookers: I pray you all, let me be here! Hang me up here on this tree By my friend and son that to me is so dear, For wherever he is, there would I be. 96 Sarah McNamer notes that Mary’s articulated wish to die alongside Christ functions almost as a “protest,” although it ultimately proves to be ineffective. 97 One consequence of this extreme depiction of Mary’s grief was that it humanized her, but simultaneously it “highlighted her superiority. The intensity of Mary’s suffering allowed her to feel every pain and emotion that her son felt in his Passion…She was not just a suffering mother, she was nearly Christ’s equal.” 98 Although Mary’s emotional pain paralleled the physical suffering of her son, her reaction was met with external suppression. Following this series of cries, John pulls his adopted mother away, instructing, “Gentle lady, now leave your mourning.” 99 Despite this admonition, Mary disobeys John’s effort to remove her and returns to the cross again. Repeatedly, John urges her to “change your thought” and reminds her that the redemption of humankind is only possible through Christ’s willing acceptance of death. 100 These repeated attempts in the N-Town pageant to stifle Mary’s mourning accentuate a pervasive theme throughout medieval Marian sources: the male concern mourning the tortured death of her son, it is not just her words and cries that stir the viewer/audience member, but the movement. Bolens also observes that neither speech nor gesture is entirely independent, but each part, when deployed, elicits a reaction. Guillemette Bolens, The Style of Gestures: Embodiment and Cognition in Literary Narrative (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press: 2012), 100. 95 Twelfth-century English Augustinian canon William of Newburgh (1136-1198) made a similar observation in his Explanatio Sacri Epithalamii in Matrem Sponsi, “Son, if it is possible, let this cup pass from you and from me…Drink therefore and let me drink with you willingly by dying with you,” cited in Fulton, From Judgment to Passion, 451. 96 N-Town, “Crucifixion,” lines 161-164. 97 McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, 167. 98 Witt, Contrary Marys, 22. 99 N-Town, “Crucifixion,” line 164. 100 Ibid., line 230.

71 with the content, style, and reception of Mary’s voice and attempts to quell her speech. As Mary Witt notes: “the image of Mary justifies the female restriction of the female sex. Mary…is a male designed and utilized image with which the male hierarchy entrenches its own place in the power structure of the church.” 101 This particular depiction of Mary represents a woman whom male figures contested the purpose of her speaking. Here, Mary’s speech was viewed as a disruption to the Passion and was thus met with a response from John. Mary kisses Jesus’s body one last time. After this loving embrace, she requests permission to depart to the temple, where she will “pray to God with sore weeping.” 102 Her retreat to the temple shows that Mary ultimately yields to those who wished to suppress her cries. Mary’s weeping was not viewed just as a physical reaction to her emotional anguish, but also as a manifestation of her holiness. Crying was so prevalent in medieval devotional culture that the medieval world would have viewed her tears as “shed in affective devotion” and “never inconsequential [but] invariably rife with meaning.” 103 While Mary continues with the frequent expressions of grief and extreme suffering, she also describes her relief in the foreseeable Resurrection: Here in this temple my life I shall lead, And serve my Lord God with heartfelt dread. Now shall weeping me foster and feed Till God some other comfort send. Ah, my Lord God, I thee pray, When my child rises on the third day, Comfort me then, thy handmaid, My care for to amend. 104 As she commends herself to the temple, she acknowledges her belief in the Resurrection but

Witt, Contrary Marys. 134. N-Town, “Crucifixion,” line 276. 103 Gertsman, “‘Going They Went and Wept:’ Tears in Medieval Discourse,” xi, xiii. 104 N-Town, “Crucifixion,” lines 286-293. 101 102

maintains that she will continue to mourn until Christ rises from the dead.

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72 Within the English

cycles, Mary remains obedient to the will of God. Theresa Coletti finds that the representation of Mary in certain mystery plays “may contest rather than simply reproduce traditional gender roles and meanings.” 106 In this case, Mary demonstrates both mourning and obedience and thus differs from a typical portrayal of women weeping uncontrollably. This particular lament offers a more nuanced representation of her grief, as opposed to a broad characterization of women sobbing and swooning in a series of frenzied emotional reactions. 107 At some moments, Mary’s laments are dynamic enough that they are met with resistance and attempts to subdue her cries. Despite these efforts to suppress Mary’s grief, she remains rooted near the Cross, weeping while fully trusting in the prospect of the redemption of humankind. Mary is composed enough to take solace in the fact that “mankind will be glad with glee,” for through the promise of the Resurrection, “life is raised: endless to be.” 108 This is just one medieval reimagining of the Passion: the English York Corpus Cycle offers a different perspective from Mary’s vantage point and necessitates further inquiry into the concern to limit Mary’s lamentations. The York Cycle, like the N-Town Cycle, elaborates Mary’s response at the Passion and

Mary dutifully holds onto the promise of the Resurrection, and obediently and patiently waits for her sorrow to reach a definitive end. The N-Town Cycle reworks the Passion narrative because it places the Virgin Mary as the first witness to the Resurrection, instead of Mary Magdalene. When she sees the newly-risen Christ, it is not just his physical presence that offers her comfort, but also indicates that his words bring her joy as well: “these words are good; Thou hast well comforted my mourning mood.” Despite her obedience and belief in the Resurrection, Mary still seeks comfort from Jesus. It is not just the visible evidence of his triumph over death that assuages Mary’s sorrow, but his verbal greeting to his mother. In this moment, she remains human and accessible because she took solace from the relief of her indescribable pain. Mary is joyful at the Resurrection and articulates how her mourning at the Cross garnered sympathy from the female mourners. N-Town, “Appearance to Mary,” lines 113-114. 106 Theresa Coletti, “Purity and Danger: The Paradox of Mary’s Body and the En-gendering of the Infancy Narrative in the English Mystery Cycles,” in Feminist Approaches to the Body in Medieval Literature, eds. Linda Lomperis and Sarah Stanbury (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), 65-95. 107 Late medieval narratives that described female mourning practices noted examples of “widows wailing, twisting their hands, and tearing their hair and clothes.” Such emotional expressions were also found in visual depictions of deathbed and funerary rituals. Judith Steinhoff, “Weeping Women: Social Roles and Images in Fourteenth-Century Tuscany,” in Crying in the Middle Ages: Tears of History, ed. Elina Gertsman (New York: Routledge, 2012), 46. 108 N-Town, “Crucifixion,” lines 125, 127. 105

manufactures a voice for her that reflects her persistent grief and obedience at the foot of the

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Cross. Mary begins by lamenting her son’s torture: My lord, my life, With full great grief Hangs as a thief. Alas, he did never trespass. 109 While weeping as she witnesses the excruciating suffering of her son, Mary also bemoans he is treated as a common thief without ever having sinned himself. In addressing these different aspects of her grief, Sandro Sticca notes that the “sorrowful expressions of the Virgin’s compassion…offered the opportunity to extend and increase the emotive and expressive level of the dramas in which the planctus were inserted.” 110 Mary’s protest over the injustice of his death grows in pitch and garners attention from other witnesses to the Passion. Mary’s lamentations were constructed to be so dramatic and conspicuous that from the Cross, Jesus intervenes and interrupts her. As will prove to be true in many genres of Mary’s speech acts, the deployment and reception of Mary’s words becomes a central issue within the story. Jesus tries to halt his mother’s mourning as he commands: Thou woman, stop thy weeping, For me, you will change nothing My Father’s will is working, For mankind, I give over my body. 111 Jesus labels Mary’s weeping as futile: it will not change the sequence of events, as his death is part of God’s will and necessary for the salvation of humankind. It is plausible that his chastisement of her grief is an attempt to silence her. Jesus’s attempt to stop Mary from crying is ultimately ineffective. Despite Jesus’s efforts to assuage his mother’s mourning, Mary defies him

York, “The Death of Christ,” lines 140-143. Sticca, The Planctus Mariae in the Dramatic Tradition of the Middle Ages, 175. 111 York, “The Death of Christ,” lines 144-147. 109 110

and continues to weep openly. This is a departure from early Christian representations of the

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Passion, which indicated no direct interaction between Mary and her son. The issue of censoring Mary’s voice reflects a larger theme discussed throughout this dissertation: that Mary’s role and voice were often contested. Within the York Passion pageant, Mary tries to convey her emotions vocally, not just through gestures, while facing male responses that suggest opposition to her laments. Katharine Goodland stresses that medieval characterizations of Mary’s emotional mourning in the planctus had to be relatively constrained because “female sorrow, and especially the Virgin’s, should be dramatized as restrained, picturesque, and lyrical; in short, aesthetically contained rather than emotionally real.” 112 Excessive portrayals of Mary weeping would have been met with scrutiny and thus required some sort of intervention to temper her public grief. 113 The English pageants reveal the parameters of women’s speech, and offer both broad commentaries on women mourners in general, and in a narrower perspective, the limitations of Mary’s speech. Like some of the previously discussed planctus narratives, in the York Cycle, Mary offers a thoughtful, almost self-critical analysis of her lament: Alas, Son, sorrow and grief That encloses me in clay, A sword of sorrow smites me, I wish I was dead on this day. 114 These examples of Mary’s “sensitive, human qualities as a woman” are a departure from the distant, stoic figure from earlier medieval depictions of Mary. 115 Unable to halt Mary’s lament, Goodland, Female Mourning in Medieval and Renaissance English Drama, 55. Mary’s role provoked imaginative meditation during Holy Week. Women often participated in public weeping, imitating Mary’s lament. Jessica A. Boon, “The Agony of the Virgin,” 3-25; Sarah Stanbury, “The Virgin’s Gaze: Spectacle and Transgression in Middle English Lyrics of the Passion,” PMLA 106 (1991): 1083–1093. 114 York, “The Death of Christ,” lines 157-160. 115 Anne W. Astell, “Feminism, Deconstruction Hierarchies, and Marian Coronation,” in Divine Representations, ed. Ann Astell (New York: Paulist Press, 1994), 172. 112 113

Jesus entrusts Mary to John’s care. As her adopted son, John also tries to assuage her grief and

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attempts to remove her from the scene. Similar to some of the planctus narratives, this lament offers a self-reflective assessment of Mary’s mourning as she tries to maintain control of her voice and decide whether to wait at the foot of the cross or flee because of her anguish: My voice must stabilize or gain control, How can I see so much sorrow: My Son who is worthy and dear Thus must die on such a sorrowful day. 116 Mary stubbornly remains, and insists that she will stay at the Cross until Christ dies. John attempts again to silence Mary, reminding her of the futility of her mourning: Ah, dear mother, stop this attitude; Your mourning will not change anything. 117 John’s interjection mirrors Christ’s admonition of Mary’s lament. It was another male attempt to dissuade Mary from her public mourning. These interventions echoed contemporary opinions towards the often dramatic and uncontainable female public mourning that was part of the loud din within Christian communities. While these English plays offer one set of responses to female mourning, it is worth briefly acknowledging that Italian humanist Francesco Petrarch had a much more explicit reaction in an effort to confine women’s mourning to the home. Viewing women’s effusive weeping as full of “loud and uncontrolled shrieks,” Petrarch ordered Francesco da Carrara, lord of Padua, to insist “that no women should set foot outside her house.” Instead, he insisted that women mourn behind closed doors in a private setting: “If weeping is sweet for those in misery, let her weep at home to her heart’s content, and not sadden the public spaces.” 118 The issue of female mourning permeated the social consciousness so much that it was discussed York, “The Death of Christ,” lines 170-173. Ibid., lines 174-175. 118 Judith Steinhoff, “Weeping Women: Social Roles and Images in Fourteenth-Century Tuscany,” in Crying in the Middle Ages: Tears of History, ed. Elina Gertsman (New York: Routledge, 2012), 37. 116 117

in devotional materials and was even the subject of regulation in the civic sphere.

119

Both the

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devotional materials and Petrarch’s directive reflect the male concern about women as “threatening, dangerous, untrustworthy creatures who require the constant control by men.” 120 Both the N-Town and York cycles position Mary as a grief-stricken mother whose articulation of her sorrow plays a key role in the dramas. Like so many medieval Marian legends, these pageants attempt to fill in the gaps of her life story and offer a more complex, developed portrait of Mary. The Corpus Christi laments are relatively controlled, “allowing Mary to remain dignified while purging her grief in an acceptable way.” 121 Mary attempted to maintain her composure in her mourning at the Crucifixion, demonstrating her understanding of the promise of Christ’s eventual Resurrection. 122 It is possible that these English dramas, those that were written and performed in the late fourteenth century all the way through the early sixteenth century, were crafted in direct response to some of the popular planctus narratives previously discussed. Perhaps the male interrupters, those who attempted to silence Mary’s mourning, were a direct reaction to the laments where Mary was given more “permission” to speak freely and with great emotion. The more reserved examples reflected Mary’s obedience of God’s will, while the more emotional and dramatic laments emphasized Mary’s humanity. It is worth noting that while both the N-Town and York Passion pageants featured Mary weeping as Christ dies, and even facing criticism for it, in the York “Death of Mary” pageant, she urges those who witness her own death to adopt a stoic form of mourning. As Mary dies, the Peter Dronke, “Laments of the Three Maries: From the Beginnings to the Mystery Plays,” in Idee, Gestalt, Geschichte: Festschrift Klaus von See, Studien zur europäischen Kulturtradition, ed. Gerd Wolfgang Weber (Odense, Denmark: Odense University Press, 1988), 89-116; Clifford Davidson, “The Realism of the York Realist and the York Passion,” Speculum 50 (1975): 270-283; Lisa Renée Perfetti, The Representation of Women’s Emotions in Medieval and Early Modern Culture (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2005). 120 Witt, Contrary Marys, 134. 121 Ibid., 67. 122 Ibid., 67. 119

women who have taken care of her surround her, weeping, “Alas! Help! She dies in our

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hands.” 123 Instead of allowing them to languish in their grief, Mary attempts to suppress their laments. This is a surprisingly similar response to the one she herself experienced at the Passion. Mary functions as the censor and tries to stifle the maidens’ grief in a manner nearly identical to the reaction that she herself faced at the Passion. Despite the impassioned laments that characterized Mary’s role at the Passion, she critiques the wailing women who are with her at her deathbed: What causes women to weep so excessively? You do more harm with your noise, for I still must die. You should, when you saw me go to sleep, Have left all your fuss and let me lay. John, cousin, make them stop and be still. 124 Mary firmly tells them to stop crying, calling their weeping “excessive.” Their lamentations became so prolonged that she even asks John to intervene and curb their anguish. This is a stark contrast to the Passion pageants where both Jesus and John attempted to suppress Mary’s public and dramatic mourning. Here, Mary is the one who seeks to restrain the prolonged lamentations of the women. She entreats them to be obedient to God’s will and reflects her authority over them as she seeks to restrain their mourning practices. If Mary is supposed to be the paragon of proper speech, her attempt to suppress their cries reflects the medieval desire to shape Mary as the figure who models acceptable speech and corrects those who fail adhere to these standards – an issue to be explored throughout the remainder of the dissertation. From a cursory mention in the Gospel of John, Mary’s role at the Passion evolved to become a vehicle for medieval Christians to imagine the emotional experience of watching Christ’s agonizing death on the Cross. Although some of these Passion episodes largely represent 123 124

York, “Death of Mary,” line 99. Ibid., lines 103-107.

78 traditional representations of Mary’s voice, her speech is not static in its deployment. Alexandra F. Johnston offers a caveat to those who disregard Mary’s remarks as merely formulaic: [W]hen you have to examine each word to understand fully what is being said and convey that to an audience, you discover that this is anything but formulaic. The tangle of emotions represented here and the implications of what she is saying for the characterization of this Mary are quite astonishing. 125 Throughout the English liturgical dramas, and within the planctus genre as well, Mary’s grief does not adhere neatly to traditional medieval expectations associated with ritual mourning. 126 However, it remains a sharp departure from her silent participation at the Passion in John’s Gospel. Mary’s vocalized lament shows that medieval sources manipulated her voice to fashion her as a mouthpiece for appropriate grief. Mary’s engaging lament “invoke[s] an idealized audience that is able to identify with the characters on stage while at the same time maintaining enough emotional distance to thoughtfully evaluate the political and religious implications of their speech and actions.” 127 In this way, Mary becomes more accessible to the audience. Unlike texts to be discussed in subsequent chapters, Mary’s voice here does not command an authoritative presence. Rather, her lamentation would have resonated with the medieval audience familiar with a culture of ritualized mourning. In a broader perspective, it offers a microcosm into medieval Christian practices of lamenting the dead.

Conclusion Although it is well established that the story of the Passion was a popular subject within late medieval devotional materials, previous scholarship has not examined Mary’s voice in the

Johnston, “Acting Mary: The Emotional Realism of the Mature Virgin in the N-Town Plays,” 88. The controlled English representations of Mary’s mourning were contrary to the French Passion plays that depicted Mary as “pathetically human” in her grief. Witt, Contrary Marys, 92. 127 Fitzhenry, “The N-Town Plays and the Politics of Metatheater,” 24. 125 126

Passion narratives as a constitutive of her medieval persona. By not taking these varied

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representations of Mary’s vocal grief into account, a significant gap has remained in both Marian devotion studies and broader studies on medieval religious culture. Throughout this chapter, I have offered new insights into a familiar story that was reworked in an era of increased interest in both the humanity of Christ and Mary. This chapter has established that the planctus genre transformed over time in how it shaped Mary as an articulate mourner; changes in her expressions of grief were reflected in representations of her voice. Some of the later depictions even depicted impassioned attempts to suppress Mary’s cries. These planctus laments were not just a series of formulaic lamentations. Instead, the texts that I have analyzed prove that medieval devotional sources did not consistently reduce Mary’s response to inarticulate sobs but fashioned creative monologues for Mary to describe her anguish. Both the narrative and dramatic genres represent a significant expansion of both Mary’s role and voice from earlier medieval antecedents, as Mary’s emotional pain invited much speculation about how she felt and how she articulated it in this darkest moment. 128 Each of these sources indicate that Marian speech was integrated creatively across a broad set of devotional sources. By the end of the later Middle Ages, the narrative and dramatic sources took creative liberties with how they crafted Mary as an integral witness to the Passion. They augmented her role and her voice, making her a cooperative player in the narrative of the salvation of humankind. Some versions were crafted to censor Mary’s voice when the lamentations appeared Donna Ellington examines Passion sermons in order to posit why Mary is able to talk to God in her anguish. Sermons like those by Jean Gerson imagined Mary crying out in her grief, vocalizing and lamenting her sorrow. Mary discusses her physical and emotional connection with her son, and claims that because Jesus experiences suffering, she does as well. This was distinctly a late medieval phenomenon, as early modern materials would imagine Mary on Calvary in complete silence. Jean Gerson lamented Mary’s limited presence in the Gospels, and rebuked them for such a stilted discussion on Mary, particularly for failing to provide any details on the rest of her life. Donna S. Ellington, “Impassioned Mother or Passive Icon: The Virgin’s Role in Late Medieval and Early Modern Passion Sermons,” Renaissance Quarterly 48 (Summer 1995): 227-261; Ellington, From Sacred Body to Angelic Soul, 77-101.

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80 to be excessive, which was emblematic of larger concerns about women’s speech. Because these diverging reactions to Mary’s mourning were found in some contemporaneous sources, it is clear that there were conflicting ideas about the “proper” display of public grief. The widespread commentary on the deployment and nature of Mary’s laments demonstrates a larger trend of medieval sources responding to Mary’s voice that will be explored in subsequent chapters. Later medieval sources offered extensive observations on the reception of her speech and its impact on her persona. Mary’s sorrowful reaction to the Passion remained one of the most persistent themes in these written materials and continued to be deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of medieval spirituality. Mary willingly complied with Christ’s sacrifice: any examples of hesitancy were not regarded as disobedient or doubtful of God’s plan. The expansion of her speaking role offered a new portrayal of Mary: she was no longer described as a peripheral character at the Passion but a primary figure. As we will see in subsequent chapters, the later Middle Ages broke apart any semblance of a common portrayal of Mary. Narrative and dramatic materials used her speech to fragment and fracture traditional expectations of Mary’s persona and fashion a new voice for her that in many cases represented a more powerful matriarch of Christian spirituality. 129 How can these examples of Mary’s pious sorrow be reconciled with some of the more vociferous, non-traditional examples that occur contemporaneously in the Middle Ages? It is possible that the examples examined in this chapter, those narrating the Passion, sought to test the waters of what was acceptable for Marian speech. Mary’s position as privileged mourner somehow gave license for authors to imagine her expressions of grief that changed over time from sobs to forceful speech. After all, the fact that medieval authors developed such an 129

Boulton, Sacred Fictions, 6.

extensive and creative set of Marian laments points to a recognition that medieval culture

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thought it was important to hear the voice of Mary speaking at the Passion. By assigning her a speaking role that increased her part in this story, they implicitly give her power: “Speech, of course, is a prerequisite to power and autonomy in individual persons, the necessary means by which one negotiates one’s place in social relationships and asserts identity.” 130 These clear changes in how authors represented Mary’s grief though her voice are part of the larger transformations in Marian speech that will be examined throughout this study. As part of this larger project, this chapter has offered insight into some of the extreme liberties that devotional authors took to manipulate Mary’s voice to serve as a subtle commentary on how Christians engaged in dynamic devotional practices. In an effort to investigate these larger changes in depictions of Mary’s voice, let us now explore how medieval miracle collections and other devotional materials framed Mary as a learned figure whose voice was integral to her pedagogical persona.

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Bestul, Texts of the Passion, 125.

Chapter Two “Instructed by Heaven”: Mary’s Medieval Learned Voice For just as the Virgin was mother of Christ by conception, so she is mother of the faithful by doctrine and by the instruction of her example. 1 Alain of Lille, Compendiosa in Cantica Canticorum As the cult of the Virgin Mary flourished in the late Middle Ages, inspiring a profusion of devotional and cultural productions in both art and writing in praise of the Mother of God, writers imagined Mary in many pedagogical capacities, including magistra apostolorum and sedes sapientiae. Such titles affirmed that Mary’s wisdom was an integral aspect of her persona as understood in the later Middle Ages. This chapter will examine the construction of Mary’s voice as a student and teacher within a series of devotional and dramatic sources in an era when learning was deeply connected to medieval Christian identity. This investigation supports my larger contention that the constructed voice of Mary in the later Middle Ages shapes her persona as a more dynamic, engaging figure in Christian culture in contrast to themes established in the early medieval period. 2 I argue that the layering of her constructed voice as both student and teacher bolstered her status as a learned figure, whose authority was ultimately rooted in her unique role as Mother of God. But Mary’s instructive authority also derived from medieval conceptions of domesticity. These distinct ideas reveal the tension between her special educational role and one more available as a model for medieval women. By connecting her roles as teacher and mother, the sources we will examine made it possible to portray Mary as a figure of knowledge. Crafting representations of Mary functioning as a teacher within the socio-

Alain of Lille, Compendiosa in Cantica Canticorum ad laudem deiparae virginis Mariae, PL 210: col. 54C. It is usually argued the theme of Mary as queen was an imperial tradition that grew in popularity with the Carolingians. This early medieval representation of Mary shaped her to be a distant, dynastic figure, a motif that would ultimately give way to the late medieval interest in a more accessible, loving Mary. Rubin, Mother of God, 100-103. 1 2

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83 religious context of motherhood enabled medieval authors to envision Mary in a more active role that was neither hers alone, nor threatening to socio-cultural norms. 3 The sources that linked motherhood and education reveal a particular version of Mary’s voice that functioned as a pedagogical tool, which was part of a larger series of different representations of Mary that were contemporaneous in the later Middle Ages. This chapter addresses the method and content of Mary’s learning and teaching and asserts that her clear and constructed voice was an important part of what made her useful as an educational figure. The examples I have selected, which are found in dramatic and devotional materials, provide clear expressions of Mary’s intellectual gifts. Like other chapters of the dissertation, this chapter will consider evidence across different genres to assert that the medieval world constructed distinctive representations of the Mother of God as a learned figure. As evidenced by Alain of Lille’s observation at the beginning of the chapter, medieval authors ascribed to Mary the ability to indoctrinate the faithful. As seen in miracle stories assembled by clerical scribes in the later Middle Ages, Mary’s pupils were faithful Christians who sought to learn proper prayers, postures, and other devotional practices. Although her teaching was confined to particular types of topics, primarily regarding devotional practices, Mary offered clear instructions and corrected those who prayed incorrectly. Mary’s imagined speech as it appears in Marian sources has yet to be mined for what it can tell us about medieval representations of the Virgin as a learned figure. The first part of the chapter will address the voice of Mary as a student and how written materials framed the development of her education in a domestic environment. The second half Kim Phillips, Medieval Maidens: Young Women and Gender in England, 1270-1540 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), 79.

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of the chapter will examine the constructed voice of Mary as an effective maternal teacher to

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both Jesus and her supplicants, as exemplified in both dramatic and devotional materials. Through my analysis of Mary’s voice in the broader category of education, these two parts will jointly highlight Mary’s role as a learned Christian figure. I begin by contextualizing Mary’s role in education by analyzing materials that framed Mary as a student of her mother, St. Anne. By considering Anne’s role as Mary’s maternal teacher, the following sections discuss the centrality of maternal teaching, with an emphasis on the deployment of Mary’s voice in different written materials.

St. Anne as Mary’s Teacher and the Rise of the Maternal Pedagogical Role Even though scholarly consensus held that Mary’s wisdom was instilled at birth, medieval devotional sources promoted the integral role her mother Anne played as Mary’s first teacher. The cult of Anne became more common in England in the twelfth century through the localized celebrations of her feast day in Worcester and Evesham and then continued to flourish from the fourteenth century onward throughout England, France, and Germany. 4 From the liturgical origins of the cult sprang a vast cultural profusion of images, rendered in sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, and altarpieces that positioned Anne as the grandmother of Christ and

Pamela Sheingorn discussed the tradition of Anne teaching Mary as depicted in illuminated Books of Hours, and other forms of devotional imagery in “‘The Wise Mother’: The Image of St. Anne Teaching the Virgin Mary,” Gesta 32.1 (1993): 69–83. For more on the emergence of Anne’s medieval cult, see Kati Ihnat, “Early Evidence for the Cult of Anne in Twelfth-Century England,” Traditio 69 (2014): 1-44; Kathleen Ashley and Pamela Sheingorn, eds., Interpreting Cultural Symbols: Saint Anne in Late Medieval Society (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990); Virginia Nixon, Mary’s Mother: Saint Anne in Late Medieval Europe; Pamela Sheingorn, “The Holy Kinship: The Ascendency of Matriliny in Sacred Genealogy of the Fifteenth Century,” Thought 64 (1989): 268–286; Wendy Scase, “St. Anne and the Education of the Virgin: Literary and Artistic Traditions and Their Implications,” Harlaxton Medieval Studies III: England in the Fourteenth Century, ed. Nicholas Rogers (Stamford, CT: Paul Watkins, 1993), 81-96; Jennifer Welsh, The Cult of St. Anne in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (New York: Routledge, 2017). 4

matriarch of the Holy Family. The increase in shrines and churches dedicated to Anne and

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liturgical commemorations occurred alongside the new visual representations of Anne as the matriarch and teacher of the Holy Kinship. 5 Depicted in a central and authoritative role in illuminated manuscripts, Anne represented the foundation of a strong edifice for the Holy Family. 6 The growing medieval tradition of Anne teaching Mary as a young child emphasized that maternal authority came with the responsibility to teach (Fig. 1).

(Fig. 1) Master of Sir John Fastolf, Saint Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read, c. 1430-1440, illuminated manuscript, J. Paul Getty Museum In the illumination Saint Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read from an early-fifteenth century

Pamela Sheingorn has claimed that the rise of Anna Selbdritt (“herself making a third”) occurred in conjunction with the expansion of literacy. In these images, which were akin to a female, maternal version of the Trinity, Anne’s teaching was so effective that Mary, engrossed in her reading, neglected to pay attention to her son. Sheingorn, “The Wise Mother,” 70-72. 6 Tom Brandenbarg, “Saint Anne: A Holy Grandmother and Her Children,” in Sanctity and Motherhood, ed. Anneke Mulder-Bakker (New York: Routledge, 1995), 31–65; Tom Brandenbarg, “St. Anne and Her Family: The Veneration of St. Anne in Connection with Concepts of Marriage and Family in the Early-Modern Period,” in Saints and She-Devils: Images of Women in the 15th and 16th Centuries, ed. Lène Dresen-Coenders (London: Rubicon Press Ltd., 1987), 101–127. 5

86 French Book of Hours, Anne hovers over the young Mary as she reads. Anne’s dominant posture indicates her authority as both mother and educator. Paintings and sculptures of Anne teaching Mary (and in some cases Jesus as well) how to read and pray imagined what Mary’s own education might have looked like. A good example of this type is “St. Anne of Burgundy venerating St. Anne, Mary, and the Infant Jesus” in the Bedford Hours (Fig. 2).

(Fig. 2) Miniature of Anne of Burgundy, venerating St Anne, St Mary and the Infant Jesus, from the Bedford Hours, c. 1410-c.1430, BL Add MS 18850, f. 257v Here, St. Anne of Burgundy and the Holy Family are shown with books, thus sanctifying the act of reading alongside the act of prayer and modeling how one is meant to use that particular book itself. The genre of the Book of Hours is particularly female itself, so it was logical to frame Anne as the matriarch and educator. Such images depicted education in a familial context and

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affirmed the significant role of the mother in education. When used as devotional aids, these

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images “provided focus for one’s prayers and encouraged a personal identification with God that helped one achieve a higher state.” 8 Moreover, these illuminations suggest that there was a medieval interest in positioning mothers as the first teachers of their children, similar to Anne’s and Mary’s roles as educators. The visual materials provided memorable illustrations of an established tradition that emphasized the mother’s responsibility to teach her children. 9 Giovanni Balbi of Genoa (d. 1298) stressed the importance of images to teach Bible stories to the laity, noting in his Catholicon that images are “For the instruction of simple people, because they are instructed by them as if by books…and [images] excite feelings of devotion, those being aroused more effectively by things seen than by things heard.” 10 When considered alongside devotional texts, these images bolstered the medieval notion that Anne and Mary were important figures in education and suggested that the first teacher of Christ once required a teacher herself.

Michael Clanchy, “Did Mothers Teach their Children to Read?” in Motherhood, Religion and Society in Medieval Europe: Essays Presented to Henrietta Leyser, ed. Conrad Leyser and Lesley Smith (Farnham: Routledge, 2011) 129-153; Tracey Adams, “Medieval Mothers and Their Children: The Case of Isabeau of Bavaria in Light of Medieval Conduct Books,” in Childhood in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: The Results of a Paradigm Shift in the History of Mentality, ed. Albrecht Classen (Boston: De Gruyter, 2005), 265-290; Mary Dzon, The Quest for the Christ Child in the Later Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). 8 Melissa Katz, “Regarding Mary: Women’s Lives Reflected in the Virgin’s Images,” in Divine Mirrors: The Madonna Unveiled, ed. Melissa Katz (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 33. See also Joanna E. Ziegler, “The Medieval Virgin as Object: Art or Anthropology?” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 16.2-3 (1989): 251-264; Timothy Verdon, Mary in Western Art (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2005). 9 This specific role reached its peak in the late Middle Ages. Anne’s role and persona was reshaped to a “mere, saintly grandmother” by the early modern period, similar to other women who dominated the hagiographical and pedagogical landscape of the late Middle Ages. Virginia Nixon, Mary’s Mother, 9. For more on the broader subject of religious iconography and illuminated manuscripts, see Roger S. Wieck, The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life (London: Sotheby’s Publications, 1998); Kathryn A. Smith, Art, Identity and Devotion in Fourteenth-Century England: Three Women and their Books of Hours (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004); Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, The Art of the Bible: Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2016). 10 John of Genoa, Catholicon, quoted in Melissa Katz, “Regarding Mary,” 29-30. This emphasis on the role of images in religious education was part of a rich tradition that stemmed from Gregory the Great (c. 540-604). Celia Chazelle, “Memory, Instruction, Worship: ‘Gregory’s’ Influence on Early Medieval Doctrines of the Artistic Image,” in Gregory the Great: A Symposium, ed. John C. Cavadini (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2015), 181-215. 7

88 This fusion of the roles of teacher-mother sanctified the educative role that a mother was thought to embody naturally. It was a powerful responsibility for a mother to educate a child, not just in matters of moral behavior and conduct, but also in the basic skills of reading and writing, particularly for families in the upper social strata. The mother was both a transmitter and vessel of learning. It was not subversive to position the mother at the center of a child’s education. On the contrary, hagiographers praised esteemed mothers like Anne and Mary for their role within the family structure, and that structure represented a locus of holiness. In examining how hagiography reflected medieval domestic concerns, David Herlihy asserts that “the spiritual families led by holy women, who were sources of divine knowledge and exhorters to religious perfection, imitated the natural family, where presumably mothers assumed a comparable if less visible role in the religious training of children.” 11 Following this domestic configuration, Anne functioned as both the matriarch and model educator of the Holy Family, demonstrating how women were naturally equipped to teach their children. Although Mary’s role as the mother of Jesus was unique, her duties of motherhood, particularly to educate her child, were not. Both religious and conduct literature aimed at instructing mothers how to teach their children. Psalters, intended to function as devotional aids to private prayer in the home, placed Mary as mother at the center of education. Conduct literature supported this position as well. This genre instructed mothers on the tools to use and methods to teach because raising devout children was seen as a pious act. 12 Using prayer aids David Herlihy, Medieval Households (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1985), 123. While How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter focused largely on the domestic roles a daughter would need to learn in terms of cooking, cleaning, etc., in order to maintain a successful household for her husband, prayer was also important. The mother also discouraged her daughter from talking in church, supporting the need for female silence in places of prayer. How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter, in The Babees Book: Medieval Manners for the Young Now First Done into Modern English from the Texts of Dr. F. J. Furnivall, ed. Edith Rickert (London: Chatto and Windus, 1923).

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89 such as devotional books and rosary beads, mothers taught their children simple prayers and how to follow the basic tenets of Christianity. Primers and pastoral manuals such as the fourteenthcentury Lay Folks’ Catechism entreated parents to teach their children in matters regarding literacy, religion, and moral conduct. 13 The visual traditions that showed Anne and Mary within an educational context, particularly within prayerbooks only available to rich families and religious houses, would have had limited accessibility to a wide audience; however, other genres, such as plays, would have depicted this theme differently and more broadly.

“With your speech, Mary, I am well-repaid:” Mary’s Eloquence as a Student Medieval culture modeled Mary’s maternal wisdom after the knowledge her own mother imparted. 14 Anne, along with her husband Joachim, although entirely absent from the Bible, appears in the Protoevangelium of James (c. 150 C.E.) and the Pseudo-Matthew Gospel (c. 600625 C.E.), two early Christian sources that sought to fill the lacunae of Mary’s life prior to the Annunciation. 15 According to the Protoevangelium, Anne and Joachim brought Mary to the temple when she was three years old to commence her religious life as a consecrated virgin (this story is referred to as “The Presentation of Mary”). 16 The apocryphal story depicts the John Thoresby, The Lay Folks’ Catechism, ed. T.F. Simmons and H. E. Nolloth, E.E.T.S. O.S. 118 (1901), 21-23. Pamela Sheingorn’s “Reshapings of the Childhood Miracles of Jesus” is a good reference that highlights the apocryphal stories of Jesus’s childhood and education. This also addresses how the Pseudo-Matthew Gospel evolved over centuries, drawing from the Protoevangelium of James. While Mary functions as a disciplinarian, it is a friend of Joseph’s who plays a more active role in the formal education of Jesus. Pamela Sheingorn, “Reshapings of the Childhood Miracles of Jesus,” in The Christ Child in Medieval Culture: Alpha es et O! eds. Theresa M. Kenney and Mary Dzon (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 256-257. 15 Stephen K. Shoemaker, “Between Scripture and Tradition: The Marian Apocrypha of Early Christianity,” in The Reception and Interpretation of the Bible in Late Antiquity. Proceedings of the Montréal Colloquium in Honour of Charles Kannengiesser, 11-13 October 2006, eds. Lorenzo DiTommaso and Lucian Turcescu (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 491-510. 16 Patricia Healy Wasyliw, “The Pious Infant: Developments in Popular Piety during the High Middle Ages,” in Lay Sanctity, Medieval and Modern, ed. Ann W. Astell (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000), 105115. 13 14

90 Presentation through a verbal transaction among adults: her parents speak on her behalf and hand her over to the high priest. Mary is merely a subject, and her verbal skills are largely ignored. 17 In describing Mary as a young child, one version of the Pseudo-Matthew Gospel claimed: “No one could be found who was better instructed than she (Mary) in wisdom and in the law of God, who was skilled in singing the songs of David (Psalms),” attributing some of Mary’s early education to her parents, prior to her consecration to life in the temple. 18 Presumably, knowledge of Jewish law was a particularly male skill, so it is notable to learn that Mary was well-versed in this specific area. Like the Protoevangelium, the Pseudo-Matthew account praises Mary’s sacred wisdom, but describes it abstractly, without specific examples that could testify to Mary’s spoken eloquence. Maximus the Confessor’s seventh-century Life of the Virgin continued with this message of praising Mary’s intelligence: “For she loved learning and was an excellent student: she was an expert in every good subject and filled with understanding of the divine Scriptures and with all wisdom, because she was to become the mother of the Word and Wisdom of God.” 19 This earliest complete biography of Mary framed Mary’s intelligence as a central aspect of her characterization. It would not be until the later Middle Ages that religious texts more frequently discussed the idea of Mary’s scriptural expertise. While this theme was popularized in late medieval art, including in Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (Fig. 3), the main messages

“And he set her down on the third step of the altar and the Lord God poured grace upon her. She danced triumphantly with her feet and every house in Israel loved her. And her parents returned marveling, praising the Lord God because the child did not turn back. And Mary was in the temple of the Lord, nurtured like a dove and received food from the hand of an angel.” From “The Protoevangelium of James,” in The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation, ed. and trans. J.K. Elliott (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999), 60. 18 Quoted in Gertrude Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, trans. Janet Seligman (Greenwich, CT: Lund Humphries, 1971), 42. 19 Maximus the Confessor, The Life of the Virgin, 43. 17

from such images focused on her tender age (as depicted by the scale in which she is rendered)

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as she entered the enormous temple to meet the priests prepared to offer her formal instruction as she begins her life as a consecrated virgin. Her parents, who began Mary’s education at home, flank her. While this illumination does not contain a banderole to indicate dialogue, it depicted Mary on the verge of beginning a life dedicated to prayer and sacred reading in the temple.

(Fig. 3) The Presentation of the Virgin, in Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, c.1485, tempera on vellum, Folio 137r Late medieval dramatic materials, however, creatively formulated a learned voice for Mary in reimagining this episode. One popular medieval portrayal of Mary as an articulate student, whose education commenced in her childhood home, emerged in the “Presentation of Mary in the Temple” pageant within the N-Town Corpus Christi Cycle. Among the Corpus Christi cycles, the N-Town version supplies the earliest representation of Mary and is the only English play to dramatize

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Mary’s life as a child. The “Presentation” pageant depicted her as a three-year-old when she

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was first presented in the temple and shows her early prowess as a student, imbued with sacred knowledge. The characters for this pageant include Mary, her parents Joachim and Anne, and a high priest named Ysakar who would preside over Mary’s formal religious instruction. 21 Because Mary is already able to articulate her understanding of the role she will play as the mother of God, it suggests that Mary’s education began in the home under Anne’s maternal purview. This fifteenth-century pageant praises Mary’s domestic education and signals how her knowledge, instilled and nourished at an early age, was part of her sanctity and medieval persona. Contrary to the concise versions in apocryphal sources that ignore entirely the voice of Mary, the Presentation scene in the N-Town cycle becomes an elaborate ceremony where Mary’s voice functions contrary to her age and gender. Few other children depicted in medieval dramas spoke with such eloquence. 22 By traditional medieval life-stage classification, Mary at this point was still in infantia: young girls did not reach pueritia until the age of seven. Infant girls were not believed to be “fully rational and responsible agents,” and lacked “growing personal awareness and social accountability.” 23 Defying that classification, Mary proves her exceptional

The first pageant in the Mary cycle (“Joachim and Anne”) addresses the conception of Mary and introduces Anne and Joachim as integral figures in Mary’s story. 21 The stage notes indicate that Mary was to be “all in white as a child of three years old.” 22 Although Jesus participates in a debate in the temple of Jerusalem in the pageant “Christ and the Doctors,” he is already twelve years old. The doctors were impressed with his ability to articulate his understanding of Scripture. When considering his eloquence in the temple in the “Christ and the Doctors” pageant, at this age, while some of his wisdom was divine and evident from birth, some of it can also be presumed to stem from Mary’s instruction as an effective teacher. I will examine this pageant in Chapter Three. 23 Daniel T. Kline, “Female childhoods,” in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Women’s Writing, eds. Carolyn Dinshaw and David Wallace (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 13; J.A. Burrow, The Ages of Man: A Study in Medieval Writing and Thought (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), 1-54. For additional references to young girls’ education in the Middle Ages, see Caroline M. Barron, “The Education and Training of Girls in FifteenthCentury London,” in Courts, Counties, and the Capital in the Later Middle Ages, ed. Diana E. S. Dunn (New York: 20

status in this pageant through her precociously articulate voice. In her entrance into formal

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religious life, Mary’s parents do not serve as her vocal proxy – she speaks for herself. Although this scene features two male authority figures: an ecclesiastical authority (Ysakar) and a patriarchal authority (Joachim), the young Mary is nonetheless able to assert her own scriptural authority and knowledge in their presence. In pledging to remain chaste, Mary’s initial words in the pageant articulate her understanding of her perpetual vow of virginity: Father and mother, if it pleasing to you be, You have made your vow; so truly will I, To be God’s chaste servant while life is in me – But to be God’s wife, I was never worthy. I am the simplest that ever was born of body. I have heard you say, God should have a mother sweet; That I may live to see her, God grant me for his mercy, And allow me to lay my hands under her fair feet! 24 This is an expansion of the extra-biblical sources that described how Mary’s parents praised her precocious voice. Her vow of virginity, while lucid and expressive, also exhibits her perception of herself as humble and simple. Mary articulates her obedience to her parents and physically reveals her deference when she bows out of respect for them. Although some of Mary’s wisdom was divinely imparted, Mary’s opening remarks suggest to me that medieval dramatists assumed that her parents played a seminal role in Mary’s education, in that they raised her to be an eloquent and articulate speaker. Her pledge also suggests that her parents have spoken to her extensively about the unique role she will play as “God’s mother.” Despite her humble comments, those around her recognize that even at three, Mary’s statements are profound. Joachim praises her eloquence upon her entrance to the Temple:

St. Martin’s Press, 1996), 139-153; Nicholas Orme, Medieval Children (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001); Shulamith Shahar, Childhood in the Middle Ages (London: Routledge, 1990). 24 N-Town, “Presentation of Mary in the Temple,” lines 34-41.

Truly, daughter, it is well said. You answer as if you were twenty years old! 25

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Anne concurs and reiterates the strength of her daughter’s already-mature voice, “With your speech, Mary, I am well repaid.” 26 Mary’s piety is evident in her vow of virginity and also manifested in her carefully chosen words and how the other participants receive her speech. 27 From such a young age (and onward throughout the cycle), Mary is praised for her intelligence and characterized as able to speak articulately. 28 The Presentation pageant also stresses that Mary, in addition to her ability to speak eloquently, is able to encourage her parents to pray. At this significant moment, she asks them to bless her and pray to God together: Mother, if it pleases you, first I will take my leave Of my father and you, my mother if you please. I have a Father in heaven, this I believe; Now, good father, with that Father you bless me. 29 I argue that Mary’s request suggests that piety and education were believed to be fused together in her childhood home, similar to the medieval sources that encouraged domestic education. As they bow to commence their prayer, they pray in Latin, a shift from the vernacular, emphasizing Ibid., lines 42-43. Ibid., line 44. 27 The topic of Mary as a perpetual virgin garnered a great deal of interest, both in theological texts, and as an aspect to be imitated. Not only were nuns and other members of religious life celebrated for their vows of virginity, but also the praise for those who committed to a life of chastity was widespread in medieval devotional texts. Virginity was viewed as a key part of one’s spiritual identity. Moreover, the spiritual act of pledging to lead a chaste life was often more valued than the physical pledge to live purely. The subjects of chastity, virginity, and abstinence are so prevalent that the topic is addressed in a myriad of works. For some orientation, see John Bugge, Virginitas: An Essay on the History of a Late Medieval Idea (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1975); Clarissa W. Atkinson, “‘Precious Balsam in a Fragile Glass’: The Ideology of Virginity in the Later Middle Ages,” Journal of Family History 8.2 (Jul., 1983): 131-143; Anke Bernau, Ruth Evans, and Sarah Salih, eds. Medieval Virginities (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003); Ruth Mazo Karras, Sexuality in Medieval Europe: Doing Unto Others (New York: Routledge, 2005), 28-58; Kathleen Coyne Kelly, Performing Virginity and Testing Chastity in the Middle Ages (London: Routledge, 2000); Cindy L. Carlson and Engela Jane Weisl, eds., Constructions of Widowhood and Virginity in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999). 28 Martin Stevens, Four Middle English Mystery Cycles, 217. 29 N-Town, “Presentation of Mary in the Temple,” lines 66-69. 25 26

95 the gravity of the moment. Mary’s desire to commence her education in the Temple centers on 30

receiving her parents’ blessing for her formal education. In a display of familial affection and devotion, she then embraces and kisses her parents: Father and mother, I shall pray for you and weep To God with all my heart specially. Bless me day and night, wherever you sleep, Good father and mother, and be both merry. 31 Although Mary is on the cusp of departing her childhood home, she assures her parents that she will continue to pray for them, suggesting that frequent prayer had already been part of her childhood rearing. This moment represents the transition from her domestic life and education to formal religious training. Her parents and the high priest Ysakar understand the unique role Mary will play as the mother of Jesus, praising her intellect as evidence of her sanctity. Mary’s future motherhood and its exalted status made it possible for her to engage in such rich spiritual discussions, even at a young age. Ysakar continues the ceremony and instructs Mary to ascend the steps into the temple, and if she can do so successfully, he states that it “would be a miracle.” 32 Both the text and the scenery establishes that Mary’s consecration in the temple is significant to her life story. The set design for the Mary play was also more extensive than the rest of the N-Town pageants, because of the creation of the fifteen-step entrance to the temple. It is one of the most theatrical moments of the N-Town Cycle. The elaborate set draws attention to the significance of Mary’s consecration and the important role she will play from an early age. 33 In a dramatic staging,

Peter Meredith, “Introduction,” 21. N-Town, “Presentation of Mary in the Temple,” lines 82-85. 32 Ibid., line 98. 33 Even though she is not imagined as a cloistered nun, the temple scene envisions Mary similar to an oblate, particularly with the ritual deposit at the altar. This story also connects back to the Old Testament story of Samuel 30 31

96 Mary then climbs the fifteen stairs into the Temple while reciting the fifteen Gradual Psalms: an extraordinary physical and mental accomplishment for a young child. 34 As she recites each one, she speaks first in the vernacular and then in Latin: The first degree spiritually applied It is the holy desire with God to be: In trouble, to God I have cried, And quickly the Lord has heard me Ad dominum cum tribularer clamuai et exaudiuit me. 35 Utilizing both the vernacular and Latin in a macaronic style, Mary continues to follow this exegetical pattern for all fifteen psalms, which encompasses the largest portion of the pageant. Although this is a moment of sophisticated speech and an example of her intense religiosity, Mary still exudes an air of humility, as she reiterates her unworthiness. This combination of modesty and knowledge underscores the ambivalence that is a central aspect of the voice of the Virgin Mary in medieval sources. Evidence throughout this dissertation reflects the tension in how authors represented her speaking: Mary often vacillated between hesitant and confident remarks. Although the pageant portrays Mary as knowledgeable and talkative, her responses prove the medieval playwright also represented her as obedient and humble. 36 Moreover, the fact that no one interrupts or criticizes Mary’s exegesis signals that Mary’s recitation was a permissible form of speech. Mary is not just a skilled rhetorician; her parents and the high priest also view Mary’s (Samuel 1-2). Like Anne, Hannah was believed to be barren. She made a vow to God that if she could conceive, she would give the child to a priest. After she miraculously bore her son Samuel, Hannah offered him as a gift to Eli, a High Priest. See Mayke de Yonge, In Samuel’s Image: Child Oblation in the Early Medieval West (Leiden: Brill, 1996). 34 The Gradual Psalms were also known as the “Songs of Ascent” and were traditionally sung by the Levite singers as they climbed the fifteen steps at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Gradual Psalms were incorporated into the Christian liturgy, especially in the Rule of St. Benedict and the modern Liturgy of the Hours. 35 N-Town, “Presentation of Mary in the Temple,” lines 102-106. 36 Peter Meredith, “Performance, Verse and Occasion in the N-Town Mary Play,” in Individuality and Achievement in Middle English Poetry, ed. O.S. Pickering (Cambridge; D.S. Brewer, 1997), 205-221.

97 expert understanding of scripture as a sign of her sanctity. By interacting with scripture as both a literate and articulate female, Mary’s verbal exegesis proves how “the ritual of reading recapitulates the primal experience of speaking and hearing the word of God.” 37 These interconnected skills demonstrate why we should look at both reading and speaking as representative signs of Mary’s intelligence and her status as an exemplary figure in medieval education. Both her parents and Ysakar extol Mary’s extensive recitation. After she completes the ascension up the stairs and glossing of the psalms, Ysakar praises Mary for her feat: It is a high miracle, and by God’s might, There is no doubt, she shall be gracious. 38 She represents an ideal student and in this performance, Mary displays sophisticated hermeneutical skills. She does not just provide a literal translation of the psalms but glosses them. This scene demonstrates Mary’s ability to memorize scripture, through a memorable example of her sophisticated knowledge of scripture and verbal proficiency. 39 Ysakar’s positive reception of Mary’s interpretation of the Psalms is also a testament to Anne and Joachim as her teachers. This recitation establishes that she already has acquired scriptural knowledge in the home. As a child prodigy, Mary ascertains her expertise at biblical interpretation and serves as a model for those who engaged with medieval devotional literature. This performance promotes Mary’s special status in education and establishes her prowess as an “extraordinary scholar.” 40 William Fitzhenry claims that the scribe-compiler wrote for an “intellectually active audience” Brian Stock, Listening for the Text: On the Uses of the Past (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 149. 38 N-Town, “The Presentation of Mary in the Temple,” lines 166-167. 39 Frank Napolitano, “The N-Town Presentation of Mary in the Temple and the Production of Rhetorical Knowledge,” Studies in Philology 110.1 (2013): 1-17. 40 Witt, Contrary Marys, 84-85. 37

98 that would have appreciated Mary’s intelligence and learning faculties. The young Mary in this 41

scene represents a “paragon of human behavior, learning, and speech” as she affirms her dexterity as an exegete. 42 Not only does she demonstrate her comprehension of scripture already learned in her parents’ home, but Mary also quickly conveys a desire to initiate her education in the Temple. While Mary is forthright and authoritative in her knowledge, she still acknowledges her subservient status to Ysakar: Holy father, I beseech you forthright, Say how I shall be ruled in God’s house. 43 Her formal education commences immediately: Ysakar teaches Mary the Ten Commandments and explains what sort of teachers and education she will have in the temple: There be seven priests, indeed To hear confession, to teach and to minister to thee, To teach you God’s laws and scripture to read. 44 Ysakar states that a cohort of priests will offer Mary religious instruction. Additionally, in explaining the Ten Commandments to Mary, Ysakar provides oral, not written instruction. It was through oral instruction and dialogue that Mary’s precocious learning abilities would be refined. As the presentation ceremony continues, the stage notes indicate that Mary bows to God upon taking her vow. In a show of affection, she then embraces her parents and kisses them. Her parents bestow affection upon her and reiterate their familial pride about her accomplishments. Similar to a nun consecrated to medieval cloistered life, Mary enters the temple to begin a decade of learning and prayer. Fitzhenry, “The N-Town Plays and the Politics of Metatheater,” 23. Napolitano, “The N-Town Presentation of Mary in the Temple,” 17. 43 N-Town, “The Presentation of Mary in the Temple,” lines 451-452. 44 Ibid., lines 460-462. 41 42

Throughout the pageant, Mary speaks in a manner that the patriarchal figures of both

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domestic and ecclesiastical spheres praised. In doing so, this portrayal may have assuaged medieval commentators’ concerns about the function of her voice, a topic to be discussed in the next section. Her exegetical glossing does not represent an attempt at public preaching: her parents and Ysakar were her teachers in a self-contained setting. “The Presentation” depicts Mary on the verge of her formal spiritual learning, and at just three years old, she already has exhibited excellent command over scripture and expressed her interest in furthering her education. Using a clear and constructed voice, she models the speech and behavior of an exemplary student who is eager to learn for the sake of glorifying God and honoring her family. The pageant, performed regularly in late medieval England, reveals Mary’s early educational success, which was instilled in the home. The mature and eloquent voice of Mary as a student was the culminating proof of her successful domestic education. She was not just extraordinary and infused with divine wisdom from birth, but in the Temple she demonstrated a clear desire and ability to learn. In the section that follows, it can be argued that medieval authors fashioned a pedagogical voice for Mary to shape her as authorized to teach the apostles. Additionally, medieval authors also depicted Mary as equipped to teach her Christian supplicants about devotional practices and the significance of the sacraments.

Medieval Devotional and Dramatic Commentary on Mary as a Teacher In order to reveal the breadth of Mary’s learned voice, we must also investigate Mary’s role as a teacher in several distinct written genres. Her role as teacher is evident through the lens of the maternal responsibility to educate Jesus, the apostles, and her supplicants as Christian

pupils. There are several components of Mary’s pedagogical persona to explore. I will first

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contextualize the theme of Mary’s voice as her instructive instrument by analyzing theological and devotional commentary on Mary’s role as teacher, particularly how medieval authors explained the function of her voice as part of her persona as magistra apostolorum after the Resurrection. Then, I will assess how this role is exemplified in the York Corpus Christi Cycle, which portrayed Mary as a figure of wisdom and authority among the apostles in the Pentecost pageant. Finally, I will analyze Mary’s role as a teacher of devotional practices to medieval Christian supplicants in a series of miracle collections. Examining these sources together establishes that there was no singular medieval stance on Mary’s status as a learned figure, but there is a range of portrayals that emphasize the importance of Mary’s dynamic voice as a teacher. Although many religious texts praised Mary’s intelligence, not all theological and devotional texts viewed Mary’s sacred wisdom as explicit permission for teaching via oral instruction. The broader issue of a woman preaching was a point of clerical unease since the early Christian period, but there were also distinct concerns regarding the limits of Mary as a model teacher. 45 Ludolph of Saxony, in his Vita Christi, insisted that there was a clear tension In one of the most frequently cited Pauline passages, 1 Corinthians 14:34, women were banned from preaching in church: “Women should keep silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. But if they want to learn anything, they should ask their husbands at home. For it is improper for a woman to speak in the church.” This passage was cited regularly as justification for men to control women’s speech, particularly within the context of the Church. This concern for women’s place as theological teachers was also echoed in what are referred to as the “pastoral epistles,” such as 1 Timothy 2:11, “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” While this was once attributed to the historical Paul, scholarly consensus now believes it was written in the second century after his death. Early Christian and patristic theologians provided a foundation for medieval theologians to write about the education of Christian women. Sermons and other dicta encouraged clear demarcation of what a woman could teach. While there was a vast corpus of writing devoted to this subject of female teaching, it is the set of medieval theological debates about Mary’s capacity as a teacher that will be considered presently. Brendan Byrne, Paul and the Christian Woman (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1988); April D. DeConick, Holy Misogyny: Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts in the Early Church Still Matter (New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 45

101 between Mary’s unique position and the limitations of her teaching abilities because of her sex: “Mary was the mother of the Teacher of all, and she herself was a teacher, although she could not publicly teach by words because of her sex, but she wished to teach by example.” 46 To Ludolph of Saxony, modeling obedience was the proper way for Mary to teach because of her gender. Others, however, maintained that Mary’s motherhood provided an appropriate avenue to nurture the faithful in their religious instruction by modeling a virtuous life. Alain of Lille in his glossing of the Song of Songs, stresses the importance of Mary’s maternity for her role to proselytize the faithful: For just as the Virgin was mother of Christ by conception, so she is mother of the faithful by doctrine and by the instruction of her example. However, there were in the Virgin two patterns of goodly living – chastity and humility – which she proposed to us by way of example. By means of them, as by means of breasts, she suckles the faithful people as a mother suckles her son. 47 In his exegesis, Mary’s maternity was an essential component of teaching, but that teaching was restricted to modeling proper behavior. In this capacity, she did not offer verbal instruction on elements of the faith. Instead, she nourished the faithful: just as a mother’s milk is essential for a child’s growth, Mary modeled piety for the development of a Christian’s spiritual growth. In an age when learning could be viewed as part of spiritual devotion, many sources extolled Mary for how effectively she taught her son. Georgiana Donavin was one of the first scholars to establish this, when she argued in Scribit Mater that some medieval literature lauded Mary chiefly for her influential role as a teacher. John of Garland’s Epithalamium Beatae Mariae Virginis imagined Mary as a “teacher, muse, and orator at many levels of liberal arts 2011), 53-73. 46 Ludolph of Saxony, Vita Christi, 56. 47 Alain of Lille, Compendiosa in cantica canticorum, PL 210: col. 54C; Alain of Lille, “A Concise Explanation of the Song of Songs in Praise of the Virgin Mary,” in Denys Turner, Eros and Allegory: Medieval Exegesis of the Song of Songs, trans. Denys Turner (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1995), 291–308.

102 instruction.” Poets like John Gower, John Lydgate, and Geoffrey Chaucer crafted Mary as the 48

Seat of Wisdom and queen of the liberal arts. 49 These authors admired Mary’s extensive intellectual prowess. Donovan contends that the creation of Mary as exemplary rhetorician within grammatical texts resulted in “representations of the Virgin as a purified grammar, an acclaimed rhetorician, an inspired muse, and a mentor for writers.” 50 While this may have been true for a narrow clerical audience, her representation as a teacher of devotional practice in miracle stories presumably reached a broader audience. Medieval Christian art also illustrated the interest in Mary’s intellectual gifts and capabilities. 51 Twelfth-century sculptures (Fig. 4) depicted Mary seated in majesty with the Christ child on her lap, known as Sedes Sapientiae, in which Mary represented the seat or throne of wisdom. While these materials did not include examples of Mary offering instruction, the emphasis on Mary’s pedagogical influence on her Son ushered in an era that praised Mary for her intelligence and ability to teach. 52 The idea of mother as educator became “encoded in these representations” and confirmed Mary as an appropriate teacher of her son. 53

Donavin, Scribit Mater, 5. Ibid., 295. 50 Ibid., 287. 51 Mary McDevitt, “‘The Ink of Our Mortality’: The Late-Medieval Image of the Writing Christ Child,” in The Christ Child in Medieval Culture: Alpha es et O! eds. Theresa M. Kenney and Mary Dzon (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 231; Mary McDevitt, “Mary, Motherhood, and Teaching in the Book to a Mother and Chaucer’s ABC,” Marian Studies 53 (2002): 23-42; Ilene Forsyth, The Throne of Wisdom: Wood Sculptures of the Madonna in Romanesque France (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972); Margaret Barker, “Wisdom Imagery and the Mother of God,” in The Cult of the Mother of God, eds. Leslie Brubaker and Mary B. Cunningham (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2011), 91–108; Barbara Newman analyzes the Western medieval elision of Sapientiae with the Mother of God in God and the Goddesses, 192–206. 52 Previously, artists depicted Mary in the middle of domestic chores, often sitting at a wheel spinning as the angel appeared, but the profusion of this reading motif helped align Mary’s annunciation story with evidence of her intelligence and literacy. Laura Saetivit Miles provides an extensive summary of the rise of Mary as a literate figure from early Christianity through the High Middle Ages in “The Origins and Development of the Virgin Mary’s Book at the Annunciation,” 632-669. 53 McDevitt, “‘The Ink of Our Mortality’: The Late-Medieval Image of the Writing Christ Child,” 242. 48 49

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(Fig. 4) Enthroned Virgin and Child, late twelfth-century, Walnut with gesso and paint, Auvergne, France, The Cloisters Collection and James J. Rorimer Memorial Fund As the person who raised Jesus, Mary was the “custodian and conduit of sacred knowledge and history,” and this role was clearly linked with her motherhood. 54 Additionally, in the later Middle Ages, some devotional materials emphasized Mary’s literacy as evidence of her sacred knowledge, particularly in the representations of Annunciation imagery. Such images of the Annunciation featured Mary reading scripture when the angel Gabriel appeared to her: this symbolized the Incarnation of Christ as the Word made flesh (John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”). Laura Saetvit Miles argues that “Readers and viewers could share in this transformative act by imitating Mary’s textual devotion and conceiving Christ spiritually in their souls.” 55 Medieval devotional sources emphasized Mary’s special relationship with the Word, as well as praised her sophisticated understanding of the impact of Christ’s ministry and His Resurrection.

54 55

McDevitt, “Mary, Motherhood, and Teaching in the Book to a Mother and Chaucer’s ABC,” 30. Miles, “The Origins and Development of the Virgin Mary’s Book at the Annunciation,” 634.

In his commentary on the Gospel of Luke, twelfth-century bishop Bruno of Segni (d.

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1123) praised Mary’s ability to teach her son. Addressing Mary’s contemplative reflections in the Gospel of Luke and referring to Mary’s influence on Christ at the Wedding at Cana (“Do whatever he tells you”), Bruno extols both her inner contemplation and teaching of the apostles: O thou truly wise mother, alone worthy of such a son! All these words she pondered in her heart (cf. Luke 2:19, 51), keeping them for us and committing them to memory, so that afterwards, she herself having taught, narrated and accounted them, they might be spoken and preached throughout the world. For the apostles heard these things from her. 56 Bruno views Mary’s words as confirmation that Jesus learned from his mother and corroborates the success of his domestic education. Moreover, he connects Mary’s reflection (“all these words she pondered in her heart”) as relevant to her role as teacher of the apostles, because this helped her formulate an account of Christ’s life to them. 57 Mary was not just a suitable teacher of Jesus, but she was also equipped to teach the apostles. Additionally, in glossing the Pentecost story, many medieval authors emphasized the importance of the role of Mary as the teacher of the apostles, argued that her edifying words were crucial to the production of the Gospels, and even attributed some of the success of the apostles’ evangelization to Mary’s instructions.

Magistra Apostolorum: Mary’s Pedagogical Role in Medieval Reflections on the Pentecost Medieval devotional and dramatic sources reshaped the Pentecost story (Acts 1:13-14, “O Mater sapientissima, et sola talis Filii dignissima, quae omnia verba haec in corde suo ideo conferebat, nobisque conservabat, et memoriae commendabat, ut postea, ipsa docente, ipsa narrante et nuntiante, scriberentur, et in universe mundo praedicarentur, cunctisque nationibus nuntiarentur. Ab ipsa enim haec apostoli audierunt,” Bruno of Segni, Commentaria in Luc. PL 165: col. 355. 57 Luke 2:17-19 (Birth of Christ) “When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:51 (Finding Jesus in the Temple) “Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.” It is the Lucan perspective that not only shapes the early Christian voice of Mary, but also provides an early emphasis on the importance of her careful reflection and contemplation on God’s revelations. 56

that names Mary as among the apostles in the Upper Room) to position Mary as the apostles’

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teacher, who supplied stories necessary for the construction of the Gospels. 58 Other commentaries specifically imagined what sort of instruction Mary offered to the apostles. Mary was able to explain Christ’s ministry to them because of her understanding of the revelations that the angel Gabriel made to her about Christ’s Incarnation at the Annunciation. Mary was not a peripheral figure at Pentecost but framed as having an instructive influence on the apostles. She used her voice not only to provide assurance to them, but also to provide information that would be crucial to the spread of Christianity. Twelfth-century English Augustinian canon William of Newburgh (1136-1198) praised the instructive role that Mary played after the Ascension: The pious mother was with her associates, that is, the holy apostles; going and coming out she educated the believers with health-giving words. And however much the apostles, having been taught by their anointing, taught all the mysteries of the faith in their fullness, she delighted them nevertheless to hear from her mouth the things she knew through the Spirit. 59 William of Newburgh indicates that Mary offered clear instructions to the apostles. Although he does not discuss the precise “health-giving words” that Mary supposedly spoke to the apostles,

“And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes, and Jude the brother of James. All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” Patristic theologians attributed the early evangelists’ success to Mary’s teaching. Eusebius and Jerome penned theological tracts that promoted the notion that Mary was fundamental to the creation of the Gospels. Eusebius (263-339) supports the notion of Mary as a teacher of the apostles, noting “Mary being most wise preserved in her heart all the words of Jesus Christ, and kept them for us, and caused them to be registered, in order that according to her instruction their recital and dictation should be published and preached throughout the world and given us to read.” Jerome (347-420) writes: “Mary remained for a time on earth after the Ascension of her Son, with the Apostles, that she might instruct them more fully, since she had seen and handled things more familiarly, and was therefore better able to express them. For things that we better know we better utter.” In this explication, Mary’s teaching was an ideal example of the spread of knowledge through oral transmission. The Blessed Virgin in the Fathers of the First Six Centuries, trans. Thomas Livius (London: Burns and Oates, 1893), 107. 59 William of Newburgh, Explanatio Sacri ephithalami in matrem sponsi: A Commentary on the Canticle of Canticles, ed. John Gorman (Fribourg: Fribourg Switzerland University Press, 1960), 244, cited in McDevitt, “Mary, Motherhood, and Teaching,” 30. 58

106 he praised her pedagogical influence on them. According to his commentary, Mary understood the divine mysteries and was prepared to explain their significance to the first evangelists of Christianity. The widespread praise for Mary’s ability to teach the apostles about Christ’s ministry reflects a clear interest in the fact that Mary spoke to the apostles. Rupert of Deutz (1085-1130) wrote extensively on Mary in his exegesis on the Song of Songs and called Mary “the teacher of all holy religion.” 60 He referred to Mary nine times as a magistra, and once as Magistra Apostolorum and connected the roles and responsibilities of mother and teacher: “A primary role of a mother is to be a teacher of her children, and just as Mary was the first human teacher of her Son Jesus, the Spiritual Mother of the followers of Jesus, became the first Teacher of the disciples of her Son newly born as a Church on Pentecost.” 61 The increased use of the title Magistra Apostolorum in the twelfth century provides evidence of medieval devotional texts that aligned Mary’s maternal authority with her teaching responsibility and described her speaking role as a vital component of her medieval persona. 62 Like other commentators on this subject, Rupert of Deutz identified Mary’s Pentecostal account of Christ’s life and ministry as fundamental to her role as a teacher of the apostles. He addressed the emergence of Mary’s learned voice and connected to Mary a passage from Ecclesiastes 3:7 (“a time to be silent and a Peter W. Gittens, Magistra Apostolorum: Mary in the Mariology of Rupert of Deutz (Saarbrücken, Germany: Scholars’ Press, 2013). 61 Rupert of Deutz, Commentaria in Canticum Canticorum: “De Incarnatione Domini,” ed. Rhabanus Haacke (Turnhout: CCCM, 1974). The title magistra apostolorum became incorporated into the litanies of Paris (twelfth century) and Padua (fourteenth century), and the earliest version of the Litany of Loreto described Mary as Queen of the Apostles. Gittens, Magistra Apostolorum, 9. 62 Maximus the Confessor (who authored the first Life of the Virgin) used this title, calling Mary “a leader and a teacher to the holy apostles.” Maximus the Confessor, Life of the Virgin, 95-99. While this section explores Western sources that refer to the Virgin Mary as magistra apostolorum, it should be noted that Mary Magdalene was often referred to as “the apostle of the apostles” for being the first to receive the good news of Christ’s resurrection. Katherine L. Jansen, “Maria Magdalena: Apostolorum Apostola,” in Women Preachers and Prophets through Two Millennia of Christianity, ed. Beverly Mayne Kienzle and Pamela J. Walker (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 57-96. 60

time to speak”). He noted that Mary opted to “remain in silence” before the Resurrection, but

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after Christ’s Ascension into heaven, “then began the Blessed Virgin’s time to speak to his friends, that is, the holy apostles.” 63 According to his interpretation, Mary chose to speak only when it was fundamental to the development of the nascent Church. Medieval devotional narratives maintained that Mary’s inherent wisdom influenced the Apostles’ understanding of the mysteries. In the popular Golden Legend, Jacobus de Voragine wrote in his entry on Luke that Mary was “instructed by heaven” and gave “sure answers” to the evangelists who inquired about the events surrounding the Annunciation and Christ’s birth. This thirteenth-century hagiographical account portrayed Luke as dependent on Mary’s extensive narrative: “It is believed that he turned to her as to the ark of the testimony and from her received sure knowledge about many things.” 64 Mary offered verbal instructions fundamental to the compilation of the Gospels and the spread of Christianity. Although the New Testament scarcely mentioned Mary’s participation in the early development of the Church, medieval authors explored Mary’s relationship with the apostles extensively. Instead of solely attributing the

“The wise and prudent virgin was fully aware of the saying of Solomon that there was “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl 3:7). For as long as the Son of man deigned to remain on earth in human form she remained in silence. When however the Son of man was crowned with glory and honor after His Resurrection, and the Ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, then began the Blessed Virgin’s time to speak to his friends, that is, the holy apostles, of things they were not able to bear at first, because knowing that the Son of man had once said to them: ‘I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now.’ (Jn. 16:12) When the Spirit of truth comes, He will teach you all truth. The Blessed Virgin herself adhered to this testimony by her voice, and spoke such to all the faithful.”” “Tempus tacendi, ait Salomon (Eccl.3.7), et tempus loquendi: discretionem huiusmodi Virgo sapiens et prudens non ignoravit. Quamdiu Filius hominis manere decuit minoratus Paulo minus ab angelis, fere tandiu in silentio fuit, velut hortus conclusus: ubi autem Gloria et honore coronatus est Filius hominis resurgendo, et in coelum, ubi sedet ad dexteram Patris, ex tunc eidem beatae Virgini fuit tempus loquendi, et hoc amicis, id est sanctis apostolis; et talia loquendi, quali prius portare non potuissent: quod sciens ipse Filius hominis, dixerat quodam loco : Adhuc multa habeo vobis dicere, sed non potestis portare modo. Ubi venit Spiritus veritatis, primus quidem et princeps, ipse illos omnem veritatem docuit; sed ipsa beata Virgo testimonium suae vocis adhibuit, et taliter locuta est omnibus fidelibus.” Rupert of Deutz, Commentarium in Mattheum in de gloria et honore filii hominis. PL 168: cols. 1307-1634. 64 Jacobus de Voragine, “Saint Luke, Evangelist,” in The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, vol. 2. trans. William G. Ryan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 254. 63

apostles’ education to Jesus or to the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, these medieval authors

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emphasize Mary’s particular contribution to the apostles’ understanding of Christ’s life and ministry. 65 Late medieval authorial constructions of Mary as a teacher emerged from concurrent traditions that praised Mary’s intelligence. Offering a new method to explore the idea of Mary as magistra apostolorum, medieval dramatic sources assigned Mary a pedagogical voice and imagined the dialogue that took place between Mary and the apostles at Pentecost. The Pentecost pageant in the York Cycle creates a significant role for Mary, framing her as a central figure after the Resurrection, and an important instructive leader among the apostles. This is a key example of the amplification of Mary’s role, whose voice is a source of both comfort and knowledge to the apostles. Fearful of leaving the Upper Room after the Resurrection because they believe Christ is no longer with them, the apostles convey their hesitancy to emerge, stating, “We dare not walk because of our dread.” 66 Although they are supposed to be the first leaders of the Church, they do not yet wholly understand their mission. Mary, displaying maternal authority and influence over them, chides them for their concerns and offers them a comforting message: Brother, what makes you remain Eadmer of Canterbury (1060-1124) was another twelfth-century author who elaborated Mary’s teaching role in terms of the content and method of her instruction to the apostles. He addressed the importance of her exclusive knowledge and its dissemination, “Mary’s presence, after the Ascension of her Son, was most helpful; in fact her instruction was necessary for a better understanding of our faith. Undoubtedly the apostles received adequate knowledge of all truth from the Holy Spirit, but Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, had a much deeper, clearer, and personal knowledge of this truth. Therefore, she could explain to the apostles the mysteries known to her alone. The knowledge of Mary was not only speculative but practical, acquired from participation and experience.” “Era praeterea…utilis et necessaria fidei nostrae conversatione sua post ascenionem. Domini inter apostolos ejus, quia licet ipsi per revelationem Spiritus Sancti edocti fuerint omnem veritatem, incomparabiliter tamen eminentius ac manifestius ipsa, per eundem Spiritum, ipsium veritatis profunditatem intelligebat, ac per hoc multa eis per hanc revelabantur, quae in se non solum simplici scientia, sed ipso effectus, ipso experimento didicerat de mysteriis ejusdem Domini nostri Jesu Christi.” Eadmer of Canterbury, De excellentia Virginis Mariae liber 5. PL 159: col. 571. Peter Gittens addresses some of the other Marian Canticle commentaries, including those by Honorius of Autun and Alain of Lille in Magistra Apostolorum, 53-60. 66 York, “Pentecost,” lines 59-62. 65

To mourn continuously? My Son of all riches is well, He will direct you to do good works. 67

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Mary offers them strength, consolation, and instruction: she functions as both a mother and a teacher. With her voice, Mary articulates her knowledge of the significance of the Resurrection, and helps the apostles learn about the salvation of humankind. The idea that Mary was an important eyewitness to events surrounding the salvation of humankind was a continuation of the pattern established in Chapter One, where Mary carefully recounted the events of the Passion. In both instances, Mary grasped the broader implications of Christ’s ministry, even when it remained a mystery to others. Her response promotes the medieval idea that Mary effectively taught the apostles about the significance of the Ascension, despite their initial doubt and confusion. Continuing with the lesson, Mary teaches the apostles that because of Christ’s resurrection, a new church is born: Be ever honored and blessed Full of worship always in this world To my sovereign Son, Jesus Our Lord alone shall be everlasting. Now we may believe his stories to be true. 68 Mary provides encouragement to the apostles, who feel inadequately prepared to begin their evangelization. Offering maternal assurance, Mary explains that the Resurrection allows the apostles to live without fear of persecution. Additionally, her comment that Christ’s “stories” are true relates to the medieval theological and devotional writings that pin the success of the construction of the Gospels on Mary’s retellings of Christ’s life and ministry to the apostles. 67 68

Ibid., lines 63-66. Ibid., lines 99-103.

Through externalized prayer (not just silent contemplation), Mary models and describes the

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behavior that the apostles should adopt: And therefore never fear the devil, But with prayers of heart and hand That we may have his (Jesus’s) help; Then shall it be soon to send, The messenger that will save us. 69 Mary instructs them that the use of daily prayer with “heart and hand” (word and gesture) will ensure that Christ will provide relief to all those who seek his aid. Similar to the medieval devotional sources that praise Mary as magistra apostolorum, Mary offers clarification to the apostles about many specific details about the Resurrection and Pentecost. As the apostles prepare for the descent of the Holy Spirit, Mary describes the Holy Trinity and the role of the Holy Spirit: For his high Holy Ghost He allows you to give, Mirth and truth to experience, And all sin to amend. 70 Mary reveals her understanding of Christ’s stories, and the role of the Holy Spirit in their salvation. Many medieval images depict this moment as well, placing Mary at the center when the Holy Spirit descends as a dove upon the apostles. For example, in the Pentecost image of a fifteenth-century Book Of Hours from Paris (Fig. 5), Mary’s face is turned upward and prepared to receive the Holy Spirit.

69 70

Ibid., lines 70-74. Ibid., lines 107-110.

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(Fig. 5) Jean Fouquet, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, c.1455, miniature on vellum, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, From the "Hours of Simon de Varie of Paris,” MS Den Haag, KB, 74 G 37a. In this image by Jean Fouquet, as the Holy Spirit descends, Mary continues to read scripture placidly, while some of the apostles take fright and raise their arms in distress. Yet other apostles turn toward Mary, just as students would hover around their teacher. Mary was positioned as a central figure to receive the Holy Spirit and thus is the suitable teacher to explain this third part of the Trinity to the apostles. Such images affirmed Mary’s fundamental place at the Pentecost and as essential to the foundation of the Church. Mary concludes the York pageant by offering comfort to Peter, blessing James and John, and exhorting the apostles to depart: Now Peter, since it shall be so, That you have many ways to go, There shall be no harm toward you While my son’s mysteries manifest for you. 71 71

Ibid., lines 217-222.

112 The apostles only feel comfortable leaving the Upper Room because they learned of the Glorious Mysteries from Mary. This dramatic depiction of Mary as teacher of the apostles signaled her prominent role in the early Church’s evangelization, which was corroborated by many medieval devotional texts on the same subject. She nurtured the first Christians and commanded them to follow her son’s message. After Pentecost, the early work of the apostles occurred under Mary’s tutelage. Mary functioned simultaneously as the mother of the apostles and their teacher, in that she both comforted them and instructed them. This medieval vision of Mary represents her both as midwife at the birth of the Church, but also as a teacher of the apostles. This is a trend particularly evident in England, a region so enthusiastic in its Marian devotion that it tended to advance more powerful representations of Mary, shaping her to be an authoritative figure and effective teacher by means of her pedagogical voice. Unlike the N-Town Mary cycle, which shows Mary’s prowess as a young student, the York pageant provides evidence of her maternal teaching authority over the apostles. In this pageant, there are no indications that her teaching was regarded as subversive. No one seeks to silence Mary or interrupt her. Rather, the apostles look to her not just as the Mother of God but also as their mother to guide them in their faith and evangelization. There is clear deference to her authority and recognition of the articulation of her power in the early Church. In these colorful materials, Mary’s legacy to the apostles is not just as their adoptive mother, but also as an instrumental part of the early formulation and spread of Christianity, and the creation of the Gospels. The devotional writings that cite Mary as magistra apostolorum, as well as the York pageant, are just a few examples of how late medieval sources crafted Mary as a maternal teacher of Christians, through public and pedagogical speech. In the next section we will analyze

Mary’s teachings as she appeared before medieval supplicants to indoctrinate them on piety

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within a set of imaginative miracle stories.

Formulating a New Teaching Identity for Mary in the Miracle Stories The praise for Mary as a model magistra appeared both in theological and devotional texts, as discussed earlier, as well as in narrative sources accessible to a wider population. Mary’s intellectual and teaching abilities were considered wide-ranging, and accordingly she was referred to as magistra totius veritatis, “mistress of all truth.” 72 In the same way that Mary’s constructed speech showed that she was an exemplary student and magistra apostolorum, so too did it indicate that she was an extraordinary teacher of devotional practices. She also corrected those who deviated from the faith: Mary was equipped to both teach and defend the faith. In the following section on Mary as teacher, I examine miracle collections primarily assembled by clerical scribes. 73 While the larger aim of these collections was to promote spiritual edification, the stories promoting Marian prayer are a prevalent topic across these selected collections. 74 “Transcribed” in dialogic form, Mary’s voice served as a pedagogical instrument to teach her supplicants key aspects of Marian piety, particularly in the form of prayers. This section will consider the role of Mary’s voice within the genre of miracula and will address how it was used as an important pedagogical tool. By highlighting the connection between her pedagogical and maternal roles, I will show how the miracula genre shaped Mary as a teacher of devotional practices. An examination of Mary’s voice in these stories deepens our Guerric of Igny, cited in Mary McDevitt, “Mary, Motherhood, and Teaching,” 23. For detailed background on each particular miracle collection, see the introduction of the dissertation. 74 Other common themes include stories that described the miraculous healing or recovery of supplicants, heretics who recant their errant beliefs, and other events that precipitate pious behavior from the supplicants. Chapter Four will examine some of these themes in greater detail. 72 73

understanding of Mary’s didactic role and its connection to her status as mother. These

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collections utilized a dialogic format that framed Mary as a teacher of devotional practices. The evidence suggests that through the teaching function of dialogue, Mary became a more accessible teaching figure amidst a culture preoccupied with learning, similar to Novikoff’s argument that dialogue was an effective pedagogical tool within theological tracts. 75 While it was typical for miracle stories to include dialogue as a way of enlivening the story, I would argue that the hagiographers opted to craft their Marian stories using dialogue in order to promote her maternal and pedagogical persona. Despite the fact that the miracle stories were “distorted, consciously or otherwise,” as was typical within hagiographical texts, we can still glean how these “distortions” accentuated Mary as magistra. 76 Examining miracles stories, although they were not transcripts of actual conversations, will enable us to show the power of Mary’s teaching authority through her voice. My analysis will show that different authors carefully mediated Mary’s voice to be evidence of her learned authority, cultivating her as a maternal teacher. The examples I will scrutinize focus largely on how Mary delivers instructions and how her “students” respond to these instructions. The emergence of Mary’s voice in the miracle stories serves as an instructive tool to promote Christian devotional practices. These authors framed Mary as poised to offer effective oral instruction. Similar constructions of Mary’s voice show that this was a trend not insolated to a single region but utilized throughout the genre, no matter its geographical provenance. The particular collections I have included (discussed in greater detail in the introduction) place greater emphasis on her role as a teacher, and do this by

Novikoff, “Toward a Cultural History of Scholastic Disputation,” 331-364; Novikoff, “Anselm, Dialogue, and the Rise of Scholastic Disputation,” 387-418. 76 Gabriella Signori, “The Miracle Condition and Its Ingredients: A Methodical and Critical Approach to Marian Shrine Wonders (10th to 13th Century),” Hagiographica 3 (1996): 302. 75

inserting a speaking voice for Mary within the narrative. The following collections pay

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significant attention to describing Mary’s persona as a teacher, even providing narrative commentary on how her words enlighten and educate those who sought her succor. Analyzing these miracle stories will demonstrate how Mary used verbal instructions to delineate various components of devotional piety to her eager supplicants.

The Pedagogical Promotion of Prayers in Miracle Stories Given the didactic nature of the miracula genre, Mary was precisely positioned to promote her own prayers, which were widely diffused in late medieval Christian religious practices. This section analyzes the ways in which she instructed her supplicants to learn these prayers. Rachel Fulton claims that the contemporary miracles only point to “the broad lineaments of a picture of prayer, not its finer experiential details.” 77 I suggest a different view: that it is important to examine these stories in order to investigate the role that teaching played in the medieval construction of Mary’s persona. Specifically, I seek to examine how her speaking voice, as depicted in textual sources, underscored her authoritative role. My analysis of these miracle stories will include attention to how she provided basic religious instruction to her supplicants, specifically about prayer, but also about participation in the sacraments. Additionally, these miracle collections offer numerous experiential details about medieval devotional practices and highlight Mary’s particular role within these traditions as the model practitioner. The Ave Maria prayer grew in prominence in the thirteenth century, and Christians utilized the angelic salutation in different components of prayer, as illustrated across a variety of 77

Fulton, From Judgment to Passion, 202.

116 visual and written media. Upon St. Bonaventure’s recommendation, it was to be recited daily 78

with the accompaniment of bells at the Angelus. 79 It was also factored into the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, another devotional practice dedicated specifically to honoring Mary. The Ave Maria prayer derives from the Lucan Infancy Gospel: the first part is the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary in Luke 1:28 and Mary’s cousin Elisabeth’s greeting in Luke 1:42. The second part (“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death”) would not be added until the late fifteenth century. 80 As evident in the following examples, Mary appeared before supplicants to provide verbal instructions on the prayer’s importance. In the opening tale of the fifteenth-century Myracles of Our Lady, the narrator records a story of a pious man devoted to Mary who also taught his son to pray the Ave Maria fifty times per day in supplication of Mary. The son became a monk, and during his daily prayer, Mary appeared to him. In this episode, Mary specifies which mysteries to imagine for each cluster of prayers. She provides explicit guidance on how to ruminate on the holy mysteries: The first one, say in remembrance and worship of that joy that I had when the angel Gabriel greeted me, and said that I should conceive the Son of God, which should redeem mankind. The second one, say in remembrance and worship of that great joy I had when I brought forth into this world God and man. The third one, you shall say in remembrance and worship of my Assumption, when I was exalted and crowned queen of Heaven, where my dear son reigns everlastingly. 81 Mary encourages the supplicant to use his imagination as he ruminates on each of the mysteries. She explains how each of the Joyful Mysteries connects to her son, reiterating her role as a maternal teacher. This interactive dialogue enabled Mary to guide her supplicants in their Rubin, Mother of God, 318-19, 332-338. Meredith J. Gill, Angels and the Order of Heaven in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 101. 80 Herbert Thurston, “The Origins of the Hail Mary,” in Familiar Prayers: Their Origin and History (London: Burns and Oates, 1953), 90-114. 81 Wynken de Worde, The Myracles of Oure Lady, 41. 78 79

spiritual development, under her watchful eye.

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Mary then asks the monk to remain steadfast in his devotion to her and promises to return to him on a particular day in order to teach him more about the joyful mysteries. Unlike popular medieval saints, Mary not only advocated for general devotion to Christ, she offered particular instruction centered around Marian devotion. Because he prayed the Ave Maria daily in the particular manner that Mary had taught him, she returned as promised and exhorted him to teach others in his community about proper Marian prayers. Furthermore, Mary told him that he needed to preach and teach her Psalter, “Teach thy convent to say my psalter as I had taught you, and preach it over to all the people to do the same, that it will help them both in life and in death. Seven years you will live to preach and teach the people that they may exercise and say my psalter.” In this apparition, Mary promotes prayer, the spread of Christian practices, and the use of devotional materials. The monk diligently followed her instructions until his death seven years later, when he “blessedly died and went to heaven,” thus fulfilling Mary’s instructions. 82 The Ave Maria prayer factored into the monk’s own salvation, and because of Mary’s instructions, the Marian prayer was also propagated throughout the monastery. This miracle was circulated in an era when devotion to the rosary grew in popularity, alongside the rise of rosary confraternities. 83 I believe that authors included examples like this to underscore the importance that worshipers learn how to use Mary’s psalter. 84 In discussing medieval Christian education, Jean Leclercq referred to “the sanctification of the imagination,” and I argue that these imagined

Ibid., 42. Anne Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997). 84 The Vernon Manuscript includes “a prayer on the five joys of Our Lady,” which functioned as a widespread subject of meditation. Miracles of the Virgin in Middle English, ed. and trans. Adrienne Williams Boyarin (Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2015), 142. 82 83

dialogues and interpretations were effective devotional practices in a world immersed in

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affective piety and imagery. 85 Johannes Herolt also placed great emphasis on Mary’s ability to teach prayers such as the Ave Maria. In one example, Herolt recalls a young man’s devotion to Mary, with particular emphasis on the use of Marian prayers. His uncle had urged him pray the Ave Maria fifty times a day in honor of the Blessed Mother. The young man followed the instructions for a year, and Mary appeared on his wedding day to acknowledge how he “diligently honored me.” 86 Frequent prayer garnered the favor and approval of Mary, who appeared to offer praise for such continual devotion. Miracle stories like these show how much of Christian devotional materials had an educative component. 87 According to Herolt, Mary taught by modeling pious behavior, and supplementing it with verbal lessons to her spiritual children, thus broadening the breadth of this characterization of Mary. Herolt, like the other miracula compilers, features stories of Mary teaching men and women, members of the clergy and the laity, both the pious and those of ill repute, shaping Mary to be a teacher for all Christians. While many miracle stories focus on Mary’s manner of instruction, they also showed how Mary provided lessons about prayers’ efficacy. William of Malmesbury describes a sacristan who had an intense personal devotion to Mary and would recite the Ave Maria prayer every time he passed the altar. Yet, shortly before the sacristan died, demons materialized to accuse of him of impropriety. In the sacristan’s defense, Mary appears in order to testify to his piety and devotion to her: “You lie, wicked demons; I know he never left the monastery without

Jean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture, trans. Catherine Misrahi (New York: Fordham University Press, 1982), 75. 86 Johannes Herolt, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 63. 87 Eileen Power, Introduction to Herolt, Miracles of the Virgin, ix. 85

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greeting me. One who died almost at the moment of saluting me met no bad death.” Mary

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challenges the demons’ lies and instructs the audience that Marian prayer offered protection from evil forces, especially on the verge of death. In other instances, Mary acknowledged that recitation of the Ave Maria prayer served to negate grievous sins, including adultery. Caesarius of Heisterbach noted the stories he included were for “those who are poor, not in grace, but in learning.” 89 An English knight who had an affair with his lord’s wife still maintained devotion to Mary by praying the Ave Maria fifty times daily. Appearing before the knight to redress his behavior like a scolding mother, Mary admonished: “I so love the salutation you say to me daily. And because thy heart is unclean, I loathe thy mouth. But be cleansed of it, and thou shall be rewarded.” 90 Although Mary fully acknowledged the sinful act, like a forgiving mother and understanding teacher, she emphasized the salvific power of daily prayer. These stories should not be viewed as mere lists of examples of Mary’s instructions. As Anne Clark notes, “These miracles stories, while always encouraging devotion to Mary and frequently promoting a specific devotion such as the Ave, cannot be reduced to a simple message of devotion for the sake of reward. They often suggest a more subtle message in which devotion to Mary is part of a complex religiosity.” 91 Indeed, these examples connected Mary’s maternal and pedagogical roles through the use of her learned voice. By its design, the miracula genre had some natural didactic tendencies, in that it was written to inspire devotion. However, by positioning Mary as a teaching figure who offered “Mendatii uos arguo, nequissimi demones, cum sciam eum sine salutatione mea numquam monasterium egressum. Qui igitur pene in ipsa salutationis meae hora priuatus est anima, non in malo functus est uita.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 56. 89 Caesarius of Heisterbach, Dialogue on Miracles, 1. 90 Wynken de Worde, The Myracles of Oure Lady, 47. 91 Anne Clark, “The Cult of the Virgin Mary and Technologies of Christian Formation,” in Educating Peoples of Faith: Exploring the History of Jewish and Christian Communities, ed. John Van Engen (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004), 234. 88

instruction not just through modeling proper behavior but with her voice as well, I argue that

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Caesarius’s stories place more emphasis on Mary as a teacher. The didactic function operates on two levels in the Dialogue. It is, as the title suggests, the narrative framework, depicting a conversation between a knowledgeable monk (the teacher) and an inquisitive novice (the student). The novice poses questions, makes comments, and asks for examples on “how she gives light and understanding to the sinner,” signaling the importance of Mary’s role as a teacher. On the second level, the didactic method is evident when Mary as a teacher dialogues with her “pupils,” the supplicants. Like the invented teacher who frames the collection, Mary functions as a pedagogical figure: throughout the miracle stories and her voice functions as an effective instrument engaged in a culture of dialogue. Miracle stories emphasize the importance of Marian prayer and also stress the necessity for proper posture while praying. As Caesarius of Heisterbach reported in one story, Mary appeared in order to correct those who improperly recited their prayers: undisciplined movements were not tolerated. For example, Mary instructs a woman whose shins were injured from fervent prayer to “kneel down” to pray the Ave Maria, and that she should also use “this modest and submissive way…for in this I take much pleasure.” 92 The novice, whose comments offer supplemental information about the lesson, notes that Mary wants only the most reverent movements in prayer, and not “indiscreet fervor in prayer or for undisciplined movements in genuflections.” 93 The novice poses questions, makes comments, and asks for examples on “how she gives light and understanding to the sinner,” signaling the importance of Mary’s role as a

92 93

Caesarius of Heisterbach, The Dialogue on Miracles, 533. Ibid., 533.

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teacher. Beyond correct verbal execution, such examples also demonstrate that medieval

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Christian practices demanded a particular physicality. Just like a mother taught her children how to pray properly, Mary also taught her supplicants the fundamental postures required for certain devotional practices. 95 Caesarius notes that “with so great love does the Blessed Virgin enfold those who are her devoted servants,” focusing specifically on those who incorporate Marian devotion in their lives. 96 While the use of the Ave Maria was the predominant Marian prayer noted in miracle stories, Mary also taught her supplicants about the importance of the Salve Regina Misericordie antiphon. A priest in the Rhineland reported that he used the antiphon as part of his daily devotion during the Divine Hours. He recounted walking to visit someone when a severe thunderstorm erupted. Full of fear, the priest rushed into a nearby church, and “prostrated myself before the altar and prayed to Our Lady with regard to that storm.” Offering maternal comfort, Mary quickly appeared before him and said, “Because you chant so willingly and so frequently Salve regina misericordie, never shall thunder or lightning harm you although you have often suffered from fear of them in the past.” 97 Demonstrating his understanding of the lesson of the story, the fictitious novice observes, “How greatly she delights in sequences, canticles and Ibid., 454. There are several prayer postures that were frequently used in the Middle Ages. In 1990, Jean-Claude Schmitt was one of the first medieval scholars to conduct an extensive survey of medieval gestures and to argue for their importance to evaluate both social and religious patterns within medieval society. Schmitt even pointed to the gestures of Mary in several miracle collections as key examples of gesture in medieval sources. He remarks that the pedagogy of gestures occupies a significant place in medieval history, both in “live” instruction and written sources. He also broke down the different types of prayer positions, as evidenced in both written and visual sources. JeanClaude Schmitt, La raison des gestes dans l’Occident medieval (Gallimard: Paris, 1990); Jean-Claude Schmitt, “The Rationale of Gestures in the West: Third to Thirteenth Centuries,” in A Cultural History of Gesture: From Antiquity to the Present Day, ed. Jan Bremmer and Hermn Roodenburg (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991), 59-70. See also J.A. Burrow, Gestures and Looks in Medieval Narrative. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 48 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Maria Cručuin, “Ora pro nobis santa dei genitrix: Prayers and Gestures in Late Medieval Transylvania,” in Ritual, Images and Daily Life, ed. Gerhard Jaritz (Zurich: Lit Verlag, 2012), 107-138. 96 Caesarius of Heisterbach, The Dialogue on Miracles, 470. 97 Ibid., 497. 94 95

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hymns and other chants composed in her honor.” These concluding remarks reiterate the

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importance of the use of Marian prayers and antiphons in daily life. In an era when the Church implored the clergy to instruct the faithful on how to pray properly, the Dialogus collection crafts Mary as an accessible teacher. Caesarius’s stories both stimulated devotion and offered examples of pious Christians in an era when Marian prayers and devotion richly colored the landscape of Christian spirituality. Some miracle stories framed both Mary and her mother Anne as teachers of devotional practices, offering extra emphasis on the role of the maternal teacher. William of Malmesbury describes Mary appearing before French bishop Guy of Lescar who prayed to be rescued after he was kidnapped during the Battle of Fraga in 1134 against the Almoravids (a Berber dynasty of Morocco). In this episode, not only does the Virgin Mary entreat Guy to pray more frequently, as she did with so many supplicants, but she also connects the role of her own mother as an effective mediator. Mary admonishes the bishop’s tepid devotion, saying, You do not redouble your prayer as you should, or ask help as would be expedient. If you begged me for love of St. Anne, my beloved mother, and by your deep-felt prayers won her as mediator for you with my only-begotten Son, you would walk free of your prison chains and swiftly win the grace of bodily freedom. You would escape the hideous solitude of this ugly prison, the yoke of injurious servitude would be lifted from you, and you would be taken away from this misery of death. 99 In response, Guy prays to both Mary and Anne, and Mary responds to his request for aid and frees him from his captors. Commenting afterwards on the success of Mary’s intervention,

Ibid., 498. “Nequaquam sicut deceret preces ingeminas, nec ut expediret interpellas. Si exorares me pro amore sanctae Annae dilectae genitricis meae, et precordialibus uotis ipsam interuentricem tibi adquireres apud unigenitum filium meum, a uinculis carceralibus solutus recederes, et libertatis corporeae gratiam citius. Euaderes a solitudine deformi informis ergastuli, et seruitutis noxiae iugo subtractus ab hac mortis miseria fieres alienus.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 47.

98 99

123 William of Malmesbury notes “divine inspiration made him ready to learn in his holy prayer, and the blessed Mother of God brought him back to his old liberty and freedom of action.” 100 By chastising him, Mary effectively encouraged Guy to increase his piety by learning more prayers. This story was just one part of the broader medieval practice across different kinds of devotional materials that depicted Mary as an effective teacher. In addition to the miracle stories that positioned Mary as a teacher of prayers, there are a cluster of Marian prayers and prayer-poems that linked Mary’s maternal role and instructional roles. 101 These were often included in prayerbooks and other compilations that contained miracle stories and vernacular poetry in praise of the Virgin Mary. Such assemblages further support the idea that multiple medieval genres fashioned Mary as an effective maternal teacher.

“Quem et diuina inspiratio in sacris precibus reddidit docilem et beata Dei genitrix ad proprii iuris pristinam reduxit libertatem.” Ibid., 48. 101 For example, a prayer-poem, “A Salutation to Our Lady,” in the Vernon Manuscript (c. 1390), praises Mary’s beauty (“Blessed be thy beautiful face”), but also highlights Mary’s intelligence, even exclaiming “Blessed be you, Lady, that witty brain” and “Blessed be you, Lady, thy stable thoughts blessed be.” Carl Horstmann, ed., The Minor Poems of the Vernon MS, vol. 1, Early English Text Society O.S. 98 (London: Kegan Paul, 1892), 121–31; A.I. Doyle, The Vernon Manuscript: A Facsimile of Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Eng. poet. a.1 (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1987). The Vernon Manuscript even includes an image (Fig. 6) accompanying the miracle story “The Child Slain By Jews” that features speech scrolls of the different Marian prayers that Mary addressed in some of the examples discussed earlier in this chapter. The three speech scrolls include the first words of Latin prayers: from the dead child, “Salve sancta parens”; from the bishop at left, “Requiem eternam etc”; and from the large lily the bishop holds, “Alma redemptoris mater.” Both the Vernon Manuscript (Bodleian Library MS Eng.poet. a.1) and British Library MS Additional 37049—selections from which appear above—compile their Miracles of the Virgin with a wide range of other texts and images, and both also include various Marian poems of praise and requests for intercession. Adrienne Willams Boyarin, Miracles of the Virgin in Middle English, 133. 100

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(Fig. 6) Illustration of “The Child Slain by Jews,” c. 1390, Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Engl. poet. a.1 (The Vernon Manuscript), fol. 124v. West Midlands. Although many of the sources that characterize Mary as a teacher stem from miracle collections, it is worth noting that some visionary narratives also highlighted Mary’s pedagogical role. Remarkably, some of the visionary literature portrays Mary as a stern teacher, who often appears as a sort of correctrix of piety, to coin a phrase. Elisabeth of Schönau (1129-1164), a Rhineland Benedictine nun, wrote about Mary in her Liber visionum primus, secundus, and tercius, describing Mary as her own spiritual guide. But even Elisabeth, a devout nun at the Hirsau monastery, was not immune to criticism from Mary. Recounting one instance where Mary articulated her disappointment in Elisabeth’s piety, she noted that Mary “held her face from me as if in indignation.” 102 During an era when Marian prayers and devotional practices were expanding, Mary was critical of Elisabeth’s piety. Elisabeth recalled an ecstatic vision in which she greeted Mary and apologized for her apparent lack in devotion, “Most holy Lady,

102

Elisabeth of Schönau: The Complete Works, ed. and trans. Anne L. Clark (New York: Paulist Press, 2000), 104.

most merciful Lady, Queen of Heaven, may you deign to show me, a sinner, how I have

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offended your grace. Behold, I am very willingly prepared to correct it and to please your mercy with every satisfaction.” In describing each of Mary’s apparitions, Elisabeth noted her fears of disappointing Mary. Acknowledging her dissatisfaction with her spiritual pupil, Mary chastised Elisabeth, “You have too greatly neglected me in your own heart, and you do not strive to serve me with the devotion that you owe me. You have quickly laid aside that little bit of service that you used to offer me.” 103 As in the miracle collections, Mary functions as a teacher of devotional practices. Mary did not just appear to supplicants to teach prayers, but to castigate improper piety, noting when supplicants’ devotional practices had diminished. This is just one subset of examples that highlights Mary’s pedagogical nature. The following section addresses how Mary’s teaching in miracle stories includes instructions about participation in the sacraments.

Mary as Promoter of the Sacraments Crafting Mary as a teacher of the Christian faith helped to promote new aspects of late medieval piety and to encourage participation in the sacraments. This trend was especially evident in the wake of the Fourth Lateran Council. By using a genre like miracula, which was more accessible to a broader audience than church decrees, the authors crafted Mary as offering instruction about the importance of the sacraments. Just as mothers were expected to teach their children about numerous components of the Christian faith, Mary provided instruction about the sacraments. In one of the stories in Caesarius’s collection, for example, Mary appears before two dying paupers and urges them to make a confession: “I know that you are in most grievous sin and at the point of death, and unless you confess, you will go to hell and be tortured with 103

Ibid., 105.

everlasting pains.”

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126 They were reportedly “terrified,” swiftly made their confessions, and were

saved from eternal damnation. This story shows Mary as mother-confessor, an interesting amalgamation of roles that were outside gendered norms. 105 This was written shortly after the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, when annual confession for every Christian became a sacramental obligation (Omnis utriusque sexus [Canon 21]). Additionally, this ecumenical council encouraged the clergy to preach specifically to the laity: the aims of the Church were “to equip the laity with basic prayers, the means of examining their consciences, and the bare essentials of belief.” 106 Mary served as the mouthpiece to teach supplicants about the sacraments, and specifically to encourage participation in confession. While this story presents a positive view of Mary as a promoter of confession, her actions establish that she was not above using threats of the prospect of eternal damnation to make her point. Caesarius positions Mary as the model figure to offer instruction and encouragement for supplicants to seek reconciliation and make a confession. In one example, a nun named Beatrice engaged in an affair with a clerk and sought Mary’s aid, admitting, “Lady, I have served thee as devotedly as I could, and lo! Now I give thee back thy keys, for I can no longer endure the temptations of the flesh.” 107 Surrendering her power as custodian of her convent, Beatrice placed the keys on the altar. In response, Mary appeared before her, and admonished the nun to make a confession: “For all the fifteen years of your absence, I have fulfilled your duties; come back

Caesarius of Heisterbach, The Dialogue on Miracles, 461. See also Leonard E. Boyle, “The Fourth Lateran Council and Manuals of Popular Theology,” in The Popular Literature of Medieval England, ed. Thomas J. Heffernan (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985), 31. 105 Anne L. Clark, “The Priesthood of the Virgin Mary: Gender Trouble in the Twelfth Century,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 18.1 (2002): 5-24. 106 Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 62. See also, Thomas N. Tentler, Sin and Confession on the Eve of the Reformation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977). 107 Caesarius of Heisterbach, The Dialogue on Miracles, 503. 104

now to your place and do penance, for none knows of your sin.

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127 Following Mary’s instructions,

Beatrice made a confession and “spent the rest of her life in gratitude.” Caesarius reiterates the importance of Mary’s ability to speak with sinners, encouraging them to seek forgiveness and receive absolution: noting that “[her] prayers overcome vice, whose name dispels sadness, whose odor is more fragrant than lilies, and whose lips surpass the honeycomb in sweetness…and by her, sinners are enlightened, the despairing brought to confession.” 109 In some miracle stories, Mary verbally exhorts Christians to participate in the sacraments. William of Malmesbury noted one example when a priest overly imbibed wine and sought absolution for his behavior. Mary appeared before him and made the sign of the cross on the priest’s forehead, imploring, “Tomorrow you will go for confession to my monk...You will tell him what you did and how you were freed, and you will do what he orders with no delay.” 110 The priest acquiesced and followed her instructions. Mary does not hear the confession herself, but consistently urges the supplicant to participate in the sacrament. Moreover, the scribecompiler notes that Mary both verbally exhorts the priest and uses gestures in an effort to encourage sacramental activity. Aiming to show that her pedagogy reached a broad audience, these miracle collections include stories that depict Mary educating both the laity and many different members of religious life on the importance of the sacraments. 111 In another example from William of Malmesbury’s

Ibid., 503. Ibid., 454. 110 “Cras ad monachum meum illum ad confessionem ibis, qui michi et notus et pro meo seruitio est acceptissimus. Hunc tu de commisso et libertatione tua certiorem faties, incunctanter quae iusserit facturus.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 54. 111 In response to the novice asking whether Mary offered aid more frequently to men or women, the monk replied, “There is neither male nor female in her eyes. She was born woman and she herself gave birth to the chief of all men, even Christ. Both sexes she visits and consoles, to both she reveals her secrets,” Caesarius of Heisterbach, The Dialogue on Miracles, 481. 108 109

128 collection, a priest who could not abstain from illicit behavior and was “a sty for all foulness,” sought redemption by participating in daily prayer and devotion with a fellow insubordinate priest. They sang daily masses in Mary’s name, and after a year of such intense pious devotion, Mary appeared before them. Mary educated the repentant priests on how confession enables the supplicants once again to participate in the sacrament of communion: I have come after long being wearied by your prayers, under the pressure of your pious importunity. I have done something great: I have won forgiveness for him from my son, even though he had snatched away from Him what is rightly judged more precious than the whole world…In case you doubt my words, look, here is your friend by your side, now absolved, his knee bent in his longing for communion. 112 To acknowledge that the priests were forgiven, William notes that Mary then “lowered her hand in a gracious gesture,” as if to bless them and show her absolution. This action appears to position Mary in the role of a priest, though she does not explicitly perform the sacrament. William is careful not to make such an overt claim, yet the description of her “gracious gesture” certainly calls her priest-like behavior to mind. 113 Utilizing both voice and gesture, Mary effectively encouraged the priests to participate in the sacraments. Miracles that emphasized sacramental piety continued well into the later Middle Ages, as Herolt’s collection demonstrates. He related a story of a virtuous woman, who had committed an unknown transgression in her youth. Haunted by this sin, the woman became extremely devoted to Mary, and daily confessed this secret sin before an image of the Virgin. She died without a formal confession, yet at her funeral, reportedly came back to life and attributed this incredible

“Diu se precibus eius fatigatam aduentasse, eius pia importunitate coactam. Magnum quid fecisse, ut illi ueniam impetrasset a Filio qui ei eripuisset quod merito toti preferretur mundo…Atque adeo ne dubites de dicto, uide sotium absolutum astare lateri tuo et genus flexo ad communionem hiantem.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 87. 113 Clark, “The Priesthood of the Virgin Mary,” 23. 112

act to Mary. Moreover, she described a conversation between Christ and Mary:

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She approached her son and prayed thus to him: “I beseech Thee, Son, that the soul of her who so often wept for her wrong-doings before me, be not lost.” To whom the Lord replied: “Thou knows, Mother, that without confession a soul may not be saved, but, because I cannot deny thee anything, let her return and make confession, and then she shall be set free.” 114 By participating in the sacrament of confession, upon Mary’s urging, the woman was finally saved. Mary taught the supplicant and the audience the importance of confession in order to ensure salvation. Additionally, this example accentuates the importance of Mary’s role as advocate before Christ on behalf of her supplicants. Here, it appears that Christ was hesitant to intervene but agreed to because of Mary’s well-articulated and persistent defense of the sinner. Examples like these underline the clear maternal influence Mary had on both Jesus and Christians and how this influence was tied to her role as teacher about the sacraments. Furthermore, this story suggests that Mary could encourage her supplicants to make confession and seek repentance for their sins, similar to a mother offering forgiveness after administering disciplinary action. Such descriptive stories of dialogue between Christ and Mary indicate that Christians believed Mary played a significant role in their salvation and praised Mary’s effective ability to sway her son toward less severe punishments. This signals the importance of her voice as an intercessor in late medieval miracle collections and other devotional materials, a theme I will explore in greater detail in Chapter Four, which examines Mary’s intercessory voice between heaven, earth, and hell.

Conclusion Mary was exemplary in the bifurcated roles of daughter and mother, and as student and 114

Johannes Herolt, Miracles of the Virgin, 19.

130 teacher. Employing pedagogical dialogue, religious plays and miracle collections shaped Mary to be a precocious learner and wise teacher. Emphasis on her speech and voice endowed her with both power and agency. 115 When used as a tool in the miracula, Mary’s voice emphasized her ability to educate Christian supplicants about proper piety and participation in the sacraments. The lively stories illustrate how much of her ascribed authority to teach was rooted in her capacity as a mother. This was particularly evident in narratives that characterized Mary as magistra apostolorum: devotional texts emphasized that both her maternity and intelligence were praiseworthy. Mary’s teaching represented a shift from the formal methods of university and monastic traditions, both in content and format. In the devotional materials, her interactions with her supplicants did not necessarily address matters of high theology and church doctrine, but focused primarily on expressions of piety and devotional practices. The voice of Mary was not crafted in a way that defied religious and cultural norms or subverted theological writings on her capacity as a teacher. Perhaps this was an unspoken acknowledgement of her unique role and medieval authors recognized that no other woman was permitted to function in this particular way. It is surprising to consider that some miracle collections did push the boundaries on this issue by featuring Mary as the one poised and equipped to offer religious instruction. Mary’s voice became an important religious and cultural symbol of proper piety. Late medieval Christian culture embraced the role of mother as educator and encouraged mothers to bestow knowledge upon their children, demonstrating that oral instruction was an appropriate vehicle, as opposed to any text-based teaching. The articulation of these intertwined responsibilities is founded on Mary’s role as an active and eloquent mother and teacher. These examples emphasize the 115

Butler, Excitable Speech, 158.

extensive range of Mary’s learned voice.

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As a student, Mary showed her eagerness to learn, as well as her vast intellectual capacities. The N-Town “Presentation of Mary in the Temple” pageant established that the foundation of Mary’s education was rooted in the home under her parents’ purview, particularly through Anne’s guidance. Mary demonstrates verbal expertise, glosses scripture, and engages with theologians. The mantle of maternity offered Anne and Mary an avenue to model teaching without subverting social norms or gender expectations. In a similar vein, devotional sources such as the York “Pentecost” pageant framed Mary as a teacher of the apostles, whose maternal authority granted her the ability to teach the apostles about the implications of the Resurrection and Ascension. Lastly, as revealed in the miracula, her maternal authority commanded respect for her teaching position as a promoter of the faith among medieval supplicants. Each of these facets of Mary’s learned power resonated through the use of her constructed voice. Across this range of textual evidence, shared themes emerge that expose common trends in the portrayal of the function of Mary as a student and teacher in the later Middle Ages. Mary was not just shaped to be the teacher of the liberal arts within the context of the university, but was equipped to teach all of her Christian supplicants. 116 The plays frame Mary not only as integral to the world’s salvation because of her position as Mother of God, but also intimate that she had an important role in the indoctrination of the faithful. Similarly, the miracula reveal the high degree to which the laity sought to become active participants in Marian devotion and prayed to her to achieve salvation. The inclusion of dialogue enables us to better “hear” the crafted voice of Mary and draw meaning from these stories. These selected stories are a microcosm of a larger phenomenon: the emergence of the voice of Mary as it resounded 116

Donavin, Scribit Mater, 16-17.

throughout medieval sources.

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After hearing the powerful voice of their spiritual mother,

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Christians learned how to live more pious lives that pleased the Mother of God. Ultimately, I have argued that by linking the role of teacher with the responsibilities of motherhood, hagiographical and devotional materials enabled Mary to function as a vocal teacher in a powerful, yet non-subversive way. Mary’s constructed voice in these sources represents a significant contribution to the broader culture of dialogue that was an important component of late medieval didactic materials. Her teaching was clear and discernable within Marian literature. Mary’s learned voice deeply resonated within educational practices relevant to the Middle Ages and its echoes shape our understanding of Mary’s role in the landscape of medieval spirituality. 118 It was not just Mary’s presence and behavior that motivated supplicants to learn from her, but such education was also inspired by her pedagogical voice. In the following chapter, I explore how Mary’s voice functioned as a commentary on medieval marriage, and how dialogues between Mary and Joseph within the English mystery plays focused on particular roles within the medieval household. The ways in which Mary’s voice was manipulated in these particular pageants provides an opportunity to reflect on issues concerning the regulation of women’s speech in medieval society.

Sherry L. Reames, “Mary, Sanctity and Prayers to Saints: Chaucer and Late-Medieval Piety,” in Chaucer and Religion, ed. Helen Phillips (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2010), 81-96. 118 Constant J. Mews, “Orality, Literacy, and Authority in the Twelfth-Century Schools,” Exemplaria 2.2 (Fall 1990): 475-500. 117

Chapter Three Medieval Marital Expectations: Marian Speech in the Domestic Sphere When describing the Holy Family, medieval devotional sources used idyllic language to shape them as a model family, one in which the marriage of Mary and Joseph was emblematic of matrimonial harmony. Medieval theologians and writers of conduct literature often touted Mary as the ideal wife and mother, likely because there was a long tradition of devotional texts that hailed her as mild and obedient. Yet, the English Corpus Christi Cycles offers a stark contrast to this traditional depiction of spousal harmony between Mary and Joseph, during which they addressed each other as “young wench” and “troubled” during a quarrel over Mary’s seemingly inexplicable pregnancy. Analyzing these insults and other examples of heated dialogue within the English Corpus Christi cycles shows a strong Mary using speech as weapon; such an analysis also serves as commentary on gendered conflict within marriage in the late Middle Ages. These vernacular liturgical dramas depicted Mary upsetting traditional gender expectations and occupying the dominant role in the household through her voice. These sources offer a myriad of rich materials that creatively shape the persona of Mary as a wife to be more dynamic than previously considered. This chapter will examine the voice of Mary within her spousal role and will explore pertinent examples of Mary’s dialogue with members of her family, namely her husband Joseph and her son Jesus. Analysis of their crafted dialogues will provide a clearer sense of significant domestic relationships, as well as how their dialogues may have pointed to issues regarding power within the medieval household. My primary concern will center on the content and tone of Mary’s voice, but I will also consider how the male figures respond to how she spoke. We cannot understand medieval conceptions of men and women independently; we must consider 133

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their relationships with one another. The Corpus Christi dramas offer an avenue to analyze

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social relationships as depicted in a performative setting. 2 The constructed conversations between Mary and the men closest to her are part of a “speech community…a group of people who are in a social network and share a recognition of, and an appreciation for, norms of speaking.” 3 The Corpus Christi plays, as part of this speech community, offered pointed commentary on women’s speech within the domestic sphere. Using gender as a lens to examine these dialogues will enable us to contemplate the ways in which medieval society monitored and regulated female speech. Some scholars have already assessed how Mary’s body is represented in the Corpus Christi dramas or how her marriage connects to contemporary theological discussions on the sacrament. 4 I will assert that we should view her authoritative voice as significant and that the depictions of Mary within the Corpus Christi plays served as a mouthpiece to encourage proper domestic roles in the medieval household. The scenes in this chapter highlight the development of Mary’s voice as she transitioned from her role as a young virgin to a married but chaste woman, to a mother. The pageants include “Marriage of Mary and Joseph,” “Joseph’s Troubles of Mary,” “The Trial of Joseph and Mary,” “The Purification of the Virgin,” and “Christ and the Doctors.” These represent some of the most prominent examples where Marian legends were enhanced and creatively portrayed in public performance. The ways in which Mary’s roles were imagined in these particular pageants, Joan W. Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” The American Historical Review 91.5 (Dec., 1986): 1053-75; Joan W. Scott, “Millennial Fantasies: The Future of “Gender” in the 21st Century,” in Gender: Die Tücken einer Kategorie. Joan W. Scott, Geschichte und Politik—Beiträge zum Symposion anlässlich der Verleihung des Hans-Sigrist-Preises 1999 der Universität Bern an Joan W. Scott, ed. Claudia Honegger and Caroline Arni (Zurich: Chronos Verlag, 2001), 39-64. 2 Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” 1055. 3 Godsall-Myers, Speaking in the Medieval World, 6, 13. 4 J.A. Tasioulas, “Between Doctrine and Domesticity: The Portrayal of Mary in the N-Town Plays,” in Medieval Women in their Communities, ed. Diane Watt (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1997), 222-245; Emma Lipton, “Performing Reform: The Marriage of Mary and Joseph in the N-Town Cycle,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 22 (2001): 407-435; Emma Maggie Solberg, “Madonna, Whore: Mary’s Sexuality in the N-Town Plays,” 191-219. 1

especially in episodes of conflict, provide an opportunity to consider the issues concerning

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women’s speech and behavior in medieval society, which was heavily regulated. Of course, these plays do not necessarily reflect reality nor do they provide a clear mirror into the lives of fifteenth-century wives. Rather, they are a literary construction. Although they echoed and satirized societal norms, I would argue they also served to discipline women and structure society at the same time. Was Mary’s voice in these dramas meant to subvert the desire for control over women that pervaded medieval society? Or was it to provide an example of proper speech in contrast to the women whose garrulous tongues sometimes landed them in municipal court? 5 This chapter will use this series of diverse dialogues to assess Mary’s speech and its reception as an important form of medieval Marian communication. Although these cycles were not entirely representative of the medieval view of Mary’s role as a wife, they were annually performed in English communities and thus offered a very public reimagining of the familial dynamics of Mary and Joseph. I will ground my examination of the pageants in medieval writings on marital expectations. Marriage as a thematic subject brings together seemingly disparate genres such as theological commentary, conduct literature, and mystery plays. I propose that integrating these

Sandy Bardsley. “Sin, Speech, and Scolding in Late Medieval England,” in Fama: The Politics of Talk and Reputation in Medieval Europe, eds. Thelma Fenster and Daniel Lord Smail (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), 145-164; Sandy Bardsley, Venomous Tongues: Speech and Gender in Late Medieval England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006); Sara M. Butler, The Language of Abuse: Marital Violence in Later Medieval England (Boston: Brill Press, 2007). In examining the relationship between speech and gender in the Middle Ages, Sandy Bardsley’s Venomous Tongues raises the issue of slanderous female speech in late medieval England. Bardsley argues “views of female speech mattered because those whose speech was disparaged lost social and cultural power as a result.” She first notes that in the larger world of medieval scholarship, there has been increasing attention to the function of speech. While Bardsley primarily looks at legal and cultural sources, she advocates for the benefit of an interdisciplinary approach, for each kind of source only reveals one kind of cultural meaning of illicit speech. Bardsley, Venomous Tongues, 2. 5

136 sources together will illuminate a socio-religious tradition rife with complex expectations. This 6

method will also demonstrate how the wife’s speech was a central concern throughout these sources, and how Mary’s voice provided a suitable model for imitation by medieval wives. There are two issues of historical context to consider before analyzing the voice of Mary within the Corpus Christi dramas. First, I address the ways in which the unique marriage of Mary and Joseph factored into medieval theological debates on the definition of marriage. Although their chaste marriage and the virgin birth of Jesus created an impossible example for medieval couples to imitate, Mary and Joseph were still cited as an archetype for medieval couples. Second, I discuss the socio-cultural concerns of women’s speech, particularly within the domestic context, as expressed in conduct literature in late medieval England. These views, which were represented in both the religious and lay domains, signal widespread unease about women’s speech, which was perceived as a threat to the stability of medieval society. 7 Such prolific writing on speech management makes the eloquence of Mary’s vocal role in the cycles all the more substantial.

Sacramental Marriage and the Paradox of Mary and Joseph’s Marriage The Christian institution of marriage inherited by the Middle Ages was shaped by the remnants of early expectations and debates, contained in a host of theological tracts. Medieval theologians and canonists sought to define this complex practice carefully, Eve Salisbury, “Introduction,” Trials and Joys of Marriage. Middle English Text Series (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2002). For the more information on social components of marriage and the civic regulations regarding the practice, see David d’Avray, Medieval Marriage: Symbolism and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Charles Donahue, Jr. Law, Marriage and Society in the later Middle Ages: Arguments about Marriage in Five Courts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Frederick Pederson, Marriage Disputes in Medieval England (London: A&C Black, 2000); Shannon McSheffrey, Marriage, Sex, and Civic Culture in Late Medieval London (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). 7 Margaret Hallissey, Clean Maids, True Wives, Steadfast Widows: Chaucer’s Women and Medieval Codes of Conduct (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993). 6

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which provoked a series of conflicting views on the precise parameters of marriage. The

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marriage of Mary and Joseph, which to some represented marriage in its perfect form, did not fit neatly into traditional theological definitions of marriage, and theologians struggled to explain their union in the absence of any traditional conjugal behavior. The subject of Mary’s vow of chastity was not a part of the Infancy Gospels but was referenced in the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James. 9 This second-century account offered expanded accounts of Mary’s conception, birth, upbringing, and marriage to Joseph. Although this was a non-canonical text, its stories became embedded within Marian hagiography. While many of the Church Fathers wrote extensively on marriage, it was Augustine (354-430) who most profoundly informed medieval theologians’ understandings of the practice. 10 Augustine stressed three essential marital components or “goods”: fidelity, children, and the importance of the practice as a sacrament. Moreover, his treatises, such as De bono coniugali and De consensu evangelistarum, addressed the parameters of the unique marriage of Mary and Joseph. Augustine concluded that the act

For extensive analysis of the various medieval theological debates on the sacrament of marriage, see Seamus P. Heaney, The Development of the Sacramentality of Marriage from Anselm of Laon to Thomas Aquinas (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1963). For an indispensable reference regarding canon law and Christian society, see James A. Brundage, Law, Sex and Christian Society in Medieval Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988). For a series of case studies on how courts applied the medieval canon law of marriage, see Charles Donahue Jr., Law, Marriage, and Society in the later Middle Ages: Arguments about Marriage in Five Courts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). The comprehensive work on patristic and early medieval writing on marriage is still Phillip Reynolds, Marriage in the Western Church: The Christianization of Marriage During the Patristic and Early Medieval Periods (Leiden: Brill, 1994). For a discussion on twelfth-century legal and religious changes in the definition of marriage, see Dyan Elliott, The Bride of Christ Goes to Hell, Chapters 4 and 5. 9 The Protoevangelium of James sections 4, 7, 8-9, 15, in Elliott, The Apocryphal New Testament, 58-63. 10 Augustine’s attitude toward marriage was more positive than Jerome’s, who viewed marriage as a distraction from prayer and insisted that virginity was the preferable option. Jerome also denied that Mary and Joseph had intercourse after the birth of Jesus. Neil Adkin, Jerome on Virginity: A Commentary on the Libellus de Virginitate Servanda (Letter 22) (Cambridge: Francis Cairns, 2003); Ruth Mazo Karras, “The Christianization of Medieval Marriage,” in Christianity and Culture in the Middle Ages: Essays to Honor John Van Engen, eds. David C. Mengel, and Lisa Wolverton (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2014), 3-24. 8

of intercourse did not define a marriage, and so accordingly, Mary and Joseph’s marriage

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remained legitimate. 11 It was not until the twelfth century that marriage officially became a sacrament. Though this was not a new idea, the Church also affirmed then that a marriage could only occur with consent from both participating parties. 12 While such decrees showed increased codification of the practice, it still prompted much debate among theologians, specifically in regards to the marriage of Mary and Joseph. 13 Twelfth-century canon Hugh of St. Victor (1096-1141) argued that the marriage of Mary and Joseph was valid, despite the fact that the marriage was not consummated. He relied on Augustine’s concept of marriage extensively in his treatises De Beatae Mariae Virginitate and De sacramentis, both written in approximately 1132. These tracts dealt with acts that contributed to marriage, and to Hugh of St. Victor marriage was accomplished through marital consent. 14 Thus, the vows Mary and Joseph took sanctioned their marriage, which did not require consummation to legitimize it. Scholastic theologian Peter Lombard (1100-1160) also supported this view and insisted that consent, not consummation, was the foundation of a sacramental marriage. 15 His explanation in his Book of Sentences was widely used in many medieval universities, as the compilation was one of the most comprehensive theological treatises of the twelfth century. Still, other theologians continued to dispute whether marriage could exist Elizabeth A. Clark, “‘Adam’s Only Companion’: Augustine and the Early Christian Debate on Marriage,” Recherches Augustiniennes 21 (1986): 139-169; Phillip Schaff, Saint Augustine: Sermon on the Mount, Harmony of the Gospels, Homilies on the Gospels, trans. William Findlay, 1st. ser., vol. 6. (Peabody, MA: Henrickson, 1995). 12 Marriage was first officially declared a sacrament in 1184 at the Council of Verona as part of the condemnation of the Cathars. 13 Penny S. Gold, “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph in the Twelfth-Century Ideology of Marriage,” in Sexual Practices and the Medieval Church, eds. Vern L. Bullough and James Brundage (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1982), 102-117; Irven M. Resnick, “Marriage in Medieval Culture: Consent Theory and the Case of Joseph and Mary,” Church History 69.2 (Jun., 2000): 350-371. 14 Hugh of Saint Victor, On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith, trans. Roy J. Deferrari (Cambridge: Medieval Academy of America, 1951), 326; Hugh of Saint Victor, De virginitate B. Mariae 1, PL 176: 857-65. 15 Elizabeth Frances Rogers, Peter Lombard and the Sacramental System (Merrick, NY: Richwood, 1976), 243-46; Marcia Colish, Peter Lombard (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994). 11

without the carnal act of intercourse, in the context of a public vow of chastity.

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Gratian presented an alternative theory: he viewed consummation as one of the fundamental factors of marriage. He addressed this in his Decretum (c. 1140), writing extensively on the importance of the vows the couple professed. 16 While Gratian viewed the husband as possessing absolute lordship over his wife in most aspects of marriage, the only vow that the husband could not revoke was a vow of chastity. This vow had to be made jointly, which gave the wife some autonomy. 17 It also had to be made publicly and in the church: a tacit vow was insufficient. 18 Gratian responded to the previously raised concern that Mary and Joseph’s marriage was questionable because Mary’s vow of chastity was not an oral, public vow: The Blessed Mary proposed that she would preserve a vow of virginity in her heart, but she did not express that vow of virginity with her mouth…But it was after she bore a son that she expressed with her lips what she had conceived in her heart, together with her husband, and each remained in virginity. 19 Previous canon lawyers regarded Mary’s silent vow as problematic. Gratian resolved these objections by pointing out Mary’s later, public vow to uphold a chaste life. Additionally, Gratian responded to the concern of how Mary could fulfill the traditional marital debt while upholding her vow of chastity. To many theologians, the issue of James Brundage provides an extensive summary of Gratian’s theory on marriage in Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe, 229-255. 17 Elliott, Spiritual Marriage, 157. For Gratian’s theory of the vow, see Gratian C.17 q.1 c.1-4. 18 See James Brundage, Medieval Canon Law and the Crusader (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), 39-65. Thomas of Chobham, whose Summa Confessorum served to advise confessors particularly in the realm of marital issues, stated that a private vow could not be enforced by the church and that a woman who had only made a private vow would be forced to uphold a marriage. Thomas Chobham, Summa Confessorum, trans. F. Broomfield (Louvain: Analecta Medievalie Namurcensia, c.25, 1968), 156. James Brundage examines the notion of implied consent underlying the theory of the conjugal debt in “Implied Consent to Intercourse,” in Angeliki E. Laiou, ed., Consent and Coercion to Sex and Marriage in Ancient and Medieval Societies (Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1993), 245-256, 261. 19 Translation from Elliott, Spiritual Marriage, 178. “Beata Maria proposuit se conseruaturam uotum uirginitatis in corde, sed ipsum uotum uirginitatis non expressit ore. Postea uero filium genuit quod corde conceperat simul cum uiro labiis expressit, et uterque in uirginitate permanstit.” Gratian, Glossa ordinaria (C.27 q.2 c.3). Marriage Canons from the Decretum of Gratian and the Decretals, Sext, Clementines and Extravagantes, translated by John T. Noonan, Jr. Edited and supplemented by Augustine Thompson, accessed at http://faculty.cua.edu/Pennington/canon Law/marriagelaw.htm on 10 June 2015. 16

consummation was squarely at the center of marriage, yet Mary openly rejected this act.

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Gratian resolved this objection by pointing out that Mary’s vow of virginity highlighted her total subjection to the will of God’s plan (disposition): “She wished to remain a virgin, but was ready to render the debt if God ever revealed that he had a different plan for her.” 20 In interpreting the commentary on the nature of the sacraments, Cum Omnia Sacramenta, Gratian concludes that had Joseph ever required Mary to fulfill her marital debt, she would have yielded to his request, but she, fully trusting in God’s will, was confident that Joseph would never require her to fulfill the act. 21 As anomalous as the marriage of Mary and Joseph was, and nearly impossible to emulate, some lay Christians abstained from intercourse: a viable option within a sacramental marriage in the late Middle Ages. 22 It was the option most similar to Mary and Joseph’s sexless union. For women, this custom presented a unique avenue because Mary served as a potential role model, as both virgin and wife. This practice provided a possibility for married couples who wanted to live chastely. 23 Spiritual marriage was a fairly unregulated system and blurred the line between the distinct groups of the chaste

Philip L. Reynolds, “The Regional Origins of Theories about Marital Consent and Consummation during the Twelfth Century,” in Regional Variations in Matrimonial Law and Custom in Europe, 1150-1600, ed. Mia Korpiola (Boston: Brill, 2011), 67; Kyle Harper, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015). 21 Philip L. Reynolds, How Marriage Became One of the Sacraments: The Sacramental Theology of Marriage from its Medieval Origins to the Council Of Trent (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016); Philip L. Reynolds and John Witte, eds, To Have and to Hold: Marrying and Its Documentation in Western Christendom, 400-1600 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). 22 Elliott, Spiritual Marriage, 4-11. 23 The main tenets of this practice harkened back to St. Paul, who privileged celibacy over marriage. Still, Paul placed the act of sex squarely at the center of marriage, thus creating a conundrum for medieval couples. For all couples, Paul recommended they abstain for periods of prayer. Elliott, Spiritual Marriage, 20-24; Margaret McGlynn and Richard J. Moll, “Chaste Marriage in the Middle Ages: ‘It Were to Hire a Greet Merite,’” in Handbook of Medieval Sexuality, eds. Vern L. Bullough and James A. Brundage (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996), 103-122. For information on Paul’s recommendations for female conduct and subordination in the early Christian household, see Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1984). 20

and the married. It was a practice replete with contradictions and ambiguities. This late

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medieval practice of chaste marriage was another effect of post-thirteenth-century clerical efforts toward regulating lay religious practices. 24 Initially, the tradition represented a degree of female autonomy, as women could play an active role in thwarting any sexual advances. However, like many other medieval marital practices, it evolved into a tradition that progressively subordinated wives to their husbands. 25 Besides defining the parameters of marriage and the role of consummation, theologians also advised husbands on how to manage their wives, specifically in terms of speech practices. Thomas Chobham, an English thirteenth-century theologian and subdean at Salisbury, wrote in his manual for confessors on how husbands should address their wives: “If she is foolish, moderately and decently correct her, and if necessary castigate her.” 26 Priests also offered advice to confessors on the dangers of women’s speech. In his Instructions for Parish Priests, late fourteenth-century Augustinian canon John Mirk advised priests to be cautious when hearing confession from women: Women’s service you must forsake, of evil fame lest they you make, For women’s speech they are shrews, Turns often away good intentions (manners). 27 Mirk warned confessors about the potential dangers of women’s reputation and propensity for shrewish speech and behavior. The extensive attention to and concern for women’s speech

Elliott, Spiritual Marriage, 177. Ibid., 192. 26 Thomas Chobham, Summa Confessorum, 375. See also Carla Casagrande, “The Protected Woman,” trans. Clarissa Botsford, in A History of Women in the West II: Silences of the Middle Ages, ed. Christiane Klapisch-Zuber (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992), 70-104. 27 John Mirk, John Mirk’s Instructions for Parish Priests: Edited from MS Cotton Claudius A II and Six Other Manuscripts with Introduction, Notes, and Glossary, ed. Gillis Kristensson, Lund Series in English 49 (Lund: Gleerup, 1974), 71-72. See also Beth Alison Barr, The Pastoral Care of Women in Late Medieval England (Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2008). 24 25

142 demonstrates that medieval society was “preoccupied” with the threat of imprudent wives who were careless with their words. 28 Medieval theologians’ writings on marriage indicated both the importance of the sacrament and the necessity for clerical involvement in lay marriage. Not only did the medieval Church address marital expectations for wives at length, but popular conduct manuals also provided their own recommendations for how women should behave and speak in the domestic sphere. While the theologians and canonists created strict parameters regarding the definition of marriage, the conduct literature and dramatic sources are more fluid with their interpretations of marital expectations. Moreover, the genre of conduct literature underscored the need for husbands to correct and manage their wives’ speech.

Articulating Normative Behavior: Conduct Literature in Late Medieval England Although marriage was a personal matter between a husband and wife, it was concurrently a very public practice that included commentary and intervention from family, clergy, civic officials, and the community at large. 29 The widespread expansion of clerical outreach to the laity from the thirteenth century onward also meant numerous discussions on religious expectations for moral behavior, particularly within the home. 30 However, it was not Butler, The Language of Abuse, 228. McSheffrey, Marriage, Sex, and Civic Culture in Late Medieval London, 4; Richard Helmholz, Marriage Litigation in Medieval England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974); L.R. Poos, “The Heavy-Handed Marriage Counsellor: Regulating Marriage in Some Later-Medieval English Local Ecclesiastical-Court Jurisdictions,” American Journal of Legal History 39 (1995): 291-309. 30 One example of a clerical source that offered such guidelines was Robert of Brunne’s “Handlying Synne,” ed. Frederick J. Furnivall, part 1, EETS, o.s. 119 (London: Oxford University Press, 1901), 58. Derek Neal views medieval speech and gender as mutually essential to understanding each other, and that the gendering of speech was a pervasive element of late medieval England. Derek Neal, “Husbands and Priests: Masculinity, Sexuality, and Defamation in Late Medieval England,” in The Hands of the Tongue, ed. Edwin D. Craun (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2007), 185-208. Edwin Craun addresses clerical efforts to manage speech. See Edwin D. Craun, Lies, Slander and Obscenity in Medieval English Literature: Pastoral Rhetoric and the Deviant Speaker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). 28 29

just the Church that sought to regulate women’s words and behavior; civic ordinances also

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attempted to control the voice of women. 31 The late Middle Ages witnessed heightened social regulation, and all behavioral issues were monitored more closely, particularly for women. 32 In her study of legal and literary sources that addressed verbal transgressions, Sara Butler noted that women’s speech could be dangerous in several categories. Butler classified these groups as gossip, shrewish speech, or powerful and assertive speech that bordered on masculine in its tendencies. 33 Within the domestic context, societal expectations defined married life and delineated responsibilities for both the husband and wife. It was a society full of prescriptive literature, and drama was just one avenue to animate these central concerns. Instructional manuals and poetry were used to advise women on domestic issues, and ultimately to provide some of the clearest insights into medieval expectations of household life. These sources, now classified as conduct literature, sought to articulate prescriptions for women on how to speak and behave. They often took on the persona of the husband, who was responsible for his wife’s actions and had to account for any illicit behavior. Specifically, the conduct and courtesy sources supplied advice on the ways in which a wife should speak and behave around her husband. The popularity of late medieval conduct literature also indicated that such moral concerns about a woman’s speech and behavior were not just discussed in clerical sources, but also in vernacular literature. 34

Two fourteenth-century English towns even attempted to regulate female silence, one stating that “all the women of the township control their tongues,” and the other “enjoined upon all the women in the township that they should restrain their tongues and not scold nor curse any man.” G.G. Coulton, The Medieval Scene: An Informal Introduction to the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959), 35-36. 32 Sandy Bardsley, “Sin, Speech, and Scolding in Late Medieval England,” in Fama: The Politics of Talk and Reputation in Medieval Europe, eds. Thelma Fenster and Daniel Lord Smail (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003): 145-164. 33 Butler, The Language of Abuse, 259. 34 The fourteenth-century Book of the Knight of the Tower also provided similar advice, and expressed concerns for women’s behavior in the home and expressions of vanity. The author, Geoffroy de la Tour Landry IV (1320-1391), 31

144 Le Ménagier de Paris (The Good Wife’s Guide), was a popular medieval conduct manual and largely focused on how the husband regulated his wife’s behavior and speech. 35 Written in 1393, the manual was addressed to young women about to get married. The husband-narrator allegedly wrote this guide to ensure the salvation of his wife’s soul and focused on attributes of humility, obedience, and succinctly eloquent speech as estimable qualities: I urge and advise you, whether in society or at table, to restrain yourself from too much conversation. For if one speaks freely, it is not possible to avoid some illchosen terms, and sometimes one speaks spirited words in jest, which afterward are taken and remembered out of context, to the derision and mockery of the speaker. 36 Gossip among wives was such a specific concern in fifteenth-century England that scolds and shrews faced court charges for speech abuses. 37 Thus, conduct literature informally served to control a woman’s words. Moreover, the narrator encouraged women to avoid gossip, so as not to damage their husbands’ reputations: “Be silent or at least to speak sparingly and wisely so as to protect and conceal your husband’s secrets.” 38 Speech was a gendered issue in the domestic sphere: conduct literature largely focused on regulating women and preventing social transgressions that would disgrace the family.

was a widower and authored the manual for his daughters. This moral treatise was in part to provide the advice that would have come from his late wife, as well as to register his own concerns about his daughters’ welfare and appearance in French society when receiving suitors. See Rebecca Barnhouse, The Book of the Knight of the Tower: Manners for Young Medieval Women (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). 35 The manual also provided recipes and household tips, but the larger focus was on conduct, behavior, and values expected of a nobleman’s wife. Some of the most popular examples of French conduct literature, including The Good Wife of Paris, made their way to England in the late fifteenth century, when the prolific printer William Caxton made these texts more accessible to a larger audience. Therefore, we can also anticipate that some of the same people who read conduct literature also saw the Corpus Christi cycles: Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose, Good Wife’s Guide (Le Ménagier de Paris): A Medieval Household Book (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009), 45. 36 Ibid., 142. 37 Shannon McSheffrey’s online database of approximately 1,100 consistory records from the main church court of the diocese of London includes many cases of wives on trial who faced charges of cuckoldry, spousal abuse, and violence. Shannon McSheffrey, “Consistory: Testimony in the Late Medieval London Consistory Court,” online at http://digitalhistory.concordia.ca/consistory (Accessed 10 November 2016). 38 The Good Wife’s Guide, 142.

145 Women were advised to weigh their words carefully, particularly in dialogue with their husbands. Specifically, a wife was to show deference to her husband and not question him: “Do not be arrogant or answer back to your future husband or to his words and do not contradict him, especially in front of others.” 39 Disobedience threatened to destroy the stability of marriage. These works also establish that the matter of regulating women’s speech was represented in popular literature, not just civic or ecclesiastical regulations. 40 While we cannot assess the young wife’s reception of the mandate, we can determine that conduct literature served as markers of the social expectations of medieval wives. Wives were urged to speak deferentially to their husbands; to do otherwise was to be met with correction and punishment. To the husband-narrator, gossip was not just a social blunder, but also an example of sinful behavior. Accordingly, he addressed concerns about religious implications from a woman’s verbal transgressions, known as sins of the mouth: “The other part of the sin of the mouth consists of speaking wantonly in many ways: idle words, boasts, flattery, perjury, quarrels, grumbling, rebellion, and accusations. No word is so insignificant that you are not accountable for it before God.” 41 The Good Wife narrator, along with other authors of conduct literature, viewed women as particularly susceptible to these verbal transgressions. Wives were expected to show restraint with their words so as to avoid sin. While the author focused largely on condemning sinful behavior and speech, he also offered positive examples for women to emulate. For example, he highlighted the Virgin Mary’s submissive behavior as exemplary: “Think how much He loved the Virgin Mary for her

The Good Wife’s Guide, 104. Felicity Riddy, “Mother Knows Best: Reading Social Change in a Courtesy Text,” Speculum 71 (1996): 66-86. 41 The Good Wife’s Guide, 77. On medieval punishments for different speech violations see Bettina Lindorfer, “Peccatum Linguae and the Punishment of Speech Violations in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times,” in Speaking in the Medieval World, ed. Jean E. Godsall-Myers (Boston: Brill, 2003), 23-42. 39 40

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obedience.” The narrator also addresses Mary’s obedience in the Annunciation, and that her

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complete obedience to the will of God should inspire women to embrace that behavior. Thus, the author crafted the ideal woman, encouraging young wives to aspire to emulate the Virgin Mary’s humble attributes, and to be restrained both in behavior and speech. 43 Fathers advised their sons on how to care for their wives as well. Peter Idley, a fifteenthcentury moralist and father of six, penned Instructions to His Son, as a treatise that prescribed ways in which a young husband should care for his wife. Idley advised his son: Thy wife thou love in perfect wise In thought and deed, as heartily as thou can, With gentle speech the best thou can devise; This shall make her a good woman, And also to love the best of any man, And dread thee also and loath to offend, Thy goods keep, neither waste nor spend. 44 It was not only important for the wife to speak well, but Idley claimed that a husband’s gentle speech was also essential in shaping an ideal wife. This moral treatise focused on crafting domestic harmony and placed less emphasis on the wife’s submission and obedience. Not all manuals adopted the male persona as the narrator: others featured an experienced mother as the narrator and guide. In the fourteenth-century poem How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter, women were instructed to be moderate in their speech, especially in church. When she spoke to her daughter, the mother instructed: When you are in the church, my child, Seek that you be both meek and mild, Do not laugh or scorn at those old nor young; In addition to the Virgin Mary, the author addresses how the obedience of wives goes back to Genesis 29, the story of Lot’s wife. The narrator also references popular literature as he cites Griselda as an exemplary woman, particularly for her patience. The Good Wife’s Guide, 104-137. 43 The Book of the Knight of the Tower stresses the importance of obedience and humility as well. 44 Peter Idley, Peter Idley’s Instructions to His Son, ed. Charlotte D’Evelyn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1935), 135-137. 42

Be of good bearing and of good tongue.

45

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The mother warns against any behavior that would lead the community to call her daughter a strumpet or a fool. Moreover, young women were encouraged to be meek and mild: two characteristics often associated with the Virgin Mary. This was not a formal ordinance but a guide for women in church on how to socialize appropriately with friends. Discouraging lewd or unsanctioned speech was not just reflected in legislative texts, but also in socio-cultural written materials. 46 The sage mother in the manual goes on to give advice on other moral concerns, such as humility, chastity, and honor. But infused throughout the guide for young women was the consistent attention to proper speech management. The fact that the regulation of women’s speech was a popular theme within conduct literature reveals that the late medieval period was an “era obsessed with codified and externalized behaviors” in both the religious and temporal spheres. 47 Additionally, these themes resonated in other sources, including the Corpus Christi dramas. Late medieval theological debates on marriage certainly influenced the Corpus Christi dramas in terms of content and objective. But conduct literature needs to be considered more closely alongside analysis of the English religious dramas. Both groups of sources are performative. The conduct literature was intended to help wives “perform” as better spouses, and the Corpus Christi plays were public performances that offered a dynamic commentary on an integral social practice.

How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter, in The Babees Book: Medieval Manners for the Young Now First Done into Modern English from the Texts of Dr. F. J. Furnivall, ed. Edith Rickert (London: Chatto and Windus, 1923), 31–42; Christine M. Rose, “What Every Goodwoman Wants: The Parameters of Desire in Le Menagier de Paris/The Goodman of Paris,” Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: an International Review of English Studies 38 (2002): 393–410. 46 Bardsley, “Sin, Speech, and Scolding in Late Medieval England,” 146. 47 Kathleen Ashley, “Medieval Courtesy Literature and Dramatic Mirrors of Conduct,” in The Ideology of Culture, eds. Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse (New York: Methuen, 1987), 25. 45

Considering the Commentary on Marriage within the Corpus Christi Dramas

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Instead of viewing the cycles as functioning primarily for religious instruction, we should consider the social ramifications of the cycle plays. Kathleen Ashley, whose work on conduct literature often bridges disparate sources, argues that the genre helps to illuminate some of the social functions of the Corpus Christi plays. The plays presented “multiple, even at times, contradictory, messages,” particularly in pageants where the story attempted “to mirror proper social behaviors for women in the audience.” 48 In a similar way, I will examine Mary’s speech and the reception of it in order to understand the social functions and expectations of medieval marriage, particularly how her voice animates the social roles of wife and mother. Was the wife always confined to a submissive role, or could her voice be subversive and lead to a dominant role in the marriage? In commenting on women’s experiences in medieval marriage, Barbara Hanawalt observed, “Women learned how to manipulate patriarchy for their own ends,” and the dramatic representations of Mary as a wife support this concept. 49 Mary’s voice in the Corpus Christi plays demonstrates how a wife could actively participate in dialogue with her husband, instead of submitting in silence. I propose the sometimes terse, yet eloquent approach assigned to the persona of Mary in the Corpus Christi plays enables her character to carefully navigate through this issue of marital conflict. For this chapter, the primary focus will be on the N-Town Cycle, with occasional references to the York, Chester, and Wakefield Cycles. The N-Town scribe-compiler took the greatest liberties with Mary’s story and gave her the most agency, both in her behavior and her voice. According to Emma Solberg, whose work is part of the latest wave in scholarship centered

Ibid., 25-26. Barbara A. Hanawalt, The Wealth of Wives: Women, Law, and Economy in Late Medieval London (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), vii.

48 49

149 on the persona of Mary in the N-Town cycle, “The extent to which its drama domesticates the marriage of Mary and Joseph has not been fully appreciated.” 50 In this vein of thinking, I advocate for a consideration of this cycle alongside socio-cultural sources in order to examine depictions of Mary within a familial setting. My emphasis on her voice and reception of it within the domestic context will contribute to this current discussion. I will conduct my inquiry by working through transitional phases in Mary’s life: Mary before her betrothal, Mary as Joseph’s wife, and Mary as mother to Jesus. This will allow me to evaluate the varying representations of Mary’s voice during her life cycle in terms of reflecting her agency within her marriage to Joseph. 51

Defining and Defying Marital Expectations in “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph” In the Gospel of Luke, we learn of Mary’s life in medias res – she is betrothed to Joseph as a young virgin when Gabriel appears in the Annunciation. However, early Christian apocryphal works such as the Protoevangelium of James sketch out some of the early details of the Virgin Mary’s life that ultimately shaped and defined Marian tradition throughout the Christian world. In an effort to incorporate Mary’s complete story into the narrative of salvation history, the story of her early upbringing became fused into some of the Corpus Christi cycles. 52 Of all of the Corpus Christi cycles, the N-Town cycle supplies the earliest representation of Mary. The “Marriage of Mary and Joseph” illuminates an infrequently told Marian story, taking the apocryphal legend and incorporating medieval commentary about expectations of a wife within marriage. The betrothal scene of Mary and Joseph shows the involvement of Joachim,

Solberg, “Madonna, Whore: Mary’s Sexuality in the N-Town Plays,” 203. Hallissey, Clean Maids, True Wives, Steadfast Widows, 3. 52 Reames, “Legends of St. Anne, Mother of the Virgin Mary: Introduction,” 249. 50 51

Ysakar, and Joseph: the three male figures who cared for Mary as she transitioned from

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childhood home, to the temple, to her marital home. Within the cycles, no other female figure converses with such an array of male characters. Examining this scene connects this early Christian legend with the medieval sacrament of marriage and also functions as a commentary on medieval marital expectations in both theological and social terms. This pageant addresses clerical beliefs on marriage through the role of Ysakar, the high priest, who presides over the betrothal ceremony. He offers clear advice on gender distinctions in marriage and mixes medieval advice with biblical tradition. His presence also serves as an example of Mary questioning a male authority, as she reveals that she does not want to break her vow of virginity by participating in marriage. The ensuing dialogue expresses both the traditional practice and the unique ways in which Mary’s situation excepts her from having to consummate her marriage to Joseph. Yet, the theological message about the sacramentality of marriage is not the only pertinent theme of this pageant. In analyzing this pageant in light of the theological debates on the medieval definition of marriage, it is important to consider the significance of Mary’s hesitation to enter into marriage. Recalling the vow she made as a child, Mary asserts: Against the law will I never be, But man’s fellowship shall never follow me; I will live ever in chastity By the grace of God’s will. 53 Because Mary questioned a patriarchal authority (a high priest) regarding the need to get married, it is possible that this representation of Mary advocates for a degree of female autonomy in marriage. Additionally, her questions to the priest about marriage may mirror medieval concern about a woman’s consent. The idea of a wife objecting to 53

N-Town, “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph,” lines 36-39.

consummating her marriage was a trope in hagiography about female saints.

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In this pageant, Mary tries to argue how her pledge of virginity ought to supersede any vow of marriage. At length, Mary recounts her upbringing, including her time in the temple, and her firm obedience to her vow of “cleanness and chastity,” which she made when she was three in the “Presentation in the Temple” pageant. 54 It seems to be an example of Mary questioning Jewish rabbinical authority when she eloquently debates with Ysakar whether marriage would allow her to live in the service of God. In a fashion similar to her earlier recitation (as a child), the high priest again praises Mary for her “wise words” and understanding of her vow, and emphasizes that in this marriage she would be able to remain a virgin but would be a wife as well. 55 The numerous references to the law reflect Mary’s willingness to adhere to this practice as well as her fear of deviating from the rituals standard to the time. 56 The laws on marriage, both in the biblical tradition and the Middle Ages, represented patriarchal control and a clear subordination of women. Despite clerical control over women, Ysakar praises Mary’s eloquence and her carefully articulated defense of her vow of chastity: Her wit is great and that is seen. In cleanness to live in God’s service, No man blames her, none here will disdain. 57 Ysakar as the patriarchal authority recognizes Mary’s concern and then articulates the singular possibility for Mary to enter into marriage without breaking her previous vow. Moreover, he reminds her that this marriage is the will of God. Still, this passage proves that concerns Ibid., line 70. Ibid., line 79. 56 Chastity as a goal, as well as the idea of virginity as “a lifelong state,” was not a central component to Judaism. Karras, Doing Unto Others, 30. However, Numbers 30:7-8 references the importance of the vows a wife makes to her husband. Moses makes clear provisions for both men and women to make sacred vows. “If she have a husband, and shall vow any thing, and the word once going out of her mouth shall bind her soul by an oath. The day that her husband shall hear it, and not gainsay it, she shall be bound to the vow, and shall give whatsoever she promised.” 57 N-Town, “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph,” lines 82-84. 54 55

152 remained among theologians about Mary’s precise role as a wife. Her unique capacity as a chaste wife muddled the demarcations that theologians tried to place on definitions of marriage. Mary is not the only one uncomfortable with this arrangement. Joseph openly reveals his hesitation to take on a wife. He cites his old age and that in the public eye it looks strange for an old man to marry a young maiden. Furthermore, Joseph vocalizes his concern about how to manage Mary, similar to the medieval tradition of conduct literature that emphasized the importance of control over one’s wife: Should I now in age begin to dote? If I her chide she would clout my coat, Blur my vision and chide about a trifle, And thus oftentimes it is seen. 58 Joseph is afraid to scold her. He fears that she will beat him and publicly humiliate him by pointing out his own sins. Like Mary’s concerns, Joseph is torn between his obedience to God’s will and the personal and social repercussions he could face. The N-Town compiler transformed Joseph into a medieval man who would have been familiar with conduct literature and understood the “omnipresent danger of handsome youths and their fine words.” 59 Joseph ultimately concedes and promises to be her “warden and keeper,” despite his previous worries about his ability to control her. 60 This example bridges the apocryphal story with the medieval husband’s concerns about a wife’s potentially promiscuous behavior damaging his reputation in the public sphere. Beyond revealing the concerns of the bride and groom, the pageant also highlights the rituals of the marriage ceremony. In this social context, these performative utterances were

Ibid., lines 281-284. Ashley, “Medieval Courtesy Literature,” 27. 60 N-Town, “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph,” line 290. 58 59

153 carefully constructed. In the public ceremony, as Mary and Joseph take their respective vows, 61

Ysakar praises the marriage as “the holiest matrimony in the world.” 62 He framed the marriage ceremony with clear instructions to prepare Mary and Joseph. He delineated the necessary requirements for this marriage, and what the husband and wife needed to do (and avoid) in order for it to be successful, both in the public eye and the sight of God. Mary’s parents, the high priest, and the community provided pressure as well as guidance. While both Mary and Joseph express uncertainty, they receive support from respected members of the community, both in the domestic and religious domains. Ysakar and Mary’s parents reiterate that obedience will be instrumental to Mary’s success as a wife. Ysakar also warns Mary and Joseph that the discrepancy in their ages may cause speculation in their community: As we read in old adage Many a man is slippery of tongue Therefore evil language for to assuage That your good fame may last long. 63 In addressing malicious speech, Ysakar speaks to the medieval audience about the dangers of slander and salacious gossip, particularly involving women. His remarks also hint at Joseph’s forthcoming concerns about Mary’s seemingly inexplicable pregnancy. After heeding his warning, Mary identifies herself as the “simplest creature” in an expression of humility. Mary assures Joseph of her obedience and chides him for worrying about any transgressions. She also states that she will use her psalter as a prayer book as a method to increase her piety. Similarly, she notes daily prayer helps one lead a virtuous, moral life and drives away temptations of sin. Her remarks also serve to promote the importance of devotional reading for literate women. Lipton, Affectations of the Mind, 116. N-Town, “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph,” line 331. 63 Ibid., lines 257-260. 61 62

154 At this time, Mary also seeks prayers from her parents and in turn assures them that she will continue to pray for them. This shows an early example of Mary as an intercessor for all people. Anne, who served as one of Mary’s first teachers, delineates the role Mary must take as a wife. Before leaving the ceremony, Anne reminds Mary of the characteristics she must embody as a wife: I pray thee, Mary, my sweet child Be lowly and obedient, meek and mild, Sad and sober and nothing wild, And God’s blessing thou have. 64 Mary must be submissive in the marriage, and, according to her mother, obedience will yield her God’s favor. Anne’s departing remarks are similar to the blessing she gave Mary when she was three years old and began living as a consecrated virgin in the Temple. This directive harkens back to the sentiments of How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter in terms of how Anne teaches her daughter about her marital responsibilities. Anne’s counsel is further evidence of instruction in the Corpus Christi cycles, providing another example of the late medieval fascination with the didactic function. 65 These dialogues certainly suggest “exemplary teaching,” in which Mary and Joseph serve as models and exemplary figures in the domestic sphere. 66 Discussed between these instructions is Joseph’s concern for the age discrepancy between him and Mary. Joseph expresses his anxiety about his old age and haggard appearance in comparison to Mary’s youth, but Ysakar assures him that Mary is “obedient, fair and brave.” 67 Subsequently, Mary repeats her dedication to living a chaste life and begs Joseph to respect her vow. As the ceremony concludes, Joseph prepares for his imminent departure: he will live in a N-Town, “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph,” lines 303-306. I explored this subject in greater detail in Chapter Two. Hans-Jürgen Diller, The Middle English Mystery Play: A Study in Dramatic Speech and Form, trans. Frances Wessels (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 220. 66 Meredith, “Introduction,” 13. 67 N-Town, “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph,” line 219. 64 65

foreign land during her pregnancy. Before he leaves, Joseph advises her:

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Keep thee clean, my gentle spouse, And all thy maidens in thy house, That evil rumors come not out, For his love that all has wrought. 68 This admonition signals the fear of rumor and public discussion about their unique situation. His reference to the maidens concerns the women who will reside with Mary in Joseph’s absence and tend to her needs. The fact that they too were cautioned about rumors indicates the medieval concern about women talking in a large group. As they leave the temple, they depart in mutual affection, and Mary vows once again to remain perpetually in chastity as “both maid and wife.” 69 There is mixed joy and concern as they go their separate ways: Mary plans for her private life in the home, with the companionship only of the maidens and her reading. The warnings loom over the end of the pageant, with the use of proper speech as a central concern to the story. These early depictions of Mary as a betrothed woman reveal that her voice was a significant aspect to her characterization, both as an example of her wisdom and as an instrument to be used carefully. The other characters’ comments about her speech and behavior mirror the medieval concerns for regulating women’s speech and its possible ill effects. It is challenging to view the marriage of Mary and Joseph as a prototype for medieval families to emulate. Yet, even though their marriage contained some unique elements, their concerns nonetheless resonated with those of many medieval families. “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph” revealed that there were some perceived worries about their sexual relationship and about the possibility that they broke the vows they made in the temple. Additionally, Joseph continued to convey his doubts about his ability to control his young wife. Wavering between 68 69

Ibid., lines 329-332. Ibid., line 428.

156 silent and effusive, Mary models a voice for women. While the ceremonial pageant foreshadows potential conflict between Mary and Joseph, the conflict within the Corpus Cycle would later erupt in a dramatic dispute that mirrored a very real familial argument.

Marital Troubles: The Doubts about Mary’s Virginity The Gospels only provide scattered references to the Holy Family as a unit. Even so, late medieval art depicted the Holy Family as the model for the medieval family. 70 But the Corpus Christi pageants that featured the elderly Joseph intimated that the Holy Family was believed to be not without problems and perhaps even faced some of the same domestic challenges prevalent within a typical medieval home. The Gospel of Matthew (1:18-25) stated that Joseph feared that scandal would inevitably emerge following the evidence of Mary’s pregnancy, “not willing publicly to expose her, [Joseph] was minded to put her away privately.” He only changed his mind when an angel appeared to him to assure him that this was a miraculous conception. It is one of the few instances in the Bible where we learn of his perspective, but the elaborate glosses of this scene within the Corpus Christi plays provide a compelling lens into the male response to this scandal, referred to frequently as Joseph’s “troubles” or “doubts” about Mary’s miraculous pregnancy. For our purposes, the “troubles” pageants offer insight into the medieval depiction of verbal conflict within what was supposed to be the model marriage. Scholars have already examined these pageants as a means to elucidate medieval theological concerns about sacramental marriage, as well as ecclesiastical court proceedings on marriage. 71 But examining

Cynthia Hahn, “‘Joseph Will Perfect, Mary Enlighten And Jesus Save Thee’: The Holy Family as Marriage Model in the Médrode Triptych,” The Art Bulletin 68.1 (Mar., 1986): 54-66; Barbara Newman, “Intimate Pieties: Holy Trinity and Holy Family in the Late Middle Ages,” Religion & Literature 31.1 (Spring, 1999): 77-101. 71 Emma Lipton, Affections of the Mind: The Politics of Sacramental Marriage in Late Medieval English Literature, (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007), 118-128. 70

the heated debates between Mary and Joseph regarding her pregnancy can also shed light on

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representations of the differing gendered roles between the couple during a dispute. This section will include examination of the short versions of this conflict in the Wakefield and Chester Cycles, and then provide more elaborate analysis of the lengthy York and N-Town Cycles. Some versions indicate that Joseph had already been informed that Mary was with child; in other cycles, Joseph discovers it when he sees Mary’s body in the latter stages of her pregnancy. Joseph’s complaint often includes a general statement about the untrustworthiness of women, which served as a warning to the audience of women’s misuse of speech, and potentially their use of false speech. 72 In the Wakefield version, Joseph’s outcry is centered on harmful speech, particularly on Mary’s alleged lies. Joseph not only conveys his anger and embarrassment with this perplexing situation but also repeatedly tries to silence Mary. As she maintains her innocence, he admonishes her to “leave be thy din,” suggesting that her claim is only noise. 73 Joseph fears the label of a cuckold. He also worries that his old age will be cause for mockery. 74 Joseph falls asleep in anguish, and it is only the angel’s visit that ultimately assuages his concern. Mary’s speech did not convince him, only the angel’s testimony did. After he awakes from the dream, Joseph expresses gratitude for Mary’s ability to forgive his “ill words,” reinforcing the power of the word and the male potential to sin through it too. In the Chester Cycle, Mary is not given an opportunity to defend herself. Joseph laments that Mary has “beguiled” him but speaks to the audience about this issue instead of to her. 75 There is no Woolf, The English Mystery Plays, 171. Wakefield, “The Annunciation,” line 180. 74 This is a trope in the French fabliaux tradition. Joseph L. Baird and Lorrayne Y. Baird, “Fabliau Form and the Hegge ‘Joseph's Return,’” The Chaucer Review 8.2 (1973): 159-169; John DuVal and Raymond Eichmann, Cuckolds, Clerics, & Countrymen: Medieval French Fabliaux (Fayetteville, AK: University of Arkansas Press, 1982); Katherine Adams Brown, Boccaccio’s Fabliaux: Medieval Short Stories and the Function of Reversal (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2014). 75 Chester, “The Nativity,” line 148. 72 73

158 depiction of a spousal conflict or resolution. These sparse depictions of Mary’s involvement in restoring her reputation pointed to the variations in Mary’s role in the different cycles, furthering the notion that there is not a singular medieval representation of Mary, but a plurality of depictions of her. Other versions of this episode represent a more dynamic conflict that challenges the idea that the medieval wife acts in complete obedience to the husband. The York version of “Joseph’s Troubles about Mary” addresses several concerns regarding the regulation of women in the private sphere. Joseph initiates the pageant with a lengthy seventy-five line lament full of “great mourning” over his inexplicably pregnant wife. 76 Among other issues, Joseph “bitterly bemoans” and curses the contract that they made in the temple and worries about the public disgrace that will befall him as a cuckolded husband, having married a “wench for a wife.” 77 It is the fear of public disgrace that causes him to consider sending Mary away. In the York version, the maidens who have been living with her and caring for Mary are also present. They function as her advocates, assuring Joseph that she has been sitting in prayer while he has been away. Here, Mary is presented as a model for single women, who were often viewed in the Middle Ages as the most potentially subversive, as they lived neither under the rule of a father nor of a husband. 78 Joseph does not believe the maidens when they assure him that the angel Gabriel was the only male visitor. He refers to one of her maidens as a “wench” and exhorts her to tell the truth about Mary’s pregnancy. 79 Joseph chastises the maidens: Therefore, you need no words so wild York, “Joseph’s Troubles about Mary,” line 1. Ibid., line 12. 78 Sandy Bardsley, Women’s Roles in the Middle Ages (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007), 100-102. 79 According to the OED, the term “wenche” in Middle English can range in meaning from “young woman” to a “wanton woman” or “mistress.” The MED’s also notes that the meanings of “wenche” range from “an unmarried girl,” to more salacious meanings, such as “a concubine, paramour, mistress; a strumpet, harlot; also, a temple prostitute;” its first usage dated in 1384. 76 77

To carp at me deceivingly! Why, why lie to me so And feign such fantasy? Alas, I am full woe! For sorrow, why might I not die? 80

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The fear of idle chatter and rumor becomes nearly as disturbing to Joseph as the news of Mary’s pregnancy, pointing to the medieval concern about women gathering in any forum to talk without male supervision. In the York version, Joseph exclaims that his grief is so great that it has almost killed him. This particular confrontation portrays Mary in a disputatio role, as Joseph, fearing cuckoldry, questions Mary about the paternity of her unborn child. 81 Here, Mary’s voice functions as a chief source of conflict. This new representation of Mary is more vocal and powerful: a wife who engaged in intense dialogue with her husband. Joseph is quick to suppress Mary’s speech: her repeated defenses of her innocence (“Sir, it is yours, and God’s own will”) are punctuated by Joseph’s long accusations. 82 In this instance, Mary stands her ground: she insists that she is a virgin and uses her voice to assert her innocence to Joseph. There is a shift in power: Joseph expresses his weakness and helplessness in this situation. Mary is the one who uses controlled speech. She assures him that she has only been sitting and reading since his departure. He lambasts her, but Mary remains steadfast in maintaining her innocence, and her maidens support this. Joseph calls her pregnancy a “foul trick,” demonstrating his fear of being labeled a cuckold. 83 Joseph also views Mary’s short answers to be “exasperating,” thus causing further fury. 84 York, “Joseph’s Troubles about Mary,” lines 140-144. In The Medieval Culture of Disputation, Alex Novikoff explores the topic of disputatio – the formalized procedure of debate that was an important aspect of scholastic culture. Moreover, Novikoff argues that the practice of disputation filtered into the public sphere, including in sources such as liturgical dramas. 82 Ibid., line 168. 83 Ibid., line 137. 84 Tom Flanigan, “Everyman or Saint? Doubting Joseph in the Corpus Christi Cycles,” Medieval and Renaissance 80 81

160 When repeatedly attempting to assure Joseph that her pregnancy did not happen out of wedlock, he tells her that she “speaks against nature.” 85 As he grows frustrated with Mary’s insistence on her innocence, he utters, “Ah Mary, draw thy hand” – a plea for her to stop talking. 86 It is only after Gabriel visits Joseph in a dream that he recognizes that he is the one at fault. Mary’s words were not enough to persuade him to change his mind. As part of his apology, Joseph says he would bow to her in humiliation if he was not so old, and then asks for forgiveness. Mary acquiesces, “Forgiveness, sir? Let be, for shame-Such words should all good women lack,” commenting on an aspect of marriage that would have been familiar to the audience. 87 The eventual resolution and reconciliation between Mary and Joseph after the debate offers to the medieval audience a relatable example of resolution of a marital conflict. There is the admittance of wrongdoing, a sincere apology, and eventually the husband shows his wife deference after the dispute. Ultimately, the York version of Joseph’s troubles focuses on Joseph’s concern about public gossip and the possible slander that would arise. Mary does not provide an extensive vocal defense but quietly maintains that she is in the right. Although her brevity is frustrating to Joseph, she is also quick to forgive his lament and accusations. The N-Town cycle features this marital dispute as well but divides it into two parts. The first, “Joseph’s return” presents a story similar to the York version: Joseph returns home after “sore labor” to provide for him and Mary. In N-Town, when he sees Mary pregnant, he does not know that the Incarnation has occurred and grows visibly upset as he demands to know the paternity of the child. Joseph refers to Mary’s pregnant glow as “evil,” along with her growing Drama in England, Vol.8 (Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996), 33. 85 York, “Joseph’s Troubles about Mary,” line 209. 86 Ibid., line 240. 87 Ibid., lines 296-297. Rosemary Woolf notes that there “is a clear discrepancy between Mary’s real world and Joseph’s cynical fantasies,” and connects this differentiation (and dispute) with medieval spousal conflict. Woolf, The English Mystery Plays, 173.

161 belly. He is not just alarmed at the prospect of Mary’s infidelity and broken vow of virginity, 88

but at the physical evidence. In N-Town, Joseph’s doubts can be classified as the most “misogynistically garrulous” of all the cycles. 89 Joseph takes a moment to speak to all the old men in the audience and advises them never to marry a young woman. Joseph accuses Mary of sinning, “blaming” an angel for this deed. The angel must appear in order to calm Joseph and assure him that Mary upheld her solemn vow. The repetition of Joseph and Mary’s debate is reminiscent of any couple’s argument. They repeat themselves: each one believing to be in the right (Joseph asks about the paternity nine times). Joseph’s stunned reaction becomes normalized when one considers that Mary’s pregnant body violates many norms (because of her professed vow of virginity). There is a clear juxtaposition between Mary’s body and her claim of her virginal status. 90 Her insistence on her innocence adds to that violation and further angers Joseph. In the N-Town version, Joseph also says his name is “shent” and that he will now be a cuckold because of the embarrassing scandal. Mary assures him that this is all part of the will of God: “Surely, sir, be not dismayed, Right after the will of God’s ordinance.” 91 As in the York cycle, Joseph goes so far as to call her “a young wench.” Multiple times Mary tries to assuage him, ordering him to “amend his moan.” 92 Yet, Joseph lashes out repeatedly: it is clear Mary’s words do not provide any comfort. Recognizing the limitation of her voice during this heated episode, Mary asks for God’s help to comfort Joseph, knowing that her words fail to mitigate his concerns. She goes as far as calling Joseph “diseased” (troubled) for lack of knowledge and his inability to understand the

N-Town, “Joseph’s Return,” line 25. Coletti, “Purity and Danger,” 73. 90 Fitzhenry, “The N-Town Plays and the Politics of Metatheater,” 33. 91 N-Town, “Joseph’s Return,” lines 23-24. 92 Ibid., line 41. 88 89

nature of Jesus’ conception:

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For lack of knowledge he is diseased, And therefore, help, that he were eased. 93 Mary ultimately convinces God to send the angel Gabriel to Joseph. Once the angel Gabriel enlightens Joseph about her pregnancy, as in the other versions, Joseph begs for forgiveness. He also wishes to kiss her feet as part of the apology, but Mary suggests that he kiss her on the mouth instead. 94 He promises “to serve thee at foot and hand” and asks to hear a detailed explanation of the holy conception: And therefore, tell me with halting none, The holy matter of your conception. 95 He recognizes that it was his words that were foolish, and looks forward to hearing Mary’s eloquent story. Again, the pageant concludes with reconciliation. Joseph admits his wrongdoing and ultimately dotes upon his wife and vocalizes his gratitude that they married. He is thankful to have her as a wife, and this resolution illustrates that marriage, despite the conflicts, is a loving practice. Joseph’s outbursts mirror social concerns about the dangerous possibilities of women’s speech in the late Middle Ages – his words are unfounded, slanderous accusations. He requires an authority figure to chastise him. Joseph is feminized for his reaction – the angel refers to his weeping as “shrill.” 96 Mary’s defenses and, moreover, Joseph’s critiques of her words,

Ibid., line 130-131. Ibid., lines 186-187. It is possible that this gesture represents the kiss of peace, the ritual was used in a range of legal and religious settings during the High and late Middle Ages. Kiril Petkov, The Kiss of Peace: Ritual, Self, and Society in the High and Late Medieval West (Boston: Brill, 2003); Katherine L. Jansen, “‘Pro bono pacis’: Crime and Dispute Resolution in Late Medieval Florence. The Evidence of Notarial Peace Contracts,” Speculum 88.2 (April 2013): 427-456. Joseph’s attempt to kiss Mary’s feet also foreshadows Mary Magdalene’s actions in the “Appearance to Mary Magdalene” pageant after the Resurrection. 95 N-Town, “Joseph’s Return,” lines 208, 211-212. 96 In Middle English, the angel chastises Joseph, “Joseph, Joseph, thu wepyst shyrle!” N-Town, “Joseph’s Return,” line 147. Bardsley’s “Sin, Speech, and Scolding in Late Medieval England,” points to both ecclesiastical and secular 93 94

163 underscore the contested nature of her testimony. This gendered reversal of roles runs counter to the medieval conduct literature previously discussed that sought to regulate the speech of wives. 97 Moreover, this role reversal frames Mary as the one whose speech is both measured and effective, whereas Joseph’s words are uncontrollable and often ineffective. Nonetheless, throughout each version, Mary and Joseph resolved this dispute within the domestic sphere. But, perhaps signaling the power of rumor and slander, this problem does not stay private, as indicated in the subsequent N-Town pageant “The Trial of Mary and Joseph.”

Speech on Trial: Speech on the Defensive in “The Trial of Mary and Joseph” This second segment of the Mary Play in N-Town regarding Mary’s pregnancy is different, because unlike “Joseph’s Return,” in which the audience has a window into a private conversation within their home, “The Trial of Mary and Joseph” is staged in a (medieval) public setting. By blending of theological issues and socio-political commentary, the N-Town cycle connects and augment religious concerns about marriage with the very real social worries about gendered spousal roles. 98 This story has its origins in the Pseudo-Matthew Gospel, when rumors of Mary’s pregnancy led to a public hearing before the High Priest Abizachar. 99 The purpose of

texts in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that reflect increasing concern about the power of speech, drawing particular attention to gendered terms like “shrill” and “scold.” 97 Crossdressing was a regular practice within medieval theatre: male actors often played female roles. However, it was during the early modern era that within theatre, crossdressing was viewed as a subversive practice. For more on this subject, see Vern L. Bullough and Bonnie Bullough, Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993); Robert L.A. Clark and Claire Sponsler, “Queer Play: The Cultural Work of Crossdressing in Medieval Drama,” New Literary History 28.2 (1997): 319-344; Russell West-Pavlov, Bodies and their Spaces: System, Crisis and Transformation in Early Modern Theatre (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005). For an essay on theoretical issues of gender performativity, see Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal 20.3 (1988): 519-531. 98 Fitzhenry, “Politics of Metatheater,” 27. 99 Cindy K. Carlson, “Like a Virgin: Mary and Her Doubters in the N-Town Cycle,” in Constructions of Widowhood and Virginity in the Middle Ages, eds. Cindy L. Carlson and Angela Jane Weisl (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), 199-217; Alison M. Hunt, “Maculating Mary: The Detractors of the N-Town Cycle’s ‘Trial of Joseph and Mary,’” Philological Quarterly 73.1 (1994): 11-29.

164 this trial was to test whether Joseph broke his vow and if Mary committed adultery. This pageant has not received extensive scrutiny and thus offers an opportunity to consider the reception of Mary’s voice in a public, legal forum and how the couple operated as a marital unit. Unlike the episodes of conflict in “Joseph’s Return,” here, Mary and Joseph present themselves in solidarity with one another. Joseph and Mary are united as they jointly faced slanderous accusations from two detractors called Back Biter and Raise Slander. 100 These are male slanderers, demonstrating that it was not only women who fell into the temptations of gossip and engaging in public defamation of character. In their lengthy accusations, the accusers stated, “He ceased not till he had her laid!” and “Even worse she has him paid!” 101 Bishop Abizachar intervenes at this point, saying that they should be “cursed” for defaming Mary with “such villainy.” 102 But even with the intervention of a clerical authority, the accusations continue without ceasing. The detractors turn this trial into a farce and poke fun at Mary and Joseph individually, as others join in. The summoner refers to Joseph as an “old shrew.” 103 They imagine Mary taking younger lovers, acting in lewd and adulterous ways, as well as tricking Joseph. The crude language ridicules both Mary and Joseph, as they are called “wench” (3 times) and “cuckold,” respectively. 104 The detractors also mock the story of the Annunciation, sneering and saying that not the Holy Spirit but a snowflake crept into Mary’s mouth and impregnated her. 105 These attacks against Mary and

The term “backbiter” materialized in the thirteenth century to describe those who circulated false or cruel rumors. Bardsley, “Sin, Speech, and Scolding in Late Medieval England,” 149. 101 N-Town, “The Trial of Mary and Joseph,” lines 52-53. 102 Ibid., lines 75, 77. 103 Ibid., line 225. 104 Mary is referred to as a “wench” in lines 99, 103, 127. Joseph is called a “cokolde” in line 98 and then a “kokewolde” in line 105 (alternative spellings). N-Town, “The Trial of Mary and Joseph.” 105 N-Town, “The Trial of Mary and Joseph,” lines 273-276. The French fabliaux, L'Enfant qui fu remis au soleil, tells a familiar story of a woman who became impregnated by a snowflake, and was also retold in Middle English. 100

Joseph are noteworthy in their own right, but also call for the need to examine how Mary and

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Joseph respond to such slanderous accusations. We should also look at the “Trial of Mary and Joseph” to see how the couple operates as a marital unit – they defend their innocence together. Joseph, now understanding his wife’s pregnancy, defends her honor, asserting that: “She is, for me, a true clean maid.” Even though Joseph is brought to trial as well, his testimony is not treated with the same ridicule and spectacle that Mary faces. The audience can conclude that Joseph has now been convinced of Mary’s innocence, as was established in the previous segment of the cycle. Instead of Joseph continuing to question Mary’s virginity, they are unified against their accusers, who are so vulgar that they refer to her as a “bold bitch.” 106 The audience may not have expected to hear the Virgin referred to in such profane terms. Such slanderous language could underscore the severity of these accusations levied against Mary. 107 Reputation was often more important than one’s actions, specifically for women, whose status was shaped by public knowledge of their sexual behavior. 108 The concept of marital chastity provoked unease and suspicion in the medieval world: couples often hid their vows to avoid public slander and derision. 109 Those who professed a vow of marital chastity were often subject to rumors and gossip, as neighbors spied on and harassed them. 110 The communal behavior in the pageant is similar to a medieval charivari, a ritual defined by “its boisterous mixture of playfulness and cruelty,” where communal social pressure is inflicted on a chaste See Nicole Nolan Sidhu, Indecent Exposure: Gender, Politics, and Obscene Comedy in Middle English Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). 106 N-Town, “The Trial of Mary and Joseph,” line 265. 107 Greg Walker, “The Cultural Work of Early Drama,” in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre, Second Edition, eds. Richard Beadle and Alan J. Fletcher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 81. 108 McSheffrey, Marriage, Sex, and Civic Culture in Late Medieval London, 175. 109 Elliott, Spiritual Marriage, 272. 110 Ibid., 60, 272-3.

household.

111

The disorderly behavior and rough language from the slanderers reflects the

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medieval communities that wrongfully persecuted women believed to be deviant. Despite the calmness in Mary’s voice, it is only a final verdict from the bishop that will settle the crowd, perhaps an allusion to the importance of episcopal authority. Mary chooses to be silent and obedient during segments of their trial, but just as in her initial silence at the Annunciation, she still demonstrates agency in her selective speech. Mary also maintains a sense of dignity evident in her calm presence. She is neither shrill nor impulsive in her defense. Cindy Carlson sees Mary’s humility during this trial as an enabling force allowing her to triumph over those who abuse their power, in this case, their vocal power. 112 The foul detractors regard her voice as illegitimate testimony. Mary’s voice was not efficacious. Instead, they insist that the only sound evidence will come from trial by ordeal via a truth serum. Although the quest to establish the truth includes Mary and Joseph’s statements, it is ultimately the drinking of a truth potion, called here “a bottle of vengeance,” that validates Mary’s insistence on her innocence. 113 As she prepares to take the potion, Mary maintains her innocence yet again: I trespassed never with earthly wight Thereof I hope through God’s bond This late medieval tradition grew in popularity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, particularly in England France. Natalie Zemon Davis, “Charivari, Honor, and Community in Seventeenth-Century Lyon and Geneva,” in Rite, Drama, Festival, Spectacle: Rehearsals Toward a Theory of Cultural Performance, ed. John J. MacAloon (Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1984), 42; Natalie Zemon Davis, “The Rites of Violence: Religious Riot in Sixteenth-Century France,” Past & Present 59 (May 1973): 51-91; Natalie Zemon Davis, “The Reason of Misrule,” in Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975), 97-123; Richard J. Moll, “Staging Disorder: Charivari in the N-Town Cycle,” Comparative Drama 35.2 (Summer 2001): 145-161. 112 Carlson, “Mary’s obedience and power in the Trial of Mary and Joseph,” 351. 113 The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 prohibited this form of trial. Canon 18: “Neither shall anyone in judicial tests or ordeals by hot or cold water or hot iron bestow any blessing; the earlier prohibitions in regard to dueling remain in force.” From H. J. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils: Text, Translation and Commentary, (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1937), 250. This “bottle of vengeance” also has echoes of love potions used within medieval romances. See D.H. Green, The Beginnings of Medieval Romance: Fact and Fiction, 1150-1220 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 71. 111

Here to be purged before your sight From all sin clean, just as my husband. Give me the bottle out of your hand. Here shall I drink before your face. About this altar I shall pace round Seven times to go by God’s grace. 114

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She then ingests the potion and walks around the altar. The belief was that if the person who drank the potion were lying, the defendant’s face would change color. Mary prays for God to provide a sign to the detractors of evidence that the conception of Christ was pure: God, as I never knew man’s ministration, But ever have lived in true virginity, Send me this day thy holy consolation That all these fair people my cleanness may see. O gracious God as thou didst choose me To be thy mother, of me to be born, Save thy tabernacle that is kept clean for thee That now is put to reproof and scorn. 115 Mary reaffirms her vow of chastity and maintains her purity. Moreover, her prayer to God shows that she was selected to bear the Son of God – she did not actively seek this out. The court only views Mary’s testimony as legitimate after the truth serum validates her initial statement. At the sight of Mary’s unchanging color, the detractors have a change of heart, verbalizing their apologies and lamenting their slanderous words. One of the detractors falls down, clutching his skull in pain, which is a punishment for his slander. The pageant finally has a resolution and sends a clear message about defamation of character and its connection to general transgressions. Mary’s voice ultimately functions as a stabilizing force: she restores the disorder of the public scandal back to equilibrium. Yet, it is also worth considering that these misplaced accusations underscore societal fears about women’s speech – it is only Mary’s exceptional status that exempts her from subsequent punishment. 114 115

N-Town, “The Trial of Mary and Joseph,” lines 257-264. Ibid., lines 301-308.

Although a truth serum was required as proof of Mary’s testimony, the eventual

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restoration of Mary and Joseph’s reputations intimates both the power and threat of the spoken word in medieval society. It is the opportunity for them to restore their names and reputation in a public forum. Mary also refers to the slanders’ lies as a sickness, implying that like a contagious illness, it has spread and corrupted the community, who temporarily believed this false rumor. Another sign of Mary’s dominance over the accusers is their silence: they fall silent because of Mary’s truthful words. 116 In this compelling gender reversal, Mary’s statement results in male speechlessness. 117 Cursed language and rumor are connected here as two grievous sins, and it is Mary’s voice that has the power to forgive such wicked speech: Now God forgive you all your trespass And also forgive you all defamation That you have said both more and less To my hindrance and accusation. 118 Mary’s departing words remind both the accusers and the medieval audience of her ability to forgive transgression and that defamation was one of the most egregious. The bishop instructs the detractors and other characters to “lowly incline” (bow) in deference to her, as part of their apology for such a grievous accusation. 119 The accusers have been properly rebuked for their slander, and Mary and Joseph return home in anticipation of the birth of Christ. She is not the object of discussion, solely relegated to being a topic of discussion among others, but is instead brought into the foreground as an active subject in the debate surrounding her virginity and pregnancy. Carlson, “Like a Virgin,” 213. This is possibly a reference to the punishment of Zechariah (Luke 1:19-20), who was silenced because he did not believe the agenl Gabriel’s prophecy about Zechariah’s future son: “And the angel answering, said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God: and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings. And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.” 118 N-Town, “The Trial of Mary and Joseph,” lines 341-344. 119 Ibid., line 355. 116 117

169 The “Trial of Mary and Joseph” reflects both the value of the power of Mary’s voice and raises the question of its legitimacy. She keeps insisting on the truth, but the physical evidence suggests otherwise. Mary’s testimony is not accepted as truthful evidence. The public reaction to her speech points to the weakness of women’s words and oaths in a medieval court of law, given the fact that it was only after the truth serum was administered that Mary’s word was viewed as credible. 120 The trial shows the severity of slander and the community’s concern with regulating improper speech. Despite her exemplary status, Mary’s voice was met with the same scrutiny that medieval women faced in court proceedings. This fictive trial also affirms how important the role and subject of speech is to understanding Mary’s late medieval persona.

The Persistence of Marital Conflict After the Birth of Christ The birth of Jesus and his auspicious childhood did not signify an end to conflict between Mary and Joseph. 121 Throughout the Corpus Christi cycles, Mary continuously affirms her vow of obedience to God’s will and deference to God’s authority over Joseph’s word. 122 While betrothed to Joseph, Mary insisted she must uphold her pledge of virginity, and in the York “Purification” pageant, Mary maintained that she must participate in the traditional purification ritual forty days after the birth of Christ. 123 Voicing her concerns about adhering to Jewish law, Carlson, “Mary’s Obedience and Power in the Trial of Mary and Joseph,” 348. While the aforementioned pageants featured the marriage of Mary and Joseph as one sometimes steeped in conflict, it should be noted that the Corpus Christi dramas did highlight elements of love and compassion between Mary and Joseph, particularly in the pageants surrounding the birth of Christ, such as “The Nativity,” and “The Flight into Egypt.” As a wife, medieval depictions praised her obedience to Joseph. But as a mother to Jesus, medieval renderings crafted Mary as a loving, yet sorrowful mother. Across the different cycles in the Infancy pageants, Mary and Joseph express mutual affection. Old issues of contention are pushed to the side, and love is the predominant emotion expressed. Clarissa W. Atkinson, The Oldest Vocation: Christian Motherhood in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 101-143. 122 Witt, Contrary Marys, 72. 123 Gail McMurray Gibson, “Blessing from Sun and Moon: Churching as Women’s Theater,” in Bodies and Disciplines: Intersections of Literature and History in Fifteenth-Century England, eds. Barbara A. Hanawalt and David Wallace (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 139-154. 120 121

Mary articulates her familiarity with the Old Testament custom (Leviticus 12:1-8) of the

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purification ritual. Moreover, just as she emphasized her vow of virginity at the Betrothal, Mary articulated the importance of following God’s law precisely without exception. Mary entreats Joseph to take her to the Temple so she can participate in the ritual. In this fifteenth-century expansion of Luke 2:22, Mary explains to both Joseph and the audience how she is part of a larger tradition, and thus required to partake in the purification ceremony: Here in this Temple before God’s sight As other women do altogether So I think with good skill and reason I will do the same now with good cheer, After God’s law. 124 Mary does not regard her exceptional status as justification for skipping the purification ritual. She willingly seeks to participate, following in the tradition adhered to by generations of women. Joseph attempts to assure Mary that she is not obligated to participate in this Jewish tradition because of her unique status: The law is affirmed for them quite plainly That they must be purified again. 125 Although her husband tells her that the ritual is not necessary, Mary defers to God’s law. She does not listen to the counsel of her husband, but states that she will submit to traditional authority over Joseph’s spoken assurance: It is only through God’s will, That you be very assured; Yet to fulfill the law to be sure That God almighty did reveal And for an example of meekness, I would offer this. 126

York, “Purification of the Virgin,” lines 195-199. Ibid., lines 205-206. 126 Ibid., lines 217-222. 124 125

171 Mary seeks formal authority to confirm that she is the exception to the rule, lest she break with Jewish tradition. Mary’s firm stance about her involvement in the religious custom mirrors her questioning the high priest about whether she would be able to remain a virgin within her marriage to Joseph in “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph.” Mary also supplies evidence of her adherence to religious practices and is able to affirm in a sophisticated manner the necessity of her participation in the purification ritual after the birth of Christ. Joseph praises her understanding of Jewish law but views her as exempted from traditional gender norms, just as Ysakar permitted Mary to remain a pledged virgin. Ultimately, Mary proceeds to complete the ritual, thus fulfilling the Jewish tradition like all other women after giving birth. Parenting Jesus through adolescence would engender conflict once more between Mary and Joseph. “Christ and the Doctors” depicts Mary and Joseph yet again in marital strife when it re-imagines Mary and Joseph searching in Jerusalem to find their lost son, only to discover him in the Temple with the Doctors. This expansion of Luke 2:41-52, while not often considered in Marian studies, is a key example of Mary using her voice to stress her agency, and at times exhibiting a more masculine and dominant personality in comparison to Joseph’s. The dialogue that emerges between Mary and Joseph depicts a struggle for authority as they search for their lost twelve-year-old. The pageants place less emphasis on Mary’s worry and more on Joseph’s “grumblings.” 127 Particularly in the York Cycle, Joseph fears the label of a cuckold, a recurring concern from Mary’s pregnancy earlier in the cycle. The trope of the old, foolish man is a recurring theme in these pageants. This episode represents an inversion of gender roles: Mary’s assertiveness dominates over Joseph’s ineffective and submissive behavior. 128 In some cases, Joseph quashes Mary’s voice as it grows in alarm and concern over their 127 128

Woolf, The English Mystery Plays, 216. Coletti, “Purity and Danger,” 65-95.

172 lost child. Joseph does not reassure her but seeks to silence her. He views Mary’s voice as overreacting and tries to limit her participation. Realizing that their son is missing, Mary seeks Joseph’s advice and encourages them to search together. She even exhorts Joseph to take the dominant role as head of the household, Go forth, Joseph, upon your way and fetch our son-and let us go. 129 She simply implores him to take an active role and does so without any hint of humiliating him. Despite her gentle encouragement, Mary, due to Joseph’s reluctance, must take control of the search operation. She does so while speaking of his “blabbering.” Joseph brings up the rear, weaker in his old age, whereas Mary exhibits more strength. Joseph continues to reveal insecurities about his status as a cuckold and his threatened position as head of the household. Fearing public disgrace and mockery, just as he had in the “Joseph’s troubles” pageants, Joseph confronts Mary. Despite her gentle pleading with her husband, Mary is unable to convince Joseph to take an active role in looking for Jesus. Joseph protests and is ashamed to converse with the doctors: With men of might I cannot speak, that sit so gay in fine furs. 130 Joseph is embarrassed by his age and appearance, for it only slows down his ability to search. Not only is he self-conscious about his age, which is visibly apparent to the doctors, but he also fears he will not be eloquent when speaking to them. Joseph asks Mary, “What shall I say?” hoping that Mary can instruct him how to speak in front of such esteemed and wealthy men. 131 Joseph requires guidance from Mary: this stands in direct opposition to the medieval conduct

Chester, “Christ and the Doctors,” lines 307-308. Ibid., lines 313-314. 131 Wakefield, “Christ and the Doctors,” line 289. 129 130

literature that placed the husband in the dominant-advisory position.

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Joseph puts Mary in charge: she proceeds first and speaks on their behalf. She subverts his authority, which contradicts the advice of conduct manuals that prohibited wives from opposing their husbands. Joseph’s fear of appearing foolish, old, weak, even feminized, resonates throughout the pageant. Mary is able to subvert and occupy a leading role, but as a woman on top, she feminizes Joseph and causes him to fear public shame and ridicule. 132 Neither is firmly fixed in a gendered role. Joseph is more comfortable in a secondary, auxiliary role than in the position of the central, dominant parent. These pageants vacillate between favoring the authority of Joseph versus Mary. Scholars have yet to consider these subversive and genderbending aspects of the English pageants. In neglecting to do so, they have failed to appreciate the unique ways that Mary was positioned to function as a wife who sometimes acted outside the bounds of what was deemed acceptable, subservient behavior. Just as in the biblical version, after lengthy searching, they find Jesus in the temple amidst the doctors. Mary reprimands him, demonstrating her great concern for him: Ah, dear child! Dear child, why have you done this? For you we have had great sorrow and care! 133 Mary does not scold Jesus for the sake of embarrassing him but in her reproach carefully explains why his absence caused her such distress. Her concern would have been understandable to the parents in the audience, who could commiserate over the fear of a lost child. Her maternal methods offered a framework that balanced nurturing with some examples of firm voice and behavior. Jesus explained that he was in his father’s house, conversing with the doctors. Moreover, in a departure from the Gospel reading, Jesus shows deference for his mother and Natalie Zemon Davis, “Women On Top,” in Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975), 124-151. 133 N-Town, “Christ and the Doctors,” lines 257-258. 132

states his utmost respect for Mary:

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Now for to please my mother mild I shall you follow with obedience. I am your son and subject, child, And owe you reverence. 134 Mary is a mild mother, but her voice still has powerful resonance with her son. Mary is ultimately the matriarch, with Joseph and Jesus both dutiful in their responses to her, demonstrating signs of respect for her maternal authority. This pageant reflects the limited opportunities for mobility within the patriarchal family. Mary did not intentionally seek to subvert her husband’s authority or destabilize the familial power structure. She did so only because Joseph failed to take the initiative in searching for their lost son. It is this episode where we see the closest balance in dialogue between Mary and Joseph. No longer does Joseph have extensive monologues (like the “Troubles” pageant), but Mary and Joseph alternate in their debate. It is another example of Mary using her voice to assert her agency and at times exhibiting a more dominant personality than Joseph’s. The dialogue that emerges between Mary and Joseph depicts a struggle for authority. The Holy Family departs Jerusalem reunited, and Jesus affirms the importance of the fourth commandment to honor one’s father and mother. However, the final episode that depicts them as a family highlights yet another instance where Mary and Joseph are in heated debate, and Mary subverts his authority and inverts the gendered roles. 135 Throughout the cycles, Mary’s speech continues to cause conflict in their marriage. It is a source of aggravation to Joseph and a threat to his position as the head of the household. Joseph does not consistently have effective control over Mary. It is not apparent that audiences would Ibid., lines 271-273. Of course, Mary continues to parent Jesus, and their relationship is most compelling to investigate within the Crucifixion pageants. Mary’s planctus, the extended lament over the death of her son, has provided the most interesting scholarship: a topic previously explored in Chapter One.

134 135

depart from the performance believing their marriage was idyllic. But perhaps the performed

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conflicts in the cycles created a connection to the audience, by not portraying the marriage of Mary and Joseph as perfect and without strife. 136 It is compelling to consider how these sources provided viable models for couples less extraordinary than Joseph and Mary. This realistic depiction of their marriage ran counter to Marina Warner’s claim that “in that very celebration of the perfect human woman, both humanity and women were subtly denigrated.” 137 Instead, the audience would likely have recognized glimpses of their own domestic spats in these disputes and would not have viewed this representation as denigrating. This reflection on aspects of medieval life was likely a large part of the reason why the Corpus Christi plays were so popular. There is no clear conclusion to the marriage of Mary and Joseph. In biblical, apocryphal, and medieval sources, Joseph presumably dies before the beginning of Christ’s public ministry. Mary then transitions into her final earthly role as widow. Later segments of the plays draw attention to how she maintains an authoritative role in the celestial realm. In these episodes, her voice serves as a legitimizing aspect of her authority and a testament to her sacred knowledge, an expansion on themes previously raised in Chapter Two.

Conclusion A driving issue throughout this dissertation is the expansive range of Mary’s voice as evidenced across different genres of written materials. Each genre constructed conversations where Mary’s voice delineated particular expectations of different roles: in this chapter, The portrayal of Joseph and Mary’s marriage as human and familiar grew increasingly popular in the early modern period. Early modern images and devotional materials on the Holy Family emphasized their companionship, part of the broader early modern trend of highlighting increased emphasis on the family. See Lawrence Stone, Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500-1800 (New York: Harper & Row, 1977); Steven Ozment, When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983). 137 Warner, Alone of All Her Sex, xxi. 136

highlighting a set of expectations about Christian wives. When defending her honor and

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innocence, Mary as a vocal woman operates outside of restrictive gender constructions. Yet, these persistence defenses also call attention to the constrictive system implemented in a patriarchal society. Dyan Elliott astutely notes, “Submission inevitably overshadows subversion in the hands of a skilled narrator,” reminding us how much the writer’s stylistic approach influences the perceived autonomy and dominance in a relationship. 138 Medieval authors of theological, social, and dramatic texts manipulated the subject of marriage to emphasize gendered expectations of spouses. To some extent, this manufactured voice of Mary follows the prescribed advice of the conduct literature. In other cases, her speech supplies an alternative way to challenge male authority. The analysis of a constructed voice of Mary, as depicted in a set of religious dramas, may seem more like an exercise in attempting to recover the voices of dramatic personae than offering insight into reality of medieval wives. 139 There is no concrete way to measure the impact of these sources on women’s actual speech, particularly through the voice of Mary. However, working through layers of mediated voices shows the widespread attempt to manipulate and regulate a woman’s voice in a diverse body of sources. Mary’s speech could be used either to support or to undermine gender norms. Many of these examples, particular in efforts to silence or discredit her words, point to broader efforts to regulate and restrict women’s speech. Marriage was a medieval institution that blended social and theological expectations. There was no singular definition of this institution, nor did Mary fulfill one singular role. As evidenced in the Corpus Christi dramas, Mary’s voice could be either dominant or submissive. 138 139

Elliott, Spiritual Marriage, 165. Phillips, Medieval Maidens, 196.

177 She sometimes submitted to the will of the male patriarchy and other times overcame it. These different examples can be explained by multiple authorship, but it is also plausible that these varying depictions of Mary reflected the notion that medieval wives were not solely confined to a secondary role. 140 Wives faced varying expectations in the private and public sphere. Still, they held a restricted role in their community, living according to societal expectations and regulations. Part of the reason we can see the Corpus Christi dramas as having created a template for marriage is that they were public texts, performed widely while literally animating the conversations between Mary and Joseph. Not only did they reach a larger and broader audience than some of the other Marian-centric sources, they were performed regularly, and such repetition may have engrained these stories. These cultural scripts, when interpreted alongside the conduct literature and theological texts that defined the expectations for marriage, illuminated domestic issues and literally scripted marital dialogue. 141 Mary’s voice and performance normalized the problems of a marriage, even through a voice and persona widely viewed as obedient and taciturn. Throughout the pageants, Mary’s speech offers subtle methods of subversion. By debating with the High Priest Abizachar about the potential conundrum of entering into marriage as a consecrated virgin, Mary questions his legal authority by indicating her deference to God’s word alone. When maintaining her innocence to both Joseph and the court of her accusers, Mary repeatedly deploys speech in an attempt to defend herself (these Such opportunities for economic power and occupational leadership were present in some economic situations, see Judith Bennett, Ale, Beer and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996). From examining marital litigation records in York and Yorkshire, P.J.P. Goldberg found that the economy in late medieval England was strong enough that it gave women some sense of independence in selecting a spouse; nor did they not have to rely solely on a husband for monetary support. P.J.P. Goldberg, Women, Work, and Life Cycle in a Medieval Economy: Women in York and Yorkshire c.1300-1520 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992). 141 Cliff Goddard and Anna Wierzbicka, “Cultural Scripts: What are they and what are they good for?,” Intercultural Pragmatics 1-2 (January 2004): 153-166. 140

efforts failed and required outside forces to validate her claims). Conversely, Mary’s voice

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serves to stabilize and provide a resolution following episodes of debate and conflict. Mary’s speech has a significant meaning as it appears in these particular plays: it points to the issue of contesting power dynamics within marriage and female attempts to circumvent patriarchal authority in both the private and public spheres. Ultimately, the resonance of Mary’s voice cannot be ignored as we attempt to understand communication in medieval society. So much of the conversation surrounding Mary revolved around how she spoke and the societal reception of her voice: her voice was met with skepticism as she defended herself against salacious accusations. In these medieval dramatic episodes, Mary’s voice functions as a pivot for social and religious practices and provides a window into medieval domestic roles. In questioning her obligation to consummate her marriage, Mary’s query speaks to the practice of chaste marriages, as well as how chaste couples were often publicly mocked for this practice. Additionally, her need to defend herself, in response to both Joseph’s accusations and outside slanderous remarks, reflect a broader concern of the effects of character defamation that pervaded medieval society, particular disparaging remarks made against women. The sources are a prism representing not medieval reality but a glimpse into constructed societal expectations of a wife. My final chapter will move from studying Mary’s voice in familiar social roles, and instead assess her authority expressed through her voice as the most powerful intercessor whose authority extended from heaven to hell.

Chapter Four The Voice between Heaven and Hell: The Virgin Mary as Intercessor By the later Middle Ages, Mary was known by many different titles and names. Many of these titles are still referenced in Marian devotional sources today, such as Mother of Mercy and Queen of Heaven; others, like Empress of Hell, stand in stark contrast to the idea of the serene Madonna. Although Mary’s titles of Queen of Heaven and Empress of Hell seem diametrically opposed, medieval devotional sources ascribed to Mary the power to influence both the highest heights and lowest depths of the afterlife. John Mirk’s fourteenth-century Festial, a collection of Middle English sermons, includes a passage where Mary described her double roles as she sought to save a Christian possessed by the devil: “I am God’s mother, and I pray that my son gets this soul a place in heaven. I am also empress of hell, and have power over all you enemies; and therefore I command you that he [the devil] keep this soul no longer. But go your way and let him [the soul] rest.” 1 Surprisingly, this was not the only medieval account to directly connect the roles of Queen of Heaven and Empress of Hell, while also pointing to Mary’s position as intercessor as the connective tissue between these seemingly opposing positions. Previous scholarship has pointed to the dual positions, Queen of Heaven and Empress of Hell, as indicative of Mary’s multifaceted persona, but scholars have studied them separately. 2 I would argue that when we do not study these roles together, in relation to Mary’s role as intercessor, we

John Mirk, Mirk’s Festial: A Collection of Homilies, ed. Theodore Erbe (E.E.T.S. Millwood, NY: Kraus, Reprint, 1987), 114. Alan J. Fletcher, “Unnoticed Sermons from John Mirk’s Festial,” Speculum 55.3 (1980): 514–515; Susan Powell, “John Mirk’s Festial and the Pastoral Programme,” Leeds Studies in English 22 (1991): 85–102. On the dating of the Festial, see Alan J. Fletcher, “John Mirk and the Lollards,” MÆ 56 (1987): 217–24. 2 Catherine Oakes’s Ora pro nobis, offers an iconographic analysis of the intercessory theme as illuminated in paintings, statues, etc., but paid less attention to how textual sources crafted Mary’s voice as the connective link between these two spiritual planes. Within the field of psychohistory, Kate Koppelman investigated the Empress of Hell role to argue for the need to re-examine the complexity between medieval Christian devotees and the Virgin Mary. See “Devotional Ambivalence: The Virgin Mary as ‘Empresse of Helle,’” Essays in Medieval Studies 18 (2001): 67-82. 1

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180 fail to observe overlapping characteristics among these ostensibly disparate roles. Mary’s voice was an effective instrument of her power; when she deployed it, it served as a vehicle to offer protection to her supplicants. I maintain that we must assess how Mary’s voice defined and enhanced her positions as Queen of Heaven, mediatrix, and Empress of Hell. Scholars have yet to examine Mary’s voice as the principal articulation of her intercessory power. It is my contention that by portraying Mary as mediating between heaven, earth, and hell, these devotional sources crafted a wider range of Mary’s intercessory abilities and described surprising similarities among her roles. Mary does not passively deliver petitions to Christ, nor is she represented as a one-dimensional figure. Across popular religious texts, Mary uses her voice to influence supplicants’ behavior, while debating with both Christ and the devil over the fate of supplicants. The miracle collections and other hagiographical narratives I will assess promote an interactive relationship between Mary and supplicants. Instead of functioning as a submissive intermediary figure, I assert that the powerful depictions of Mary’s voice bolstered her as an active intercessor who was powerful enough to help the faithful evade damnation in hell and ascend to heaven. My approach of examining all three titles together will also address areas where Mary’s intercessory roles suggest some separation between herself and Christ. Many depictions of Mary as Queen of Heaven feature her in a secondary role as a regent alongside Christ. However, as mediatrix, Mary’s power is not entirely dependent on Christ’s judgment: in fact, she often seeks to change his mind. On other occasions, Mary served as an advocate, defending sinners in her son’s courtroom and explicitly recommending lesser sentences for penitential supplicants. I will consider both of these aspects of her role as intercessor. Mary’s agency is manifested even more in the role of Empress of Hell. Because the miracle collections I will assess describe the process

of intercession at length, we gain a better understanding of how Christians sought Mary’s aid,

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and Christians viewed Mary as uniquely positioned to intercede on their behalf. In what follows, we will observe the shifting power dynamic between Mary and Christ. This chapter incorporates miracle stories and other devotional materials that illustrated Mary’s role as an effective intercessor. Although Mary’s domain extended from heaven to the depths of hell, I argue that her power in each role varied: she articulated her authority differently, which yielded distinctive responses from supplicants. Although most saints functioned as intercessors, Christians recognized that Mary was uniquely positioned to advocate on her supplicants’ behalf. Even within the confines of a singular role, as intercessor, Mary expressed sentiments of either support or reproach toward her supplicants, and I will group her responses in these distinct categories. I will first examine each aspect of her persona individually. By bringing together the devotional and hagiographical texts that described the intricacies of Mary’s power, I will establish that these devotional sources were not monolithic in their characterization of Mary as intercessor. I will then explore how the combination of the three roles offers us a fuller vision of medieval conceptions of Marian intercession. Analyzing all three roles enables us to tour the celestial hierarchy, comparing the different arenas where Mary has varying influence and agency. Broadly examining the representation and range of Mary’s positions in the cosmos illuminates the richness and complexity of the religious system that crafted such intriguing sources. Beginning with Mary’s position in heaven and descending through the celestial hierarchy will highlight surprising representations of her power embodied in her speech as she influenced the behavior and fate of those who prayed for her intercession.

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Of the three positions that form the subject of this chapter, the title of Queen of Heaven is the oldest. Depending on series of apocryphal accounts, it was widely accepted by the fourth century that after her bodily assumption into heaven, Mary ruled as Queen of Heaven alongside Christ. 3 Ephrem of Syria (303-373) often referred to Mary in his writings as “Lady” and “Queen,” terms that were quickly popularized in devotional writings on Mary and persisted for centuries. He bridged the Queen and Intercessor roles as he prayed, “Majestic and Heavenly Maid, Lady, Queen, protect and keep me under your wing lest Satan the sower of destruction glory over me, lest my wicked foe be victorious against me.” 4 Medieval devotional writing, liturgical practices, and visual evidence framed Mary as a regal figure, who ruled in heaven along with her son. The title “Queen of Heaven” placed Mary in an esteemed position in the celestial kingdom of heaven, enthroned in majesty alongside Christ. Later medieval authors produced antiphonal hymns, poetry, and devotional treatises that praised Mary as Queen of Heaven. The four Marian antiphons, “Salve Regina,” “Ave Regina Coelorum,” “Alma Redemptoris Mater,” and “Regina Coeli” address the queenship of the Virgin Mary. 5 There was a long tradition of popes who expressed particular devotion to Mary; within this era Pope Innocent III (r. 1199-1216) referred to Mary as both “Empress of Angels” and “Queen of

This title connected Mary with the “woman cloaked with the sun,” as part of the vision of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation (Revelation 12:1). Medieval theologians tended to focus more on the nature of Mary’s assumption into heaven, rather than on the nature of her regency as Queen of Heaven. Therefore, the Coronation tradition was largely a visual tradition in the later Middle Ages, with less textual evidence on this specific aspect of Mary’s medieval persona. Clayton, The Cult of the Virgin in Anglo-Saxon England, 8-10; Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 293-329. 4 Stephen J. Shoemaker, Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); Ephrem of Syria, Hymns, trans. Kathleen E. McVey (New York: Paulist Press, 1989). It is worth noting that such intercession (on the human scale) was also expected of worldly queens. 5 Stephanie A. Budwey, Sing of Mary: Giving Voice to Marian Theology and Devotion (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2014), 65-69. 3

Heaven.”

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There was a rich tradition of statues, mosaics, paintings, and other visual images that depicted Mary seated in majesty. 7 In these images, Mary’s queenship is linked with her humility: she bows in deference upon her Coronation, performed either by Christ himself or the entire Trinity. Despite the different representations of Mary’s role as queen, the images share the tradition of subordinating Mary’s authority to Christ’s. One illustration in a fourteenth-century English manuscript (Fig. 7) indicates a connection between Mary’s role as queen and as intercessor.

(Fig. 7) “Coronation of the Virgin,” c.1325-1335, England, University Library MS Hunter 231 (U.3.4), University of Glasgow Sarah Jane Boss, Empress and Handmaid: On Nature and Gender in the Cult of the Virgin Mary (London: Cassell, 2000), 33. 7 This was such a popular motif that some English wall paintings gave equal emphasis to Mary’s Assumption and Coronation with Christ’s Resurrection, Ascension, and Descent into Hell. Christine Peters, Patterns of Piety: Women, Gender and Religion in Late Medieval and Reformation England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 62; R.W. Heath-Whyte, An Illustrated Guide to the Medieval Wall Paintings in the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin at Chalgrove in the County of Oxfordshire (Chalgrove: PCC St. Mary’s Chalgrove, 2003). 6

184 Like other Coronation images, Christ places the crown on Mary’s head: an indication of Mary’s subordinate position. It is worth noting that this image includes a banderole, or speech scroll, that reaches the ear of Mary, originating from the kneeling supplicant Roger of Waltham (Canon of St Paul’s, London, and Keeper of the Wardrobe of Edward II), “Ruling with your Son, let a realm be prepared for Roger.” 8 This petition suggests that some form of verbal exchange took place between Mary as intercessor with her supplicants. This image emerged alongside a growing tradition of Mary offering words as a means of salvation, a ladder that connected supplicants on earth to Mary in heaven. Even as Queen of Heaven, Mary occupies the role of intercessor, indicating that these roles were linked in the minds of medieval Christians. 9 We should contrast Mary’s subordinate position in this image, and other references to Mary as Queen of Heaven, with descriptions of Mary’s role as intercessor when she uses her authoritative voice to shift the power dynamic between herself and Jesus. However, unlike other aspects of Mary, such as her perpetual virginity or her maternity, themes that medieval authors unpacked and explored in detail, few sources elaborated on the specificities of her sovereignty in heaven. Some visionary narratives acknowledged Mary’s place in heaven, but it was rare for Christians to describe encountering Mary in the role of Queen of Heaven. 10 Her queenship was an important aspect of Mary’s medieval persona, but lacked the

“Regnans cum nato, Rogero regna parato.” Transcribed in Lucy Freeman Sandler, “The Chantry of Roger of Waltham in Old St. Paul’s,” in Harlaxton Medieval Studies 10, ed. J. Backhouse, (Donington, Lincolnshire: Shaun Tyas, 2003), 173. 9 Alongside Coronation imagery, theologians urged others to envision Mary as a queen during spiritual contemplation. Godfrey of Admont (d. 1165) called Mary “the mistress of the world, the queen of heaven, and the empress of the angels. Albert the Great (d. 1280) urged supplicants to venerate Mary like a queen. Hilda Graef, Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion, vol. 1 (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1964), 248. 10 Elisabeth of Schönau distinctly described Mary as Queen of Heaven, “I saw her like a queen and ruler in the kingdom of brightness.” However, this apparition did not offer a voice for Mary: Mary is a silent participant in the kingdom of heaven. Elisabeth of Schönau: The Complete Works, ed. and trans. Anne L. Clark (New York: Paulist Press, 2000), 81. 8

185 agency ascribed to her roles as mediatrix and Empress of Hell. Examining this conception of 11

the Virgin as Queen of Heaven alongside the others highlights the array of portrayals of Mary as a sovereign ruler whose empire extended from the apex of heaven to the nadir of the underworld. This was a sharp contrast to the roles of mediatrix and Empress of Hell, positions where Mary exhibits more autonomy. The later Middle Ages ushered in an era of Marian devotion that opted to shape Mary’s role based on the personal relationships that Christians cultivated with her. 12 Miracle stories and other devotional materials accomplished this by portraying Mary as an intercessory figure who advocated on their behalf to Christ. The reasons for this increased emphasis on Mary’s agency beg further exploration.

Between Heaven and Hell: Defining Mary as Mediatrix and Intercessor The late Middle Ages marked a surging interest in the geography of the afterlife, during which theological and devotional sources imagined the landscape of heaven and hell, as well as what kind of behavior earned entry into each part of the cosmos. 13 By the later Middle Ages, after centuries of developing burial practices, devotional rituals, and prayers commemorating the dead, “The dead came profoundly to affect the living. Christianity, by virtue of its doctrines and the works of Christ, changed and strengthened the relationship between the living and the Donna Ellington found a series of late medieval Italian sermons that bridged the roles of Queen of Heaven and mediatrix together as a double role. Ellington, From Sacred Body to Angelic Soul, 111. 12 Boss, Empress and Handmaid, 45; Clarissa Atkinson, The Oldest Vocation: Christian Motherhood in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 115; Penny S. Gold, The Lady and the Virgin: Image, Attitude and Experience in Twelfth-Century France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 66-67: Peters, Patterns of Piety, 62. 13 Beginning in the thirteenth century, both ecclesiastical and popular writers sought to organize and classify the geography of the afterlife. Attempts to describe heaven and hell were found in visionary literature, poems, miracle stories, and other narrative accounts. See Alastair Minnis, From Eden to Eternity: Creations of Paradise in the Later Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016); Eileen Gardiner, Visions of Heaven and Hell Before Dante (New York: Italica Press, 1989); Frederick Paxton, Christianizing Death: The Creation of a Ritual Process in Early Medieval Europe (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990); Patrick Geary, Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994). 11

186 dead.” Central to this culture was the belief that the living could pray to the saints to intercede 14

on behalf of their deceased loved ones. 15 What more effective and compassionate saint to seek out than Mary? Christian devotional writing described “the drama of salvation” with imaginative stories that highlighted both supplicants’ agency and Mary’s intervention in determining their salvation. 16 Swift acts of mercy quickly swung the pendulum from the prospect of eternal damnation to the hope of redemption through her intercession. The miracle stories mapped out the cosmos and filled in the gaps about heaven and hell that were not addressed within formal theology. Picturing the afterlife was often unclear, so the colorful miracle stories offered some assurance that Mary was a helpful aid in her supplicants’ pursuit for salvation and forgiveness. Later medieval miracle collections and other devotional materials praised Mary’s role as an intercessor, because in this position Mary mediated between Christians and her son in order to advocate for mercy. This portrayal was so pervasive in medieval religious culture that Jaroslav Pelikan claimed that the “systematic clarification of the title Mediatrix was the principal objective expression of Mariology and the chief theological contribution to the Christian teaching about Mary.” 17 What he did not note was that Mary’s crafted speech, as seen in the following medieval devotional sources, indicates how her voice was viewed as fundamental to her intercession. Using a series of categories that classify Mary’s different intercessory roles, the

Early Christian burial rituals indicated respect for and care for the dead, both in terms of the physical burial process and the prayers for their eternal rest. In doing so, such rituals and practices indicated that Christians believed they played a role in determining their final resting place, either in heaven or hell. Paul Binski, Medieval Death: Ritual and Representation (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996), 21. Johann Huizinga, in discussing the medieval mentalité that was so deeply tied with medieval spirituality, observed, “no other epoch has laid so much stress as the expiring Middle Ages on the thought of death. An everlasting call of memento mori sounds through life.” Johann Huizinga, The Autumn of the Middle Ages, trans. Rodney J. Payton and Ulrich Mammitzsch (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996), 134. See also Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 301-337. 15 Ellington, Sacred Bodies, 116; John Bossy, Christianity in the West, 1400-1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), 12. 16 John Case, After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory (New York, Oxford University Press, 2009), 105. 17 Pelikan, Mary through the Centuries, 125-126. 14

187 following discussion will examine Mary first in dialogue with petitioners over their behavior. I will examine instances when she chastised supplicants, as well as examples of when she offered salvific protection. The second section will evaluate the intercessory dialogue between Christ and Mary, pointing to examples when Mary uses her rhetorical prowess to override Christ’s initial judgment. I maintain that contrary to her more passive role as Queen of Heaven, the following examples highlight Mary’s unique power over Christ. To contextualize these narratives, I will briefly summarize the history of Mary’s role as intercessor. The earliest Marian hymns asked the Mother of God to serve as protector and intercessor. Sub Tuum Praedisium (“Under Your Mercy”), the first of such prayers, of which an extant copy is found in a third-century liturgy, implores “We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God; Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen.” 18 This prayer marked the beginning of an extensive tradition of Christian prayers, hymns, and other liturgical materials that petitioned the Virgin Mary for intercession, recognizing her exclusive ability to plead to Christ on behalf of supplicants. Additionally, the Church declared Mary’s singular status at the Council of Ephesus in 431, referring to her as Theotokos (Mother of God). 19 This benchmark in Marian devotion ushered in an age when Mary’s role in Christianity was viewed as central. Luigi Gambero explained how this ecumenical council influenced the broader understanding of Mary as an intercessor, observing, “Faith in Mary’s mediation is dependent upon the more general doctrine The Sub Tuum prayer became part of the liturgical office for Christmas within the Coptic Rite in the third century. Stephen J. Shoemaker, “Marian Liturgies and Devotion in Early Christianity,” in Mary: The Complete Resource, edited by Sarah Jane Boss (London: Continuum Press, 2007): 130-145; Anthony M. Buono, The Greatest Marian Prayers: Their History, Meaning, and Usage (New York: Alba House, 1999). 19 Richard M. Price, “The Theotokos and the Council of Ephesus,” 89-104; Averil Cameron, “The Cult of the Virgin in Late Antiquity Religious Development and Myth-Making,” 1-21; Richard M. Price, “Marian Piety and the Nestorian Controversy,” 3-8; D.F. Wright, “From ‘God-Bearer’ to ‘Mother of God’ in the Later Fathers,” 22-30; Luigi Gambero, “Patristic Intuitions of Mary’s Role as Mediatrix and Advocate: The Invocation of the Faithful for her Help,” 78-101. 18

188 on the role played by the Mother of God in the economy of salvation.” As Theotokos, Mary’s 20

proximity to God enabled her to have greater efficacy as a mediator. 21 The belief in Mary’s ability to mediate between her son and supplicants continued to spread in the early Eastern Church. Eastern Patriarch Germanus of Constantinople (c. 634-733) wrote extensively on Mary’s salvific power, praising her singular ability to deliver mercy and protect Christians from danger: “No one is saved except through you, O All-Holy. No one is delivered from evils except through you, O All-Chaste. No one obtains the grace of mercy except through you, O All-Honorable.” 22 Germanus believed that Mary was uniquely equipped to offer mercy and to protect Christians from any dangers that may befall them. Throughout the first millennium, the Orthodox Church produced the most prolific theological writers on Mary and practitioners of Marian devotion. 23 In the later Middle Ages, many of Germanus’s writings, including his sermons and his Historia Ecclesiastica were widely disseminated in the Western Church, as were many other Eastern sources that shaped the Western understanding of Mary as an intercessor. 24 While early Christian sources praised Mary’s salvific nature, it was not until centuries later that devotional materials affixed a title to Mary that placed her between her son and the Christians who sought her aid – mediatrix. Eighth-century theologian Paul the Deacon (c. 720Gambero, “Patristic Intuitions of Mary’s Role as Mediatrix and Advocate,” 78. The Council denounced Nestorius’ teaching that Mary gave birth to a man, not God. This belief was a fundamental component of Christian theology. 22 Expanding on this notion of Mary’s singular role, Germanus continued, “No one is filled with the knowledge of God except through you, all-holy One; no one is saved but through you, Mother of God; no one is free of danger but through you, Virgin Mother; no one is redeemed but through you, Mother of God; no one ever receives mercy graciously except through you, who have received God. Who fights on behalf of sinners as much as you do? Who pleads on behalf of those who need correction, and takes their part, as much as you do? ...You, whose power before God is that of a mother, bring superabundant forgives for those whose sins exceed all bounds.” Germanus of Constantinople, “First Homily on the Dormition,” On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies, Brian E. Daley ed. (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s, 1998), 146-147. 23 Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 184. 24 Ibid., 177. 20 21

799) was the first to write about this title and describe its implications for Christians:

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Then let us rejoice and be glad in Mary, for she is the faithful advocate of us all in heaven. Her Son is the Mediator between God and men; she is the Mediatrix between her Son and men. And, as befits the Mother of Mercy, she is most merciful. And she knows how to have compassion on human weakness, because she knows of what we are made. For this reason, she never ceases to intercede for us with her Son. 25 In writing about Mary’s assumption into heaven, Paul the Deacon notes that Mary acts on behalf of her supplicants and offers both maternal mercy, and most important, advocacy. 26 These themes would come to shape later medieval representations of Mary as an effective intercessor. Twelfth-century Marian devotees such as Bernard of Clairvaux praised Mary’s intercessory role and highlighted how she functioned as a mediator, who brought to Christ the pleas of her supplicants. In his second sermon on Advent, Bernard of Clairvaux viewed Mary as an advocate who would work with Christ to ensure the salvation of Christians: “Our Lady, our Mediatrix, our Advocate, reconcile us to your Son, commend us to your Son, represent us to your Son.” 27 Other intercessory titles that described Mary’s unique power, such as Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy), were popularized throughout different genres of medieval devotional sources. 28 The term Mater Misericordiae emerged in the Salve Regina antiphon in the thirteenth century, blending together Mary’s regal and maternal roles, indicating that her

Paul the Deacon, “Homily on the Assumption,” in Mary in the Middle Ages: The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Thought of Medieval Latin Theologians, 57. 26 This was also when prayers for Mary’s intercession with her Son began to appear in the liturgy. Clayton, Cult of the Virgin, 52-61. Rachel Fulton offers a concise explanation of some of the devotional writings and prayers in the Central and High Middle Ages that shaped the traditional construction of Mary as intercessor: a practice that stimulated the development of the idea of Maria Compatiens. Fulton, From Judgment to Passion, 204-243. 27 Bernard of Clairvaux, “Second Sermon for Advent,” quoted in Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, ed. Mark I. Miravalle (Goletta, CA: Queenship Publishing, 2008), 489. 28 Eamon Duffy notes that William Caxton’s fifteenth-century Middle English edition of The Golden Legend translates mater misericordie as “lady of mercy,” not “mother of mercy.” Eamon Duffy, “Mater Dolorosa, Mater Misericordiae,” New Blackfriars 69.816 (1988): 210-227. 25

merciful role tempered Christ’s judicial role.

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Recognizing Mary’s signal place in the landscape of salvation, many medieval Christians frequently uttered the Memorare prayer, asking the Virgin Mary for spiritual aid and protection, Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee I do come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despite not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen. 30 This popular petition reflected the prevalent medieval belief that Mary was an effective conduit between supplicants and Christ. Denys the Carthusian (1402-1471) wrote a devotional work in which Mary herself explained the origins of this role: “The omnipotent and merciful God has put all his mercies in my power. Therefore I am called the mother of mercy. For the gifts of graces and indulgences from the throne of the most blessed Trinity pass through my hands.” 31 Mary described herself as the key intercessor between God and humankind and viewed her role as both powerful and intricately linked with the Trinity. Medieval devotional sources used the terms mediatrix and mater misericoridiae almost interchangeably, and the supplicants who sought Mary’s intercession likely viewed these words as synonymous. As I discuss in the next section, Mary’s role as intercessor sparked much discussion among theologians, devotional authors, and compilers of miracle stories.

Words of Commendation and Condemnation: Mary Speaks to Her Supplicants Mary’s role as an intercessor had two key components: first, people prayed to her for aid,

Peters, Patterns of Piety, 60-61. The Memorare prayer was part of a longer late fifteenth-century prayer, Ad sanctitatis tuae pedes, dulcissima Virgo Maria. Thurston, Familiar Prayers, 160. 31 Denys the Carthusian, “Dialogus Mariae et Peccatoris,” trans. in Oakes, Ora Pro Nobis, 201. 29 30

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and then Mary interceded with either God the father or her son Jesus on their behalf. As

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Anselm of Canterbury describes the role, “The good mother prays and beseeches for us, she asks and pleads that he may hear us favorably.” 33 Both aspects of Mary’s intercession, the supplicant’s petition to Mary, and Mary’s pleading with Christ, implied that conversation occurred. Given those two components of Mary’s intercession, I will divide this section into two parts that focus on each kind of spiritual dialogue. This will call attention to the different representations of Mary as intercessor: she addressed supplicants with both support and stern criticism. Mary’s role as intercessor was not monolithic – she responded sometimes with compassion, other instances with retribution. Medieval miracle stories created two distinctive representations of Mary as an intercessor that existed simultaneously: these contrasting depictions underscored the broader idea that Mary often appealed to different components of Christian devotional practices. The emphasis on the divergent aspects of Mary’s role as intercessor serve to focus attention on the variable responses Mary provided to her petitioners.

Mary as Mother of Mercy to Her Supplicants Mary assuaged the worries of those who feared eternal damnation, including religious women whose narratives described their personal relationships with Mary as their motherintercessor. For example, Elisabeth of Schönau chronicled her visionary experiences extensively and devoted significant space to describing the personal relationship she had cultivated with

This was visually depicted by Mary opening her mantle, which enfolded her supplicants who sought to have their pleas delivered to Christ. Many devotional images illustrated Mary opening her mantle as a gesture of teaching, inviting her students inward to participate, welcoming her children back into their mother’s care. See Melissa R. Katz, “Marian Motion: Opening the Body of the Vierge Ouvrante,” in Meaning in Motion: Semantics of Movement in Medieval Art and Architecture, eds. Nino Zchomelidse and Giovanni Freni (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011): 63-91; Pelikan, Mary through the Centuries, 130-136. 33 The Prayers and Meditations of St Anselm, trans. Benedicta Ward (Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1986), 122. 32

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Mary. In the Liber Visionum Primus, Mary appeared before Elisabeth, which caused her to

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tremble in awe. Mary marked her with the sign of the cross, and while her lips moved without sound, Elisabeth inferred Mary’s reassuring words: “Do not fear, because these things will not harm you at all.” 35 Using both gesture and speech, Mary offered comfort to Elisabeth, the solace supplicants expected from Mary. It is not clear what Elisabeth had feared, yet Mary offered assurance to her. Although there are other instances in Elisabeth’s visions where Mary audibly speaks to her, even to offer criticism of her piety, in this example, it is as if Elisabeth intuits Mary’s calming words, noting she “implanted these words in my mind.” Less than a century later, Gertrude of Helfta (1256-1302) also wrote about her visions of Mary in Herald of Divine Love. Gertrude does not just record visions with Mary, but also describes discussion between Jesus and Mary. This second group of visions highlight Mary’s intercessory role. In one instance, Gertrude describes the dialogue that took place between them: The good Lord, taking pity on her timidity, himself charged his merciful mother, the august empress of heaven, to be a gracious mediatrix for her, so that whenever the weight of this adversity became more than she could bear, she could always have recourse to the Mother of mercies who, she knew, would come to her aid. 36 Gertrude’s observation is interesting because Christ identifies Mary as empress of heaven but charges Mary to occupy the role of intercessor in order to champion those who sought her aid. Elisabeth’s and Gertrude’s meditations exemplify a wider trend of Christians turning to Mary as both their spiritual mother and as the singular figure who can intercede on their behalf, referring to her as “comforter” and “consoler,” respectively. 37 Mary’s function as intercessor was not

Anne Clark, Elisabeth of Schönau: A Twelfth-Century Visionary (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992). 35 Elisabeth of Schönau, Liber Visionum Primus, 47. 36 Gertrude the Great, The Herald of Divine Love, trans. and ed. Margaret Winkworth (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), 156. 37 Sharon Elkins, “Gertrude the Great and the Virgin Mary,” Church History 66.4 (December 1997): 734. 34

monolithic: she was depicted as both firm and loving toward those who sought her aid. This

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depiction of Mary was so prevalent that it showed up in multiple genres of sources, such as visionary literature, as well as miracula, which I will now examine. Christians prayed to Mary to intercede on their behalf because they feared Christ’s judgment. Only Mary’s words and mercy could mitigate their dread. In his twelfth-century miracle collection, William of Malmesbury noted that Fulbert of Chartres, while gravely ill, feared Christ: “he had hope of her mercy, but was afraid of the judgment of her Son: though merciful and well-disposed, he is also truthful and just.” 38 This observation contrasts Mary and Christ: she was viewed as the dispenser of mercy, and he was the arbiter of justice. She was not just the Mother of God, but also mother of the saved. Supplicants sought to initiate personal relationships with their spiritual mother. 39 Appearing before Fulbert to lessen his worries, Mary said, “Do not be afraid, my Fulbert, do not be afraid. I, to whom you have so long given your service, will mediate between you and my Son.” 40 Mary proved that she could both mediate on their behalf and offer them maternal comfort and assurance. In addition to comforting those who feared eternal punishment and Christ’s wrath, Mary offered relief to the dying. Medieval Christians were preoccupied about the death and eternal rest of loved ones, as well their own place in the afterlife. 41 William of Malmesbury chronicled an instance when Mary appeared at a deathbed to comfort a gravely ill monk, assuring him, “I am the Mother of Mercy. So do not be afraid. At that hour I will come to you and receive you into “Ille, uultu Dominae agnito, de ipsius misericordia se sperare respondit, sed Filii eius iuditio timere, quod idem qui sit misericors et propitius sit uerax et iustus.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 37. 39 Books of Hours and rosaries functioned as popular devotional aids, which helped cultivate individual piety and promote personal relationships with the Virgin Mary. Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose, 24. 40 “Ne timeas, mi Fulberte, ne timeas, inquam. Ergo, cui tanto tempore detulisti obsequium, mediatrix ero inter te et Filium meum.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 37. 41 Philippe Ariès, Western Attitudes Towards Death: From the Middle Ages to the Present, trans. P.M. Rannum (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974). 38

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the joy of my son.” Here, Mary does not operates as a mediator but as a bridge to carry the

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dying to eternal rest in the kingdom of heaven and offers consolation to those who fear death. Supplicants not only took solace in Mary’s comforting words, but in her promise to the dying that she would show mercy. These examples demonstrate that Christians viewed Mary as the most effective intercessor who understood the landscape of the afterlife and could successfully mediate on the supplicants’ behalf to alleviate their eternal suffering. As the person closest to Christ, who shared a bodily connection with him, these miracle stories demonstrate that Christians believed Mary to be uniquely positioned to advocate to Christ on her supplicants’ behalf. While miracle stories by their design imply that intercession occurred, these particular sources craft Mary’s voice as an integral part of this mediating act. In one of the clearest explanations of her intercessory role, Mary appeared before a man who prayed for help because he was possessed by the devil. She emerged before him and uttered, “Know that your prayers have been heard by the Lord Jesus Christ, my son; do therefore what I counsel, and have yourself taken to my church, and there before my image plead for your recovery, and immediately you shall feel the virtue of divine aid,” which offers the supplicant assurance that Mary delivered his pleas to Christ directly (a subsequent section will explore stories that depict the verbal dialogue that ensues when Mary pleads with Christ). Herolt attributed the man’s recovery “by God’s help and the intercession of God’s mother.” 43 Ultimately, Mary’s intercession with Jesus was effective, and Herolt commended her role in saving the man from demonic possession. The Queen Mary Psalter offers both textual and visual evidence of how Christians

“Ego sum mater misericordiae. Ne ergo timeas, quia ad te hora illa ueniam et te in gaudium Filii mei suscipiam.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 62. 43 Johannes Herolt, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 58. 42

195 understood Mary’s role as intercessor. The fourteenth-century English psalter (later named for Mary I of England, who received it in 1553) includes a series of thirty-five Marian miracle stories, accompanied by marginal images that depicted Mary as intercessor. These images, which were created contemporaneously with the text, offer one of the most extensive series of images of Mary in this role. As Mary saves a man from drowning (Fig. 8), Christians prostrate themselves before her, revering the woman who was not just the Mother of God, but also their intercessor. 44

(Fig. 8) “Miracle of the Virgin,” Queen Mary Psalter, 1310-1320, MS Yates Thompson 13, fol. 214r. Public domain image provided by The British Library: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/welcome.htm The prayerful gesture reminds the audience that prayer to Mary included both verbal and physical components. Depicting Mary engaging with supplicants marked her “as a contemporary and earthly intercessor between humanity and her son.” 45 These images in the psalter supplement the text of the miracle stories and further emphasize Mary’s power.

Anne Rudloff Stanton, The Queen Mary Psalter: A Study of Affect and Audience (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2001). 45 Ibid., 51. 44

A Different Side of Mary’s Intercession: Mary’s Menacing Interventions

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As we have already seen, Mary’s intercession was neither passive nor consistently benevolent and was similar to a pastoral role, in that she administered the necessary treatment according to the individual’s behavior. 46 Early thirteenth-century preacher Héilinand of Froidment (1160-1229) described the contradictory nature of Mary’s intercession, noting that Mary offered mercy but also punished deviant behavior: “She is also the mother of grace, and for that reason able to soften the sinner swiftly, to influence the judge quickly, also to punish the obstinate speedily, when necessary.” 47 Mary often lessened Christians’ fear of Christ as judge, but sometimes she also needed to assuage their fear of her at the hour of their death. Mary addressed one supplicant who trembled in fear of her, as William of Malmesbury noted, “in a kind voice,” asking, “Why are you so afraid, considering that you have often spoken to me of joy? Do not panic, for you will suffer no evil; from now on you will share with me and my Son in the joy you used to sing of to me.” 48 Mary promises the supplicant that after he repents, both she and Christ will rejoice with him in heaven. Because of her assurance, the remorseful Christian no longer fears Mary. This episode emphasizes that supplicants sometimes feared Mary: both her power to recommend a punishment and her chastising voice. The merciful Mary disappears as she rebukes another supplicant, to the extent that William of Malmesbury noted that “her voice was harsh, and she was to all appearances far removed from her normal merciful self.” In reprimanding his behavior, Mary admonishes: “You must be made to understand quite

Mary’s diverging responses also call to mind Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, reject not the correction of the Lord: and do not faint when thou art chastised by him. For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth: and as a father in the son he pleaseth himself.” 47 Cited in Rubin, Mother of God, 155-156. Hélinand of Froidmont, “Sermones,” PL 212: col. 648. 48 “Cur tanto timore trepidas, qui totiens michi gaudium enuntiasti? Ne paueas, quia nil mali patieris, sed gaudii quod mihi precinebas amodo particeps mecum et cum Filio meo eris.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 75-76. 46

197 clearly how great an insult you are guilty of.” Mary’s condemnations underscored the severity 49

of the sinner’s actions and inspired a change in behavior. Mary did not always respond with loving compassion. William of Malmesbury praised the power of Mary’s words to lessen the sufferings of those who repent, remarking that Mary, “being happy to check offenders with a word and to mitigate the gravest offences by mere speech, was heard to say: ‘Enough, stop crying! When you return to yourself, you will show if you love me. Speed of conversion will be proof of love; punishment will attend the insolence of scorn.’” 50 Mary’s advocacy revealed the depths of her love as a spiritual mother as well as the heights of her power. As we saw in the introduction to the chapter, such examples revealed that Mary vacillated between kind and stern retorts, challenging supplicants “by mere speech” to quickly reform their behavior. Medieval authors were interested in these reported examples of Mary reprimanding supplicants, which pointed to her vengeful nature. Indeed, not all miracle stories framed Mary as a compassionate intercessor but instead portrayed her as a potent intermediary. Authors of miracle collections sought to explore this complicated portrait of a simultaneously merciful yet demanding intercessor. The next set of examples will focus on miracle stories that intentionally set out to justify and rationalize Mary’s varying behavior. In Caesarius of Heisterbach’s thirteenth-century Dialogue on Miracles, Mary appeared before a rector who dismissed a priest for his limited knowledge of particular prayers (despite his known acts of piety). Caesarius noted that, “She spoke to him severely” and threatened the rector, “If you do not at once restore him, I will take away from you the use of your tongue.” 51 Although Mary’s intimidating tone is uncharacteristic of the Mother of Mercy, the narrator

Ibid., 74. Ibid., 81. 51 Caesarius of Heisterbach, Dialogue on Miracles, 460. 49 50

198 justifies her firmer “methods,” remarking, “Although she is the Mother of Compassion she is not unmindful of the punishment of the unmerciful.” 52 As a result of Mary’s threat, the rector relented and restored the priest to the church. The didactic nature of Mary’s intervention underscored its moral effectiveness. 53 These miracles not only communicate Mary’s power, but they offer evidence of how her voice was used to ensure a change in behavior. Some of Mary’s more menacing interventions point to the power and influence of the language of vengeance in medieval sources. 54 These miracle stories stressed that Mary occasionally opted to intercede with an almost vindictive response to deviant behavior. 55 Despite the fact that both the Church and various kingdoms issued condemnations of the act of vengeance, this retaliatory behavior remained a prevalent societal concern in the later Middle Ages. 56 Not all retaliation was condemned, rather, this “violence (both physical and nonphysical) [was] driven by a sense of moral authority, and in certain cases divine approbation, against those who are believed to question that authority and/or approbation.” 57 Moreover, saintly retribution

Ibid., 462. Boyarin, Miracles of the Virgin, 16. 54 Kathleen A. Stewart, “Domina Misericordiae: Miracle Narratives and the Virgin Mary, 1130-1230,” Ph.D. diss. (University of California-Berkley, 2006). Outright malediction, negative or maledictory prophecy, and passive retaliatory judgment were all categories of saintly vengeance. Paul R. Hymans, “Introduction,” in Vengeance in the Middle Ages: Emotion, Religion and Feud, eds. Susanna Throop and Paul R. Hymans (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2010), 16; Barbara H. Rosenwein, “Les émotions de la vengeance,” in La Vengeance 400–1200, eds. Dominique Barthélemy, François Bougard, and Régine Le Jan (Rome: École française de Rome, 2006), 237–257. 55 Paul R. Hymans, “Neither Unnatural nor Wholly Negative: The Future of Medieval Vengeance,” in Vengeance in the Middle Ages, 203. 56 Herolt also includes a story describing a supplicant who sought vengeance against Mary herself. When a woman, known for her devotion to the Virgin Mary, discovered that a wolf carried her daughter off into the woods, in retaliation, she stole an image of Christ from a nearby chapel and cried out, “Never, lady, shall you have your Son back again, unless you restore my daughter to me.” By Mary’s miraculous intervention, the daughter was returned unharmed, and the mother said, “Because you restored my daughter to me, I shall restore your Son to you.” Johannes Herolt, Miracles of the Virgin, 32-33. This is one of the strangest accounts in the collection, as the mother threatens to avenge her daughter’s death. Mary does not issue any harsh condemnation or encourage the mother to perform any acts of penance. Unlike most of the Marian vengeance miracles, where she has the upper hand, Mary acts in response to the mother’s demands. 57 The three terms used in medieval sources that encapsulate this sentiment are vindicta, ultio and venjance. These terms were used both to describe secular and sacred retaliatory responses. Susanna A. Throop, “Acts of Vengeance, 52 53

199 was a characteristic often featured in vitae and miracula when the saint’s reputation was slighted; therefore Mary’s reaction would have been perceived as appropriate in this particular hagiographical context. 58 In order to affirm support for Mary’s castigations, Herolt and other miracula authors explained the basis for Mary’s admonishments. Addressing an abbess who had died having lost her virginity, Mary expressed her disappointment, “For thou hast sinned exceedingly in deserting me and my Son…and hast provoked me to great anger. For he who despises my Son dishonors me much.” 59 Just like a disapproving mother whose child failed to heed her warnings, Mary’s rebuke indicated her anger. Nonetheless, maintaining the role of forgiving mother and mediator, she promised that if the abbess prayed to her, Mary would intercede and save her. The abbess did so accordingly. Mary was an effective advocate, but also reprimanded supplicants to transform their behavior when they failed her. Many miracle stories upend traditional expectations of Mary by emphasizing contradictory characteristics of her persona. Because they described Mary as both vengeful and merciful, such contradictory characterizations required further explanation. The twelfth-century introduction to the French Rocamadour miracle collection anticipates the readers’ reaction to Mary’s fickle behavior, and notes, “She cures those she wants. She takes hold of and frees those she wants. She fills those she wants with all goodness and enriches them with knowledge.” 60

Acts of Love: Crusading Violence in the Twelfth Century,” in War and Literature, eds. Laura Ashe, Ian Patterson (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2014), 8. 58 The medieval miracle stories of Saint Foy of Conques, the third-century martyr, offer many examples of saintly retribution (a topic to be discussed in further detail in this dissertation’s conclusion). See Stephen D. White, “Garsinde v. Sainte Foy: Argument, Threat, and Vengeance in Eleventh-Century Monastic Litigation,” in Religious and Laity in Northern Europe, 1000-1400: Interaction, Negotiation, and Power, ed. Janet Burton and Emilia Jamroziak (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 169-181. 59 Johannes Herolt, Miracles of the Virgin, 95. 60 The Miracles of Our Lady of Rocamadour: Analysis and Translation, trans. Marcus Bull (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 1999), 97.

This observation emphasizes Mary’s variability about how she chooses to intercede. But the

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author quickly defends Mary’s seemingly vindictive behavior, But what am I saying? Those she wants? Surely she wants everyone to be saved? Surely she does not choose one person and neglect another? How can she appear hard of heart to one person and soft to someone else? My answer is that she is only hard toward the indolent, whereas she is always gentle in turning her gentle eyes towards sinners who have not yet been converted. 61 This answer attempts to rationalize Mary’s unpredictable behavior, noting that Mary acted with such severity only towards those who did not live piously. Moreover, it appears that as intercessor, she exerted some autonomy over Christ in her position. This issue underlines the need to explore examples of intercessory dialogue between Christ and Mary to evaluate Mary’s perceived independent role.

“I cannot deny thee anything”: Mary’s Verbal Challenges to Christ’s Authority The most traditional depictions of Mary petitioning to Christ on behalf of her supplicants showed that Christ was willing to hear Mary’s petitions and quickly acquiesce to her pleas. For example, the Vernon manuscript, a late fourteenth-century English compendium of religious poetry and prose, includes a versified miracle known as “The Harlot’s Prayer,” in which Mary articulates her plea to Christ without much rebuttal from him. The supplicant imagines the joint apparition of Mary and Christ. She entreats him to decree a lesser sentence, Son, for thy friends’ sake, Whatever sins this enemy has made Forgive immediately with thy mercy As thou art Lord God Almighty, And also, son, for the love of me, Her sins I pray forgiven be. 62 Ibid., 98. “The Harlot’s Prayer,” from the Vernon Manuscript in Miracles of the Virgin in Middle English, ed. and trans. Adrienne Williams Boyarin (Ontario: Broadview Press, 2015), 68-69.

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201 Mary’s plea is described as mild-mannered (“With mild words, plain and simple”). She urges Christ to show mercy, and in this instance, Christ does not require much convincing, responding, My sweet mother, my dear nursemaid, Your prayer must be granted, whatever you want. I will not deny you. 63 This example follows the more traditional model of presenting Mary and Christ together. A marginal drawing from the Queen Mary Psalter (Fig. 9) offers a visual example of this: the supplicant (Theophilus) prostrates himself before Mary and the Christ Child as they sit atop a throne to hear the petitions. 64

(Fig. 9) “Theophilus seeking aid from the Virgin,” MS Yates Thompson 13 fol. 204v, 13101320, Queen Mary Psalter, Public domain image provided by The British Library: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/welcome.htm The posture of Mary and Jesus is very similar to images of Mary as Sedes Sapientiae, perhaps in an effort to connect Mary’s wisdom with her power to intercede on behalf of supplicants. “The Harlot’s Prayer,” from the Vernon Manuscript in Miracles of the Virgin in Middle English, 69. Virginia Reinburg, “Hearing Lay People’s Prayer,” in Culture and Identity in Early Modern Europe (1500-1800): Essays in Honor of Natalie Zemon Davis, ed. Barbara B. Diefendorf and Carla Hesse (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), 31-34.

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202 St. Birgitta of Sweden (1303-1373), who recounted several distinct visionary experiences of Mary, provided specific details about intercessory dialogue between Christ and Mary while they discussed a particular supplicant’s eternal fate. In one of her visions, Birgitta noted that Christ praised his mother’s unique mediating capacity: “Ask of me whatever you please, nothing shall be refused and all sinners who implore mercy through your intercession will sure obtain it, if they have a firm resolution to amend.” 65 Christ affirms Mary’s comprehensive ability to advocate for all who seek to make amends for their behavior. Mary then explains the petitions of this supplicant and requests that Christ commute the supplicant’s sentence while suffering in purgatory. She asks Christ to show mercy but maintains the importance of his role as judge: “I ask not that he should at this moment be delivered from any other pains he endures; for I know the laws of Thy justice, and cannot go beyond the limits prescribed by Thy mercy.” 66 Similar to other examples, Christ replies that he can never refuse to acquiesce to his mother’s requests. Birgitta’s vision reflects the prevailing belief that although Christ was powerful in his role in determining the eternal fate of supplicants, he still yielded to his mother’s appeals. Mary’s pleas swayed Christ’s opinion: she was not completely subordinated to the Son of God. It is worth noting that this miracle story addressed the role and place of purgatory. The questions about what constituted purgatory and the means to shorten one’s stay in this intermediary place both perplexed and intrigued Christians. Some miracle stories referred to Mary as the Queen of Purgatory. 67 Although many miracle stories did not reference purgatory

Birgitta of Sweden, Birgitta of Sweden: Life and Selected Revelations, trans. Albert Ryle Kezel (New York: Paulist Press, 1990), 43. 66 Ibid., 43. 67 Since purgatory had little basis in scripture, it ultimately produced a number of competing images in Christian devotional sources. Jacques Le Goff dated the rise of the concept of purgatory as a spatial concept between 117065

203 specifically, the stories implied that Mary understood the spatial hierarchy and the divine order of the cosmos and that Mary’s power extended into purgatory. As nebulous as the framework of death was, Mary’s efficacy as an intercessor served as a stable constant, with her voice as the connecting force that stretched from earth to heaven. While these examples focus on Mary’s key intercessory role, presenting Mary and Christ together reminds the audience that Mary’s mediation is only possible through Christ. While this example was part of the larger tradition of presenting Mary and Christ as a unit who together offered mercy, it is also worth exploring miracle stories that indicated that Christians were often more comfortable praying to Mary instead of Christ. Mary’s mediating role was so powerful that some viewed her intercessory abilities as separate from Christ’s power. In the prologue to the second book in his miracle collection, William of Malmesbury observes that in some cases, supplicants ignored Christ entirely and directly sought intercession from Mary, In fact, confident devotees, hastily but piously, pass by the name of her omnipotent Son, so much so that they think He is not needed when His Mother has been invoked, not because she is in herself more powerful than her offspring, but because she is (so to speak), closer than Him and nearer their level…By her power, she can, thanks to her power over her son, wrest from Him whatever she pleases by a sweet violence. By her clemency, she pities the pitiable; she is so distinguished for it that she positively glories in being known as the Mother of Mercy. 68 1200 and referred to in sources as purgatorium. Jacques Le Goff, Birth of Purgatory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984). However, some have questioned this chronology, arguing that beliefs related to Purgatory predated the twelfth century. George Dameron, “Purgatory and Modernity,” Bridging the Medieval-Modern Divide: Medieval Themes in the World of the Reformation, ed. James Muldoon (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013); Clive Burgess, “‘Longing to be prayed for’: Death and Commemoration in an English Parish in the Later Middle Ages,” in The Place of the Dead: Death and Remembrance in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, eds. Bruce Gordon and Peter Marshall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 44-65; Alan Bernstein, “Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: 1100-1500,” The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume IV: Christianity in Western Europe, c. 1100-c.1500, eds. Miri Rubin and Walter Simons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 200-216; Graham Edwards, “Purgatory: Birth or Evolution?” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 36 (1985): 634-646; Brian McGuire, “Purgatory, the Communion of Saints, and Medieval Change,” Viator 20 (1989): 61-84; Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 338-376; George R. Keiser, “The Progress of Purgatory: Visions of the Afterlife in Late Medieval English Literature,” Analecta Cartusiana 107 (1987): 72-100. 68 “Preterit quin etiam omnipotentis Filii eius nomen preceps sed pia uocantum fidutia, adeo ut uideatur eo non egeri ubi mater fuerit appellate: non quod ipsa sit sua prole potentior, sed quod sit, ut ita dicam, propinquior et

204 This passage suggests that Mary was uniquely positioned to override Christ and wield power over him. It appears to be a role-reversal: Mary’s authority enables her to determine how to intercede on behalf of her supplicants. However, William does not view this as a slight to Christ but rather, as a testament to Mary’s distinctive ability to offer mercy to Christians. During the late Middle Ages, an age that witnessed the apex of Mary’s power and impact on Christian spirituality, many authors composed devotional sources about Mary’s intercession that play with the conventional hierarchy of Christ’s sovereignty over Mary. Gertrude of Helfta also offered a compelling interpretation of what the mediating relationship between Mary and Christ looked like. In a stark reversal of roles, Gertrude prayed to Christ to intercede on her behalf to Mary and revealed in her visionary apparition that “The Son of God arose and most reverently went to kneel before his Mother; bowing his head, he saluted her most courteously and affectionately, so that she could not but be pleased with the homage of one whose imperfections were so abundantly made up for by her most beloved Son.” 69 Unconventionally, Christ uses reverential postures to supplicate to his mother and pay homage, noting, “It is this kind of salutation or praise of my beloved mother, directed more to me than to herself which is the most agreeable to her.” 70 This non-traditional approach upended expectations of Mary as the intermediary figure between supplicants and Christ. However, Sharon Elkins, one of the leading scholars on Gertrude of Helfta, does not view this role-reversal as controversial, “Gertrude’s visions never caused her to challenge the official belief that Mary ranked below Christ, but in the world of Gertrude’s visions, Mary’s subordinate position had summissior…Per potentiam iure quo potest in Filium dulcique uiolentia extorquet quicquid fuerit placitum per clementiam miseretur miseris, qua ita insignis est ut ultro glorietur se misericordiae matrem dici.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 70. 69 Gertrude the Great, The Herald of Divine Love, 185. 70 Ibid., 186.

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little impact. Christ ranked higher in the heavenly hierarchy, yet he placated her.” Although

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Gertrude’s vision was not heretical, it still pointed to clear discrepancies regarding Christ’s supremacy over Mary. These narratives praised Mary’s verbal effectiveness in persuading Christ to change his mind. Ultimately, examining these cases reveals a shifting power dynamic between the Mother of Mercy and Son of Judgment. Miracle stories, visionary narratives, and even liturgical dramas provided different means of highlighting the process of Mary’s intercession. In the fifteenth-century “Assumption of the Virgin” pageant in the York Corpus Christi Cycle, Mary describes her intercessory role to Thomas. Thomas, the apostle who required Mary’s girdle as proof of her bodily assumption, listened carefully as Mary explained how all Christians can request her mediation: And in sight of my Son seated there Shall I kneel to the crown comely That whoever despairs or is in danger, With pitiful laments in danger will pray to me; If he toils or sweats, in sickness or in swooning, I shall beg to my sovereign Son for to say me He shall grant them their grace Be it man in his mourning Or woman in childbirth All these to be helping That prince shall I pray in that place. 72 Performed in an era when Mary’s intercessory role factored into Christian devotional materials and shaped medieval spirituality, Mary delineates the stages of intercession, noting that that she welcomed all kinds of people to ask her for mercy. Moreover, she assured her supplicants that she would kneel before Christ to bring their pleas to him on their behalf. Mary acknowledges that while she encourages supplicants to come to her with their “perils,” Christ will ultimately be the one to mitigate these dangers. These remarks suggest to me that this explanation was crafted 71 72

Elkins, “Gertrude the Great and the Virgin Mary,” 725. York, “Assumption of the Virgin (Thomas Apostolus),” lines 185-195.

206 to alleviate any potential concern that some Christians opted to bypass praying to Christ in favor of Mary. Although there are not explicit concerns about this role-reversal, such comments point to an implicit unease about Mary’s perceived authority over Christ. Ultimately, the Assumption pageant, performed in a public setting as part of the larger Corpus Christi cycle, clarifies the process of intercession and informs Christians what they could expect from the Mother of Mercy. Across numerous devotional genres, medieval authors sought to offer descriptions of what it looked like when Mary brought the pleas of supplicants to Christ. Herolt’s fifteenth-century miracle collection provided colorful stories that described Mary’s ability to encourage her Son to hand down a merciful sentence. One priest seeking supplication imagined Christ and Mary in dialogue over a priest’s eternal fate. In describing Mary’s endeavor to convince Christ to lessen his punishment, the priest noted that Mary “entreated him (Christ) with much supplication to put away His wrath and spare the world.” 73 Unwilling to commute his sentence, Christ replied, “Mother, the whole world lies in wickedness and so vexes me with its sins that I ought not to hold my wrath or spare mankind.” Demonstrating her far-reaching sway over her son, Mary urged him to diminish the punishment, “Beloved Son, if not for those wicked men’s sake yet at least for my loved ones.” 74 She was ultimately effective in changing Christ’s mind, as he yielded to her request. Praise for Mary as intercessor “emphasized her role bringing humans to God, thus undergirding Christ’s role as mediator.” 75 In this eloquent plea, Mary possesses the authority to change Christ’s mind. She invoked her authority to advocate for those in need of spiritual aid, just as a mother would try to protect her children from the dangers of the world. This miracle delineated how Mary articulated Johannes Herolt, Miracles of the Virgin, 27. Ibid., 27. 75 Andrea Janelle Dickens, The Female Mystic: Great Women Thinkers of the Middle Ages (London: I.B. Tauris, 2009), 16-17. 73 74

207 her role as intercessor in relationship to her son, citing maternal authority as justification for this unique and formidable role. Mary’s intervention has a decisive outcome on the fate of Christians who prayed to her for help. The dialogue in these stories functioned to illuminate how Mary worked as a mediator. By describing the petitions in such detail, these miracle stories highlighted Mary’s singular role as an integral participant in the salvation of the world. Throughout his miracle collection, Herolt emphasizes Mary’s ability to tip the scales of justice, as she implored her son to give a milder sentence. In one case, as Mary sought to supersede Christ’s judgment, she reminded him, “remember, beloved, that you did receive of my substance, visible, tangible and sensible substance; give to me one drop of Thy blood shed for sinners in thy compassion.” Acknowledging her influence over him, Jesus acquiesced, “It is impossible to deny thee anything. Receive therefore thy request.” 76 In order to impact Christ’s decision about the fate of the repentant sinner, Mary reminds him of their corporal connection and emphasizes his obligation to honor his mother’s request. Like in other examples, Christ does not deny Mary’s requests, yet he does hesitate to immediately yield to her plea. This conversation indicates that Mary’s intercessory role was intimately tied to Christ. Mary was not a passive secondary figure, but had an integral role in determining the eternal destination of those who prayed to her. The verbal exchange between mother and son demonstrates that Christian supplicants recognized her as a skilled negotiator who was able to intercede effectively on their behalf. 77 This idea became a popular visual motif in the fourteenth century, depicting Mary’s

Johannes Herolt, Miracles of the Virgin, 77. Similarly, Richard of St. Laurence (d. 1250), in his De Laudibus Beatae Mariae Virginis, notes that Mary’s mediation not only derives from her maternity, but claims that Mary can “give orders” to Christ because of her maternal authority and influence the eternal location of souls. Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 234.

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208 intercessory power in the Psychostasis, or the weighing of the souls upon one’s death. In these 78

images, Mary pressed down upon the scales of judgment in order to advocate for mercy instead of a just punishment. Together, the narrative materials and visual images support the medieval belief that Mary could uniquely influence Christ’s pronouncement of the fate of supplicants. Some miracle stories do not record the intercessory dialogue between Mary and Christ, but instead describe Mary’s apparition to her supplicant, which indicated that Christ has heard his prayers. 79 In Herolt’s collection, one Cistercian who allegedly “gave occasion for scandal to many,” prayed to Mary for intercession. She appeared to him while holding the Christ child in her arms. The Cistercian saw her “supplicating the Son on his behalf,” and Mary begged for forgiveness on behalf of the priest, but the child turned his face away from Mary, as if “in resistance to her.” Just like a typical mother holding an infant, Mary shifted Jesus’s position, “to bring kind looks into his face.” Again, he struggled, “as his Mother many times pleaded with him to soften his unwillingness, at last the loving Mary prevailed over her Son and won him to countenance the man’s redemption.” 80 Christ was visibly resistant to saving this Cistercian, and presumably it was only through Mary’s persistent pleas that he yielded, signifying the sway Mary had over him. Instances like this establish that Mary persuaded Christ using both words and gestures. Using her voice to debate and successfully intercede, Mary functioned as an advocate who saved Christians. Medieval authors carefully documented the reception of Mary’s voice – acknowledging its resonance and impact on those who prayed to her. Marian devotees 78 Catherine Oakes discusses how the Marian Psychostatis motif proliferated in both medieval iconography and devotional literature. In the Gothic period, the Psychostatis was part of the Last Judgment, often seen in the tympanum of churches and cathedrals, which depicted Mary praying for intercession. Oakes, Ora Pro Nobis, 143161. See also Peters, Patterns of Piety, 66-74. 79 Johannes Herolt, Miracles of the Virgin, 58. 80 Ibid., 72-73.

recognized that her effective words helped to determine their place in the afterlife. These

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transcribed conversations signified that Christians sought to build a relationship with Mary: they connected to her as their spiritual mother through conversation. Such examples of Mary’s engaging speech further affirm that Mary was not a passive mediatrix, but an active intercessor who operated between heaven and earth. Significantly, however, Mary not only served as a mediating figure between Christ and humankind, but also descended into hell to save Christians from damnation. The next section builds upon the theme of Mary’s intercessory voice and explores its deployment in her related role as Empress of Hell – a role that initially would seem to contradict her role as liaison between heaven and earth, but which reflected Mary’s tremendous influence in the bowels of hell in a similar manner.

“(S)he descended into Hell”: Mary as Empress of Hell It would be nearly impossible to discuss Mary’s role in heaven without considering her influence in hell: the terrifying place that awaited the damned. 81 Although Jesus did not fully outline the nature of heaven and hell, his preaching indicated that two opposing kingdoms were part of the afterlife. In describing who was fit for the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 25:31-46), Christ warned that those who did not live according to his teachings would “enter into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” The Apocalypse of Peter and The Apocalypse of Paul, both written in approximately the first half of the second century, offer the earliest extant Christian apocalyptic visions of hell, mapping the afterlife in a way that shaped Christian thinking for centuries. By the later Middle Ages, the Christian understanding of hell came to

Alan Bernstein, The Formation of Hell: Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993); Alice K. Turner, The History of Hell (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1993); Matthew Ryan Hauge, The Biblical Tour of Hell (New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013).

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210 inform devotional literature, particularly as many aspects of Christian piety were shaped toward escaping eternal damnation. The numerous devotional materials that praised Mary’s roles as Queen of Heaven and intercessor establish that Christians understood Mary’s power to be evident both on earth and in heaven. 82 Moreover, it was believed that Mary’s extensive sovereign kingdom extended over hell. Although mediatrix and Empress of Hell are two distinct positions, Mary’s activities in each role are often surprisingly similar to one another. Before unpacking Mary’s role as Empress of Hell, I will briefly address the theological and devotional materials that provide a framework for this position. In addressing Mary’s pervasive ability to intercede, some medieval theologians acknowledged that Mary’s widespread influence reached even down to hell. St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) praised the scope of Mary’s power to save the condemned from hell and bring them to heaven: “O woman marvelously unique and uniquely marvelous through whom the elements are renewed, hell is redeemed, the demons are trampled under foot, humanity is saved, and angels are restored.” 83 His remarks reflected the common belief that Mary was capable of not just bringing souls into heaven, but also conquering evil. Blessed Amadeus of Lausanne (1110-1159), who was one of the most prolific twelfth-century Cistercian preachers on Mary, addressed Mary’s power to save souls from eternal damnation: “She willingly welcomes the prayers of them all, and of all those who implore her from the depths of whatever tribulation, and, beseeching her Son, she mercifully banishes all evil from them.” 84 Mary’s power enabled her to expel evil from those who repented. Conrad of Saxony also praised this idea in his

Pelikan, Mary Through the Centuries, 131. The Prayers and Meditations of Saint Anselm, trans. Benedicta Ward (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1973), 119-120. See also Atria Larson, “Passive Instrument and Active Intercessor: Anselm’s View of Mary’s Role in Redemption,” Cistercian Studies Quarterly 41 (2006): 32-50. 84 Amadeus of Lausanne, Homilia 8, De Mariae Virginis plenitudine, PL 188, 1344D-1345A. 82 83

Speculum Beatae Mariae Virginis, noting Mary’s power over the demons of hell: “You are a

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wonderful warrior, every soldier of the evil spirits is put to flight before your face.” 85 He frames Mary as a militant warrior who was equipped to save souls from damnation and combat demonic forces. Mary’s intercession enabled Christians to “escape the darkness of hell” (“inferni tenebras euadere”): an idea reflected in devotional writings, images, and even papal writings on Mary. 86 Although the title Empress of Hell was not a central issue in Marian theological writing, Pope Honorius III (r. 1216-1227) was interested enough in this unique Marian role that he addressed Mary’s power against the devil in his Second Sermon for the Feast of the Assumption. Here, Pope Honorius imagined Mary’s voice in a powerful manner during a battle fought to rescue souls from hell: For the demons, Blessed Mary was terrible as an army arrayed for battle because, descending to visit some souls and bring them back with her to the Kingdom, she advanced with a multitude of angels and with the choirs of the holy virgins. Then the supernatural virtues exclaimed: “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising?’ And she immediately replied, “I came down into the garden of nuts, to see the fruits of the valleys’ (Canticles, 6.10). It as if she said: do not marvel, for if I am terrible as an army arrayed for battle in my Assumption, when I descended too, I am terrible for my enemies. 87 It was rare for a pope to write so extensively about Mary: to do so by imagining Mary commanding power in hell is remarkable. It was conventional to envision Mary bringing souls to heaven, rather than descending into the underworld to fight the devil. However, Pope Honorius frames Mary as the powerful leader of a spiritual army who could overpower her enemies. Miracle collections would explore this idea at length as they framed Mary as a skilled warrior Conrad of Saxony, Speculum Beatae Mariae Virginis, trans. Campion Murray as The Angel’s Greeting to Mary, in Franciscan Friars: Province of the Holy Spirit [accessed 10 July 2016]. 86 The Book of Cerne and the Book of Nunnaminster, two late eighth century and early ninth century Marian compositions, respectively, used this phrase to describe the extensive range of Mary’s power. Clayton, The Cult of the Virgin in Anglo-Saxon England, 96-10. 87 Pope Honorius III, “Second Sermon for the Feast of the Assumption,” trans. Brian K. Reynolds, Gateway to Heaven, 226-227. 85

who successfully vanquished the devil.

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Analysis of the following narrative texts indicates that as Empress of Hell, Mary was a formidable opponent who upended expectations of her behavior as consistently merciful. The bulk of my evidence comes from miracle stories, along with some related visual images. Both illustrate a widespread interest in her intercessory roles and complicate the portrait of Mary as Empress of Hell. I examine three components of Mary’s role in hell. The first element is the harrowing of hell: instances when Mary descends into the underworld to free Christians from eternal damnation. Next, I analyze a series of miracle stories: different retellings of the famous Theophilus legend where Mary serves as an effective advocate and helps a repentant man break his contract with the devil. Finally, I evaluate a series of examples where Mary is engaged in heated dialogue with the devil, demonstrating her power over her “worst enemy” and her ability to surpass him in both verbal and physical strength. Together, these three components corroborate the medieval belief that Mary was not only an advocate, able to offer Christians the promise of heaven, but through her most powerful weapon, her voice – she could exercise autonomous authority to free them from hell.

Harrowing of Hell Continental stories in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries framed Mary as a powerful sovereign who could usurp the devil’s power. This particular representation of Mary became increasingly popularized with the title “Empress of Hell” in fourteenth-century Middle English carols, plays, devotional works, miracle stories, and the like. 88 As Empress of Hell, Mary had the special power to save souls from damnation. While many saints were certainly invoked to offer 88

Oakes, Ora Pro Nobis, 172.

protection, the ability to free a soul from hell was limited to a much narrower scope of

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intercessors. Similar to Christ’s Harrowing of Hell, Mary descended into hell to free wayward Christians from the devil’s clutches. 89 Mary uses her position as Empress of Hell to stress the horrors that await errant sinners and to persuade them to alter their behavior. The ensuing cases underscore how she used her voice to intimidate both sinners and demonic forces. The late thirteenth/early fourteenth-century Gesta Romanorum, translated into Middle English and printed by fifteenth-century English printer Wynken de Worde, includes a few Marian miracles that intimate that Mary’s sovereignty extended to the depths of hell. In one example, Mary uses her power as Empress of Hell to free a couple who were wrongfully placed in the stocks. The couple invoked Mary to aid them in their distress. Appearing before them, Mary assures them, “Because you prayed to me for help and called me empress over hell, I will show you the power I have over hell. I shall set two devils in the stocks in your place and return you home again without slander and shame.” 90 Mary’s remark suggests that she has the power to descend into hell and to swap demons into the stocks, thus freeing the couple. Moreover, this action occurs not through her role as intercessor, but instead, as Empress of Hell. Although this example implies that Mary descended into the underworld, her power does not derive from her voice. In this instance, her sheer power overshadows what she actually says. However, other miracle stories provide more colorful illustrations of Mary’s harrowing of hell. More importantly, other examples highlight how Mary uses her voice as a weapon to protect Christians from the threat of demonic forces. Margaret Toscano, “Plucking Sinners Out of Hell,” in Hell and its Afterlife: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, eds. Isabel Moreia and Margaret Toscano (New York: Routledge, 2016), 39-52; Martha Himmelfarb, Tours of Hell: An Apocalyptic Form in Jewish and Christian Literature (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985). The story of the harrowing of hell originates from the Gospel of Nicodemus, which describes Christ’s power to vanquish the underworld. The earliest extant reference to this within the Apostles’ Creed comes from fifth-century Gaul. 90 “The Virgin Puts Devils in the Stocks,” in Devils, Women, and Jews: Reflections of the Other in Medieval Sermon Stories, ed. Joan Young Gregg (Albany: SUNY Press, 2014), 163. 89

One of the earliest textual examples of Mary’s descent into hell comes from a twelfth-

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century miracle collection in France. The shrine at Rocamadour housed one of the largest Marian shrines in France and drew pilgrims en masse to see the Black Madonna. This anonymous collection, written between 1172-1173, includes numerous vengeance miracles, where Mary punishes errant Christians. While as much as a quarter of the miracles in this collection feature Mary as implacable, only one example supplies Mary with a punishing voice, perhaps an indication that this was still an experimental rhetorical tool to describe Mary. This example casts her as an authority figure equipped to encounter the depths of the underworld and frighten sinners into changing their behavior. 91 Unlike her role as mediatrix, when Mary’s appearance was typically prompted through personal petitions, Mary appeared on her own accord as Empress of Hell. In one example, Philip, an Italian knight, reportedly mocked pilgrims en route to the shrine at Romcamadour, on the grounds that there were no great sites to venerate Mary outside of Italy. But as he lay awake at night, and a swarm of demons appeared before him, Philip feared death, and experienced a divine vision: “The Virgin of Virgins appeared, more fierce-looking than usual. She had a wooden switch in her hand.” Hooking it around the knight’s neck and tugging at him, she intimidates him thus: Follow me to my house at Rocamadour. Otherwise you will not escape from the demons’ assault. Look at the demons’ raging. They will vent their malice on you if they are allowed to. They are ready to spill innocent blood; they seize souls and subject them to agonizing tortures; they are not happy unless they are committing There have been some historiographical investigations about a level of violence that is apparent within some of these miracle collections. See Carolyn Walker Bynum, “Violent Imagery in Late Medieval Piety,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 30 (Spring 2002): 3-36; Michael Goodich, Violence and Miracle in the Fourteenth Century: Private Grief and Public Salvation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). More pertinent to this discussion, Michael Carroll addresses the phenomenon of the vengeful Mary beginning in the fifteenth century. His sweeping survey shows that this has been a popular Italian motif for the past five centuries, but he neglects to consider this trend as having earlier medieval antecedents. Michael P. Carroll, Madonnas that Maim: Popular Catholicism in Italy Since the Fifteenth Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). 91

evil; and they rejoice in the wickedest of deeds. The downfall of the good causes them joy. They are unjust and worthless adversaries who rush to devour those whom they find unarmed and unprotected. 92

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This blood-curdling speech suggests that Mary had a comprehensive understanding of hell and the different demonic forces that awaited those who do not recant. This visionary experience offered a virtual descent into hell. Mary proceeded to explain in great detail the horrifying prospects that Philip could expect if he continued to mock pilgrims. Moreover, Mary uses imaginative language to describe the depths of the underworld and the different kinds of tortures that demons employ: With them there is sorrow and fear, a foul stench and weeping. Theirs is a stinking workshop which both burns and consumes the cold and freezes the hot with ice more severe than found in winter. To each is rendered according to his actions and proportionate to his wickedness; indeed, they get more than the wicked ways of men deserve. 93 While it was a popular motif in medieval Christian literature to offer a preview of hell, it was innovative to position Mary as the tour guide of the underworld. Mary offers many gruesome details that both illuminate the world of hell and bolster the idea that her influence reached the depths of hell. She concludes by emphasizing that the most abhorrent behaviors received proportionate punishments, implying that Philip’s mocking words fit into this category. Similar to the examples in Chapter Two when Mary reprimanded supplicants who prayed incorrectly, this story continues a larger medieval pattern of positioning Mary as the effective correctrix of improper speech. 94 Here, Mary took issue with Philip openly mocking pilgrims en route to Rocamadour. Although later medieval devotional materials were rife with vivid illustrations of the underworld, this twelfth-century example offers an early and well-developed understanding

The Miracles of Our Lady of Rocamadour, 144. Ibid., 144. 94 See Chapter Two for more on this subject. 92 93

of hell. Moreover, the monologue indicates that Mary serves as an effective protector and

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guardian to those facing eternal damnation. Following this terrifying warning, Philip took heed of Mary’s threat. In response to his improved behavior, “straight away the gentle and delightful Virgin warned off the evil angels, and they disappeared.” During this process, the author observes that Mary transformed from acting “more terrifying than usual” to “gentle and delightful.” In the first part of the story, Mary’s voice frightens the knight into changing his behavior, and then, she uses her power to banish the demons. Both her appearance and words are intimidating and persuasive and reflect the late medieval concern with the prospect of eternal damnation. 95 These examples illustrate a trend in miracle stories to depict Mary’s descent into hell to advocate for supplicants. In doing so, she articulated the dangers of hell, both for those tricked by demonic forces and those on the precipice of damnation. An examination of the later medieval Theophilus legends will deepen our journey into hell. Analyzing different iterations of this legend will establish how Mary used her voice as a weapon to free one of Christianity’s most famous penitent sinners from a contract with the devil.

Breaking a Deal with the Devil: Revisions of the Theophilus Legend Although some later medieval narratives chronicled stories of contemporary people who benefited from Mary’s intercession, other miracle collections rewrote old stories, including the Theophilus legend. Dating back to the sixth century, the Theophilus legend was one of the oldest

Although the Rocamadour collection only includes one example where Mary uses her voice as her instrument of power, many of the miracles in this particular collection highlight the more vengeful actions of Mary. These miracles also show that Mary is quick to punish those who break their vows of pilgrimage. This series of miracles reveal surprising characteristics about Mary. She often grows impatient and frustrated with her supplicants, contrary to the compassionate and mild descriptions of Mary that typify many twelfth-century Marian miracle stories.

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217 and frequently rewritten Marian miracle stories. This proto-Faustian legend described a cleric 96

who made a pact with the devil after failing to earn the position of archbishop in Adana and renounced Christ and Mary in a contract written in his own blood. Recognizing the error of his ways, Theophilus, in an effort to break the contract, sought Mary’s aid to overturn the agreement. Mary was successful in advocating on behalf of Theophilus and tore up the contract. Mary’s power in both heaven and hell enabled her to triumph over the devil and successfully break the agreement. 97 Revised and transformed since the early Middle Ages, initial iterations of this legend offered only succinct descriptions of Mary’s intercession, and focused more on Theophilus’s contrition. However, the legend took on new life beginning in the twelfth-century, as different versions were found in sermons, devotional materials, and miracle collections. 98 Several Middle English miracle collections reshaped the Theophilus legend, which I argue was part of a deliberate effort to promote Mary’s efficacy as an intercessor in the underworld. Adrienne Williams Boyarin incorporated some of the Theophilus legends into her 2010 book Miracles of the Virgin: Law and Jewishness in Marian Legends. In examining a series of Middle English manuscripts that include the legend, Boyarin established that the various iterations of the Theophilus story reveal different characterizations of Mary, such as “Jew, lawyer, trickster,

Boyarin, Miracles of the Virgin, 42-47 and 75-104; Richard W. Southern, Making of the Middle Ages (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953), 247-248; Beverley Boyd, The Middle English Miracles of the Virgin (San Marino, CA: The Huntingdon Library, 1964), 127-128. 97 I follow Boyarin’s precedent in breaking from the tradition of using miracle stories to understand supplicants’ behavior rather than medieval conceptions of Mary’s intercessory abilities (cf Ronald Finucane, Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England). Boyarin highlights the widespread interest in Mary as a legal advocate and expert on charter evidence. I seek to broaden this issue to analyze Mary’s voice within her position as Empress, looking at how her persuasive voice is able to effect change. 98 Boyarin, Miracles of the Virgin, 103. 96

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mighty, learned, able to penetrate hell and battle or outwit demons.” I seek to expand upon

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Boyarin’s work by examining how Mary’s voice as empress is able to effect change. Like so many Marian devotees, William of Malmesbury wrote an elaborate version of the Theophilus legend, highlighting Mary’s power at its apex by addressing both Mary’s might and her mercy. In this twelfth-century version, Mary is not passive, but actively intercedes and even verbally spars with Theophilus. William prioritizes the legend by placing it in the beginning of his collection. William’s version stresses Mary’s impassioned response to Theophilus’s pact with the devil. Theophilus’s lamentations over his contract eventually caused Mary to appear in order to “rebuff the wretch with well-meant sharpness, asking him how he had the face to call upon her when he well knew that he had denied both her and her son.” 100 Mary’s rebuff is a condemnation of Theophilus’s contract with the devil. Mary demands an explanation for his sudden decision to recant. Although Mary eventually comes to Theophilus’s aid, she chastises him: “It is folly to pile audacity on top of dire faithlessness. Injuring a son is an insult to the mother, and conversely abusing the mother is a reproach to the son. My son is generous to grant you a favor, but terrible in revenge. Well, so far as I am concerned, I should give you what you ask.” 101 Mary blends maternal compassion with her scolding, which reinforces her role as a condemner of the speech sins of slander and defamation. As the commentator, William notes the impact of Mary’s condemnation: “With words to this effect the Lady Mary terrified Theophilus, shaking his bones and melding his marrow with their artful sweetness. What delightful threats! What pity!” 102 Ibid., 103. “Et clementi austeritate miserum reuerberans percunctatur qua fronte ipsam appellare presumat, suae et filii sui abnegationis conscius.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Virgin, 18. 101 “Stultum esse super immanem perfidiam cumulare audatiam. Sobolis iniuriam matris esse contumeliam, et ex conuerso matris conuititum filii improperium. Filium sicut ad indulgendum facilem ita ad ulciscendum terribilem. Et ‘Esto,’ inquid, ‘quod mea interest tibi donauerim.’” Ibid., 18. 102 “Huiusmodi uerbis domina Maria exterrebat pauidum, artifici dulcedine ossa concutiens, medullas liquefatiens. O suaues minae! O pietas!” Ibid., 18. 99

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219 Simultaneously, Mary’s words inspire a change of heart, but she also causes intense fear. This is an interesting amalgamation of characteristics: Mary quickly alternates between aggression and mercy. Mary requests that before she proceeds, Theophilus should confess to her: “Then confess to me, and patch up your belief in the true faith, which you vomited up for the Devil, so that I may report it to my son.” 103 Mary occupies the double role of mother-confessor, as in examples addressed in Chapter Two. Once he confesses, Mary returned to him, “speaking more pleasantly, looking more cheerful, ‘I have won over my son,’ she said, ‘and come now to bring you, my man, full absolution for what you did. So stop sobbing, stop torturing yourself: through me the sentence of the highest Judge has been mitigated. As for you, make sure you remain loyal to Him who gave his favor, and beholden to her who mediated for you.’” 104 Like other authors, William is quick to note the change in Mary’s tone and countenance. Mary’s compelling explanation indicates that both Christ and Mary play a vital part in Theophilus’s salvation. This is also similar to Mary’s position as mediatrix when she tried to assuage the worries of her supplicants. But William of Malmesbury’s particular iteration of the Theophilus legend focuses on how Mary has the power to intercede on behalf of those in danger of damnation and carefully delineates the process of her intercession. Although it became more popular to emphasize Mary’s agency and power over the devil, this was not a universal trend in later medieval versions of the Theophilus legend. The popular and influential Golden Legend, noted with brevity that Mary “upbraided him for his impiety,

“Tum illa ‘Confitere ergo,’ inquit, ‘michi, et resarci fidei uerae credulitatem quam euomuisti diabolo, ut renuntiem filio meo.” Ibid., 19. 104 “‘Exorato’ ait ‘filio meo uenio, et tibi, mi homo, plenam absolutionem facti affero. Cessent igitur singultus, essent animi suplitia; mollita est per me superni arbitri sententiam. Tu modo indultori tuo fac ut sis fidus, et interuentrici obnoxios.’” Ibid., 19. 103

220 ordered him to renounce the devil, and made him confess his faith in her and in Christ, the Son of God, and in the whole Christian doctrine.” 105 Of course, Mary still performed the miracle and intervened on Theophilus’s behalf. However, this succinct version is a contrast to the English versions that devote extensive space to praising Mary’s agency and noting her power to confront the Devil over the contract. The South English Legendary (c. 1290) is a collection of Middle English vitae and homilies, and included in this diverse collection of hagiographical materials is a retelling of the Theophilus legend. This particular narrative stresses how Mary shifts from a mild mother to a stern arbitrator. Mary quickly denounces Theophilus’s pact with the devil. The rapid shift in personae is evident in the sharp, divisive attacks that Mary delivers to Theophilus. After forty days of appealing to Mary, weeping and praying to her in the chapel, Mary appeared before him. The narrator describes Mary as “that sweet maiden so mild,” yet despite this characterization as more mild-mannered, she “showed her strength” in criticizing Theophilus because he openly rejected her and Christ. In chastising him, Mary in frustration asks, “How can I find any grace for you, wretched man? How can I pray to my son for you, when you have forsaken him?” 106 These sharp rebuffs instill fear in Theophilus and underscore her anger and disappointment in him. Mary acknowledges that part of her purpose is to temper Christ’s anger: “So much I endure so often to restrain my son so that he does not take vengeance as often as he would like.” 107 She also indicates that her intercession is conditional upon him making a confession. Mary encourages Theophilus to be earnest in his confession and explains how she will intercede Jacobus de Voragine, “The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” 543. “St. Theophilus,” from the South English Legendary, in Miracles of the Virgin in Middle English, ed. and trans. Adrienne Williams Boyarin (Ontario: Broadview Press, 2015), 25. 107 “St. Theophilus,” Miracles of the Virgin Mary in Middle English, 27. 105 106

221 on his behalf: “I will pray to my son on my bare knees for you very soon. Be steadfast, as you have begun to be, and he will hear your prayer.” 108 As in other accounts, Mary indicates that confession is integral to welcoming Theophilus back into Christianity. This thirteenth-century version positions Mary as the perfect figure to explain the complicated process of intercession to him and to offer encouraging words to him: “Theophilus,” she said, “you have done enough penance now. Be joyful, for I have prayed for my son’s kindness and pardon, Such that he has forgiven you your sin. Sin no more.” 109 Similar to her role as mediatrix, Mary is able to sway Christ to be merciful toward Theophilus, despite his previous rejection of Christ. In this instance, Mary kneels before her son as she begs him to show mercy towards Theophilus: “Behold, here is my friend who has served me well. Accept him into your joy.” 110 Christ exhibits clemency, noting that part of his reason for doing so rested in the supplicant’s daily devotion to Mary and frequent requests for her compassion, “For on earth he often asked your mercy.” Ultimately, even when dealing with the underworld, Mary expresses some merciful attributes to counterbalance her forceful temperament. Not only was the Theophilus legend rewritten and circulated in different literary compilations, but some of the manuscripts also included illustrations of the Theophilus legend that shaped Mary as aggressively combatting the devil over Theophilus’s contract. An illuminated version of the South English Legendary (Fig. 10) includes a depiction of the Theophilus legend, which depicts Mary as pinning the devil down by his horns.

Ibid., 27. Ibid., 29. 110 Ibid., 51. 108 109

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(Fig. 10) Mary holding the devil and flogging him, while the devil vomits up Theophilus’ charter, MS Yates Thompson 13, fol. 160r., 1310-1320, Queen Mary Psalter, Public domain image provided by The British Library: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/welcome.htm Like other images that show Mary overpowering the devil, in this illustration Mary beats him until he vomits up the charter he made with Theophilus. 111 She wears a triple crown, perhaps symbolizing that she is sovereign over heaven, earth, and hell. 112 Both the textual and visual aspects of the South English Legendary version demonstrate how powerful Mary was in rebuking both Theophilus and the devil. In a different medium, a stone sculpture in the thirteenth-century north transept portal tympanum at Notre Dame in Paris shows Mary coming to the aid of Theophilus (Fig. 11).

This calls to mind images of Christ vanquishing the devil in the Harrowing of Hell, a popular artistic theme in the later Middle Ages. Like Mary, Christ wields a sword over the devil to liberate those souls captive in the underworld. Karl Tamburr, The Harrowing of Hell in Medieval England (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2007). 112 Lesley Twomey, The Fabric of Marian Devotion in Isabel de Villena’s Vita Christi (Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2013), 147; Stafford, The Queen Mary Psalter, 51. 111

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(Fig. 11) Detail. “The legend of Theophilus,” stone sculpture, north transept portal tympanum, mid-thirteenth-century, Notre Dame, Paris Mary wields a sword to free Theophilus from his contract with the devil. Her towering position accentuates her strength and power over the devil. While textual depictions focus on her ability to vanquish the devil through her words, this statue suggests that because of her dominant posture as she brandishes a weapon, the devil cowers in utter submission. 113 Such images continue a larger pattern of modeling Mary’s descent into hell after Christ’s harrowing of hell. The Theophilus legend, reworked and circulated in the later Middle Ages, remains one of the most famous examples of Mary descending into hell. By successfully returning from her descent to hell with Theophilus’s contract from the devil, these sources indicate that Mary had either some sort of verbal or physical confrontation with the devil in order to procure the written pact. An examination of other miracula reveals even more elaborated discussions of Mary

Michael W. Cothren, “The Iconography of Theophilus Windows in the First Half of the Thirteenth Century,” Speculum 59. 2 (1984): 308-341. 113

224 contending with the devil and offers the opportunity to examine how medieval sources crafted heated debate between the figureheads of good and evil.

“You are My Worst Enemy”: Mary’s Clashes with the Devil Mary saved souls from hell, and the most spectacular of these rescues occurred when she descended into hell herself in order to confront the devil in person. At first glance, there appears to be a particular template to the harrowing narratives: Mary appears before the devil within his own realm to challenge his authority and power. Through persuasive argument, Mary successfully frees the soul from the grips of hell. These stories frame her at the peak of power in combating the most terrible of enemies. This final subsection presents examples of Mary as she aggressively confronts the devil in a series of both physical and verbal conflicts. 114 Mary does not just condemn the devil with her words, but issues corporal punishments that reinforce her authority. In one of the most vivid descriptions of Mary confronting the devil, William of Malmesbury wrote that in order to protect a drunken monk from an attack of the devil, Mary beat the devil with a stick multiple times, “redoubling her blows and making them sharper with words, ‘Take that, and go away. I warn you and order you not to harass my monk any more. If you dare to do so, you will suffer worse.” 115 In this case, Mary mixes verbal threats with corporal punishments in order to banish the devil. It is interesting to note her voice serves to reinforce the physical beating that ultimately enables her to vanquish the devil. Although this beating appears to be severe to the modern reader, William of Malmesbury offers no indication Henry Ansgar Kelly, Satan: A Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Devil in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984); Philip C. Almond, The Devil: A New Biography (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014). 115 “Sed uirgam in diabolum uibrans terque quaterque perculit, ingeminans et acerbans uocibus ictus: ‘Haec habe, et fuge. Ne ultra inquietes monachum meum denuntio et precipio. Quod si presumpseris, deteriora sustinebis.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 53. 114

that this extraordinary behavior ran counter to medieval expectations of Mary’s conduct as an

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intercessor. Rather, he concludes the miracle story by describing this as “an act of honeyed mercy,” perhaps trying to explain how Mary’s severe actions were justified, even merciful, because she sought to protect the monk in danger. 116 In Wynken de Worde’s fifteenth-century Myracles of Our Lady, Mary issues punishments in the story “The Devils as Swine.” Confronting the demons in the shape of swine who try to rip a monk apart, Mary “with a light stick that she held in her hand, said to the wicked spirits, ‘How dare you, wicked spirits, come here? This man is not yours.” 117 Mary brandishes a rod as she threatens the devil, aligning her powerful voice as an instrument with a physical weapon. A marginal illustration in the martyrology of NotreDame-des-Près (Fig. 12) shows Mary wielding a club and beating the devil in the shape of a beast. Mary was depicted as larger and more threatening than the devil during such clashes. 118

“Nulla umquam post Domini passionem tam mellitam misericordiam narrauit littera.” Ibid., 54. Wynken de Worde, The Myracles of Oure Lady, 62. 118 This was prevalent enough that there was a late fifteenth-century Italian tradition of Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help) that depicts Mary wielding a club in order to physically attack the devil. Efrat El-Hanany, Beating the Devil: Images of the Madonna del Soccorso in Italian Renaissance Art, Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 2006; Michael P. Carroll, Madonnas That Maim: Popular Catholicism in Italy since the Fifteenth Century (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1992). 116 117

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(Fig. 12) Mary beating the devil in the shape of a beast, Martyrology of Notre-Dame des Près, Valenciennes, BM, 838, f.097v, 1275-1300, Arras, France Public domain image provided by the Institute for Research and History Texts: http://initiale.irht.cnrs.fr/accueil/index.php The visual illuminations and the dialogue in the miracle stories expose compelling expressions of Mary’s power and illustrate how Christians viewed their connection with Mary as vital to avoiding eternal damnation in the underworld. The imagined dialogues in hell highlight contested authority in disputes between the Virgin Mary and the devil. The Gesta Romanorum offers one such instance of compelling conversation. “A Debate Between the Virgin and the Devil (of an Argument Between the Virgin and the Devil)” frames Mary as the principal enemy of the devil, and this particular story focuses on the dispute that ensues between Mary and the devil over the soul of a woman. Initially, this example provides another form of intercessory dialogue and shows how Mary mediates between the devil and her son. At first, Mary implores Christ to coerce the devil: “Son, compel him to say

the truth of that thing that I will ask him.”

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227 Christ entreats Mary to combat the devil by herself

– reminding her that she does not require him to be alongside her: You are my mother; you are queen of heaven; you are mother of mercy; you are the comfort of them that are in purgatory; you are the gladness of them that have gone on pilgrimage, heavenward in the world; you are the lady of angels; you are with God most excellent; you are also a princess above the devil. Therefore, mother, command the devil to say whatever you want and he shall obey you. 120 Christ lists a litany of titles describing Mary’s power and entreats her to verbally overpower the devil. This remark further underscores my claim that medieval Christians were aware of the connected sovereign roles attributed to Mary and viewed these positions as related to one another. This is one of the rare instances where Christ appears alongside Mary during a confrontation with the devil. His remarks highlight the tension regarding the root of Mary’s authority – can she only challenge the devil because she has Christ’s permission? Regardless of whether this power is granted or self-authorized, it enables Mary to confront the devil. Mary skillfully debates with the devil, forcing him to acknowledge that although the woman’s sins are numerous, they can be remitted through confession. She concludes the debate by claiming victory over him: “Therefore, the way to hell is shut to her and the way to heaven is open to her.” Mary commands the devil to release the woman, You devil, are a most wicked thief; the soul that is the spouse of my son, the most mighty husband, who bought her with his own blood, you have corrupted and violently taken away. Therefore my son is husband of the soul, and is lord of the soul, and is lord above you; therefore it is appropriate that you flee before him. 121 Mary does not use trickery or brute force to overpower the devil, but through a logical argument, she is able to free the woman’s soul from the devil’s clutches. The devil does not dismiss her as

“An Argument between the Virgin and the Devil,” in Devils, Women, and Jews: Reflections of the Other in Medieval Sermon Stories, ed. Joan Young Gregg (Albany: SUNY Press, 2014), 154. 120 Ibid., 154. 121 Ibid, 154. 119

228 inept but views her as a powerful adversary. The fourteenth-century Queen Mary Psalter (Fig. 13) offers an illustrated version of this kind of debate.

(Fig. 13) Mary forcing the Devil to return the contract of Theophilus, MS Yates Thompson 13 fol. 205, Queen Mary Psalter, 1310-1320, Public domain image provided by The British Library: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/welcome.htm While the devil raises his hands, as if attempting to debate with Mary, Mary is the commanding figure, who raises her hand as if to dismiss him. In both the textual and visual representations of these conflicts, Mary’s imposing authority ultimately triumphs over the devil. The idea of Mary sparring with the devil was not just a popular motif within miracle collections, but even factored into other genres as well. The fourteenth-century Processus sathanae contra genus humanum, a legal narrative, portrayed Mary as the advocate of humankind when a demon ascended to the court of heaven to contend for sovereignty over the human race. 122 Making her case to her son, who judged the case, Mary made numerous references to Roman and canon law. In doing so, the author framed Mary as an effective Karl Shoemaker, “The Devil at Law in the Middle Ages,” Revue de l'histoire des religions 228.4 (2011): 567586. This narrative appears in several manuscripts, including an early fourteenth-century Bolognese manuscript that may have been part of student exercises at the university in Bologna. The first printed version of this narrative was in 1510: Tractatus Iudiciorum: Processus Sathanae contra genus humanum (Johann Petit: Paris, 1510). 122

authority figure and advocate who was knowledgeable about legal proceedings. Although

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“women generally are not admitted to the office of advocate” as she acknowledged, Mary pointed to a rule that enabled women to represent orphans, widows, and other “miserable persons.” 123 This response echoed similar sentiments from the Gesta Romanorum, when Mary skillfully debated with the devil in a public setting. However, Mary not only utilized the law for her defense, but also made a passionate plea to Christ. In an emotional outburst she “exploded into tears, knelt, and cut her vestments,” and cried out, “My blessed son, there is the one who rejected you, stoned you, had you tied to a column, and hung on a cross like a thief. He implores your noble office. I am your most dear mother that carried you for nine months and piously nourished you with milk from these breasts.” 124 This theatrical appeal ultimately resulted in her victory and ensured the protection of the human race. In addition to describing Mary’s combatant role with the devil, both narratives and miracle stories also addressed the ways in which the devil reacts to the displays of Mary’s power. In response to Mary’s apparition in hell, the devil in the Theophilus legend from the South English Legendary refers to Mary as his “worst enemy.” 125 Enraged by her ability to champion those who had even turned against her, the devil continues to rage against Mary exclaiming, “You are always my worst friend, among all my other enemies! You have deprived me of her! You overpower us all! Alas that you ever existed!” This outburst suggests that the devil recognizes her power as substantial and effective in saving Christians from eternal damnation. Maintaining composure in her response, Mary effectively commands the devil to depart: “I command that you go away, that you never come near this man to shame him again.” But Mary’s

Ibid., 582. Ibid., 584. 125 “St. Theophilus,” South English Legendary, in Miracles of the Virgin in Middle English, 45. 123 124

230 anger is not solely directed toward the devil, but at the errant sinner as well, chiding, “You have also angered me deeply,” just like the disappointment she conveyed to others in her capacity as mediatrix. Mary aggressively confronts the devil, and although she is merciful in saving Theophilus, she still exhibits hostility to those who once rebuked her. Such examples accentuate the ruthless nature of Mary as Empress of Hell, who actively confronts those who do not heed her warnings. Initially, it may have been astonishing that the Mother of God, amid many titles indicating mercy, should receive such a controversial designation. Yet when fourteenth- and fifteenth-century miracle stories frequently described Mary’s far-reaching power and ability to intercede on behalf of her supplicants, the title of Empress of Hell becomes less surprising. Miracle collections were not the only genre to explore the theme of Mary’s power over the underworld: popular sermons did so as well. John Mirk’s Festial, a fourteenth-century collection of Middle English sermons, offers one of the most elaborate descriptions of Mary as Empress of Hell. This source, which “blends formal theology with more widespread cultural practices and ideas,” offers insight into some of the creative themes explored in Christian devotional writing, including defining Mary’s role in hell. Katharine Goodland cites this sermon as evidence of the “autonomous power” of Mary in medieval depictions of her as Empress of Hell, a role that is independent of Christ’s agency: “She does not simply mediate between God’s justice and Christ’s mercy; she commands in her own right.” 126 This is a rare evocation of Mary’s independent power and it speaks to the issue that Mary’s power was so great that it threatened to subsume Christ’s authority. Mirk includes a passage where Mary described her unique role in commanding power

Goodland, Female Mourning and Tragedy in Medieval and Renaissance English Drama, 59. Mirk elaborates on this point and notes that Mary has the power to punish the souls of the dead. Additionally, Mary does not always advocate for mercy, but instead sometimes encourages Christ to hand down a just sentence.

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231 over the devil: “I am God’s mother, and I pray that my son gets this soul a place in heaven. I am also empress of hell, and have power over all you enemies; and therefore I command you that he (the devil) keep this soul no longer. But go your way and let him (the soul) rest.” 127 In this position, Mary not only seeks to prevent sinners from damnation, but also ventured into the depths of hell to free Christians who prayed to her. Mary was not just a “door of salvation,” but actively labored to save Christians from damnation. 128 Although this is a non-canonical view of Mary’s power, it was part of a burgeoning tradition that shaped Mary’s ability to intercede as extending into the depths of the underworld. 129 Compared to the twelfth-century miracle stories that only note her ability to contest the power of the devil, there is a marked emphasis among the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century sources that emphasize Mary’s particular designation of Empress of Hell. The miracle stories and devotional materials in this section reflect both the popularity of this role and reiterate that part of Mary’s perceived agency was expressed with her voice. These materials reveal powerful and unconventional expressions of Mary’s power as Empress of Hell. Mirk’s observation that Mary’s power extended into hell signals the medieval view of her universal rule in heaven, on earth, and in hell. A brief examination of how medieval devotional writers connected these three roles (Queen of Heaven, Mediatrix, Empress of Hell) will further support my argument that these three positions need to be examined together.

Tying Together the Triple Crown of Sovereignty: Queen, Mediatrix, Empress Although each of these roles individually emphasizes the dynamic nature of

Mirk, Mirk’s Festial, 114. Larson, “Anselm’s View of Mary’s Role in Redemption,” 49. 129 Goodland, Female Mourning, 59. 127 128

Mary’s power, medieval sources bound these three roles together in their descriptions of

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Mary. Specifically, while the roles of intercessor and Empress of Hell appear to be paradoxical positions, they both exposed Mary’s tendencies toward both anger and mercy. Medieval scholars have yet to fully appreciate these similarities. 130 In the following examples, Mary occupied a three-fold role that highlighted her ability to exert power in heaven, on earth, and in hell. This trio of titles was not separate, as previously treated by medieval scholars, but were brought together to underscore Mary’s universal presence and power. The “Assumption of the Virgin” entry in Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend teased out the idea that Mary occupied positions of influence in all areas of the cosmos. In describing Mary’s bodily assumption, Jacobus noted that Mary was summoned to judge in the weighing of good and bad deeds: You see there the mother of mercy, seated beside the Lord. Call upon her with your whole heart and try to win her help. He did this, and blessed Mary came to his aid. She put her hand on the side of the scale where the few good deeds were, while the devil tried to pull the other side down; but the mother of mercy prevailed and the sinner was freed. 131 This description differs from coronation narratives, which typically portrayed Mary as a serene and passive imperial ruler in heaven. On the contrary, this Assumption narrative addresses the tripartite Marian roles, putting extra emphasis on Mary’s ability to interfere with the devil’s wishes. In response to the devil’s attempt to weigh down the scale in his favor, Mary cried out: “Wicked spirit, what rashness led you to presume to harm my

Miracle stories highlighted both the range of Mary’s power and emphasized that there was not a universal method to characterize Mary’s authority. Koppelman refers to this tension as “devotional ambivalence.” She calls for a rejection of readings that view Mary as “subservient” to Christ, which Koppelman believes obscures Mary’s real agency in miracle collections. Koppelman, “Devotional Ambivalence,” 68-69. 131 Jacobus de Voragine, “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” The Golden Legend, 473. 130

devoted follower? You will not go unpunished for this, and I now impose this sentence

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upon you. Go down to hell, and never again dare to injure anyone who invokes me with devotion!” 132 This narrative stresses that Mary’s power was not just confined to heaven: she was also the mother of mercy and could even threaten to banish the devil. This account is particularly compelling because it offers examples of Mary performing powerful acts related to each of the three roles. A wide variety of hagiographical and devotional materials described Mary as having power both on earth and in different parts of the cosmos. Under this tripartite reign, Mary functioned as an advocate to help both the living and the dead. In the fifteenth-century Annunciation pageant of the N-Town Cycle, the angel Gabriel links the titles together, noting that Mary’s sovereignty extended to a variety of arenas as “Queen of heaven, lady of earth, and empress of hell be ye; Succour to all sinful that will to you sue.” 133 Medieval Christians recognized Mary’s complex powers and acknowledged that her imperial authority occupied many different spiritual planes. Margery Kempe (c. 1378-1438), a polarizing figure in medieval Christian spirituality, addresses the far-reaching range of Mary’s dominion in one of her ecstatic visions: “And there you shall be crowned as queen of heaven, as lady of all the world, and as empress of hell.” 134 While Margery Kempe cannot be regarded as a typical example of lay spirituality, such a vision suggests that the grouping of three titles together must have permeated many medieval devotional writings. Finally, the different litanies to Mary, which were often used in different devotional settings, included dozens of titles that praised Mary as queen and intercessor. Such descriptions encapsulate Mary’s extensive power and suggest that it was nearly Ibid., 472. N-Town, “The Parliament of Heaven and the Annunciation,” lines 1398 - 1399. 134 Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe, ed. and trans. Liz Herbert McAvoy (Rochester, NY: Boydell and Brewer, 2003), 47. 132 133

impossible to think of Mary in just one capacity, but that she functioned as an effective

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intercessor, particular in her efforts to save her supplicants from eternal damnation. Because Marian miracle collections praised Mary’s power to intercede on behalf of her supplicants, it is therefore unsurprising that miracula authors stressed that Mary’s power stretched from heaven to hell. In recounting Mary’s power to free Guy of Lescar from captivity in his Miracles of the Virgin Mary, William of Malmesbury binds together the three roles of Mary to describe her triple reign of sovereignty, She is manifested to be the Lady of all nations in every part of the world; she holds sway as empress of the world, on earth above through the love, and in hell through the terror, she inspires. She is well used to bringing the chained out of the pity of misery; and those whom a dark prison enclose ‘in both men,’ the queen of heaven is in her mercy accustomed to free.” 135 Not only did William address the three roles concurrently, but he also viewed Mary’s power as fused together and manifested in each part of the cosmos. “She inspires” the faithful through her influence exerted in all parts of the world, using both mercy and power. It is possible that medieval authors addressed these three roles jointly to offer some sort of balance for the Empress of Hell title, showing that she also exerted celestial authority as Queen of Heaven. Ultimately, these three roles as queen, mediatrix, and empress were linked in medieval Christian spirituality and should be studied side by side to better understand Mary’s function as an intercessor.

Conclusion In his 1900 essay entitled “The Dynamo and the Virgin,” Henry Adams “Quae per uniuersas partes orbis manifestatur omnium esse Domina gentium, et apud superos per amorem et per terrorem apud inferos imperatrix mundi obtinet principatum. Haec de lacu miseriae solet uinculatos educere, et quos in utroque homine carcer tenebrosus includit, regina caelorum misericorditer liberare consueuit.” William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 45.

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commented on the unparalleled impact of Mary in Western religion, observing, “Symbol or energy, the Virgin had acted as the greatest force the Western world ever felt…the historian’s business was to follow the track of the energy; to find where it came from and where it went to.” 136 Under the umbrella of intercessor, tracing the three connected roles of Queen, Mediatrix, and Empress reveals Mary as an effective interlocutor who descended into Hell in an effort to save her supplicants. Across devotional materials, the popularity of Mary as intercessor in the later Middle Ages was proof that Christians sought to have an interactive relationship with her. Parsing these stories reveals the complex characterization of Mary as an intercessory figure for both the living and the dead. Although past scholarship has focused largely on the devotional materials that praised Mary’s maternity and humanity, these three roles, Queen, Mediatrix, and Empress, were uniquely ascribed to her and highlighted her power in both heaven and hell. Moreover, some sources attributed so much power to Mary that it appeared to be a role-reversal, positioning Mary as authoritative over Christ. In the sixteenth century, such representations would fuel Protestant critiques of Mariolatry, a topic to be explored in the epilogue of the dissertation. Analyzing the three sovereign roles together offers a new method of evaluating the process of intercession and Mary’s agency within the celestial hierarchy. The Empress of Hell presents the most controversial examples of dialogue and positions Mary at the apex of her power, demonstrating brute force and strength in combating the figures of hell. Yet, when compared to the mediatrix examples, when Mary reprimands supplicants for their poor behavior, the two roles become surprisingly similar. The Henry Adams, “The Dynamo and the Virgin,” The Education of Henry Adams (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1918), 338-339.

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miracle stories and other devotional materials mined for this chapter, primarily those

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from England, as well as some relevant continental references, inform the medieval belief that Mary’s authority to intercede and intervene stretched from the depths of hell to the apex of heaven. Moreover, this assemblage of materials establishes that one of Mary’s most effective tools was her voice, which enabled her to successfully advocate for the salvation of Christians. This chapter has scrutinized textual and visual examples of Mary’s authority, as exemplified through the three distinct roles of Queen of Heaven, Mediatrix, and Empress of Hell. These stories drew on themes extracted from high theology and lay piety, and feature Mary at the apex of her power. Crafted during an era that praised Mary’s intercessory ability, the rich devotional materials invoke Mary as an essential fixture in a Christocentric cosmology who shaped the landscape of the kingdom of heaven. Her persuasiveness and ability to argue enabled her to tip the scales of justice, beg for mercy, and even rebuff Satan. Mary aptly defended humankind in a range of contrasting roles. The late medieval stories of Mary as Queen, Mediatrix, and Empress shaped a figure that was an accessible intercessor, and a force in determining the fate of individual souls. Although the landscape of heaven and hell was not always clearly delineated, these sources reflected the belief that Mary’s voice resonated with Christians and echoed a message of spiritual protection both in life and death.

Conclusion: The Great Crescendo In his commentary on the complex of historiographical issues that emerge when studying the Virgin Mary, Robert Orsi speaks to the challenges that have surrounded this project: It is impossible to tell a single story about the Virgin Mary. She cannot be held in place by a single attribute…or held accountable for a single social consequence— liberation or oppression, solidarity or fracture. She is not solely the creation of theologians or of the masses; she belongs completely neither to her devout nor to culture. 1 Orsi’s conclusion is applicable to this study as well. The examination of Mary’s voice in medieval Christianity has required consideration of both theological discussions and expressions of popular Marian piety. With the intricacies of Marian scholarship in mind, this conclusion has several objectives. First, I will summarize my findings from each chapter. Then, I will address the principal historiographical contributions of this dissertation to the fields of Marian studies and medieval religious devotion. Finally, I will point to directions of further inquiry and address ways in which this study could be revised more broadly.

Broader Conclusions and Chapter Summaries This study has aimed to explore the development and dissemination of Mary’s voice in the later Middle Ages, and inquire about the intersecting religious and cultural conditions that precipitated this phenomenon of Marian speech in the later Middle Ages. The heightened interest in the humanity of both Christ and Mary in the twelfth century coincided with the practice of more textual sources creating a voice for Mary, which offered supplicants a new way to imagine engaging their spiritual mother. Simultaneously, the rise in the universities and the broader Robert Orsi, “The Many Names of the Mother of God,” in Divine Mirrors: The Madonna Unveiled, ed. Melissa Katz (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 3-4.

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reforms in education offered an opportunity for devotional sources to position Mary as an

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effective teacher of key aspects of Marian piety. Following ecclesiastical efforts that were codified in the Fourth Lateran Council that encouraged priests to reach out to the laity, it was logical to see an upsurge in narrative sources that depicted Mary speaking to her supplicants in a manner that promoted her efficacy as an intercessor. Additionally, this was the era that witnessed a heightened interest in the role of the saints in lay spirituality; it was logical for changes in devotional sources to reflect this trend as well. This project has implications that most broadly touch on the field of medieval religion and cultural studies. By penetrating the meaning of Mary’s speech, we gain a richer understanding of a figure who dominated religious practices that were an integral part of medieval society. The devotional and dramatic sources that I have brought together highlight compelling trends in their attempts to shape a new persona for Mary that responded to these new elements of late medieval spirituality. The most fruitful studies on Mary succeed when they endeavor to unearth the underpinnings of this complex figure and in doing so reveal the complicated identity of both the people who venerated her and changes in representation of Mary herself. Therefore, considering the socio-cultural movements that mutually influenced and were impacted by Marian devotion exposes the true scope and extent of her place in medieval Christianity. Each section of the dissertation has mapped out different thematic representations of Mary’s voice, individually addressing broader subjects in medieval religious devotion while also pointing to some issues connected with female sanctity. In examining the motivations for the development of medieval narrative and devotional literature to construct such a powerful voice for Mary, this project has drawn attention to the widespread concerns for regulating and

239 responding to women’s speech in the Middle Ages. I have argued that Mary’s voice serves as an effective barometer for both religious and social change, especially at the intersection of changing views of women. Concerns about female speech were the concerns of moralists about matters of style or subject that they regarded as subversive or counter to socio-cultural expectations. A brief summary will signal each chapter’s contributions to our understanding of changes in Marian devotion and representations of Mary’s voice as they pertained to issues of women’s speech at large. Chapter One sought to clarify the function of Mary’s articulated grief within the planctus genre. While it has already been well established that Mater Dolorosa imagery was pervasive in the later Middle Ages, scholars have not mined Mary’s laments to offer a commentary on the suppression of female public mourning, as well as the broader concern about women’s speech in community settings. Moreover, bringing together the two genres of Marian laments and liturgical dramas reveals the tension evident in how devotional sources characterized her grief. Some narratives cast Mary’s speech as self-consciously subdued in anticipation of external criticism, while others depicted more moderate expressions of grief that elicited outside pleas for her to quell her emotional laments. There was no singular representation of Mary’s mourning at the foot of the Cross. It is not always clear whether her planctus was meant to mirror female expressions or grief, or serve as a model of tempered mourning – a departure from the characterization of frenzied, hysterical laments. These overt attempts at regulating Mary’s laments offer a larger commentary on the pervasive concern that women’s overly emotional lamentations were both a distraction from and a threat to the norms of lay devotional practices. The insertion of Mary’s voice within the planctus laments allows the reader to further imagine the complexities of Mary’s mourning. Studying these characterizations of her grief also

240 contributes to the growing field of the history of emotions. This field considers the socio-cultural impact of emotions, as well as “emotional communities,” defined as “social groups whose members adhere to the same valuations of emotions and their expression.” 2 The study of Mary’s articulated grief offers insight into what might be construed as creating an emotional community, specifically one that was fraught with concerns about the parameters of ritualized mourning. Chapter Two examined how devotional texts framed Mary as a gifted student and teacher. Scrutinizing her pedagogical persona signaled how the creative molding of the mother of the Church as a wise and educated person who could educate others adds new light to the complex medieval portrayal of Mary. The intellectual and cultural landscape experienced profound changes alongside the growth of Marian devotion in the late Middle Ages. The idea of a woman participating in education in the Middle Ages was permissible because medieval sources described Mary as a miraculous prodigy and talented student. From a different viewpoint, miracle stories framed Mary as the appropriate teacher who was equipped to address proper devotional practices, postures, and the use of Marian prayers in one’s personal spiritual practices. This approach did not subvert traditional ideas about a woman’s education, nor did it promote Mary as some sort of theologian or professor within the new university system. Mary was permitted to teach subjects that were viewed as contrary to the constraints of her gender. These miracle collections not only featured Mary as a promoter of her own cult, but also as a sort of correctrix, appearing before supplicants whose devotional practices were sub-standard and required improvement. This chapter also examined representations of Mary as Magistra Apostolorum at Pentecost, which emphasized that she was uniquely privileged to teach the apostles the implications of the Ascension. Additionally, while previous scholarship has pointed Barbara H. Rosenwein, “Problems and Methods in the History of Emotions,” Passions in Context: Journal of the History and Philosophy of the Emotions (2010): 1.

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to how medieval scholastics positioned Mary as Queen of the Liberal Arts, my approach

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highlights the broader appeal of Mary as a teacher in an era that connected Christian devotional practices to education. It is worth noting that some of the miracle stories positioned Mary as a teacher who strongly urged her supplicants to participate in the sacraments. This quasi-sacerdotal role was clearly limited to Mary alone: other female attempts at imitating this practice would have been met with both scrutiny and criticism. Chapter Three examined the role of Mary in a position that would have been quite familiar to a medieval audience, that of a wife. Although medieval iconography often depicted the Holy Family as idyllic, the Corpus Christi pageants that positioned Mary and Joseph in heated dialogue ran counter to this serene imagery. Rather than shaping Mary to be completely submissive to Joseph, the English mystery plays framed Mary as a powerful wife who was not completely subservient to her husband’s authority. These liturgical dramas depicted Mary challenging both spousal and ecclesiastical authority, as she questioned how she could marry while still upholding her vow of virginity. Additionally, these plays framed Mary as a formidable foil to Joseph; she steadfastly maintained her innocence when he lambasted her about her seemingly inexplicable pregnancy. These liturgical dramas emerged within a culture that sought to carefully regulate women’s speech and tasked husbands to monitor and manage their wives’ words. I suggest that the playwrights were attempting to show a range of domestic possibilities through Marian speech. In some cases, Mary modeled speech and behavior that both civic and religious authorities would have permitted. However, any kind of speech or action on her part that could thwart or undermine male authority was to be met with criticism/an attempt to correct the balance of power. Mary did not usurp his power by treating him as a cuckold (although the pageants indicated that this was one of his great fears). Rather, the compilers noted that Mary

242 carefully walked a fine line between submission and blatant efforts to publically humiliate him. Within the domestic sphere, Mary subverted Joseph’s authority in the Corpus Christi cycles, and adopted an authoritative stance when defending attacks against her honor. Despite the culture that produced this powerful representation of Mary, many concerns remained about the speech of wives, both in public and private spheres. Both civic and religious authorities, as well as husbands themselves, were tasked to monitor and regulate wives’ speech, in an effort to limit their vocal presence and influence within both the domestic and public spheres. Additionally, Joseph’s fears of others labeling him a cuckold pointed to concerns about the disruption of gendered roles. The heated dialogue within the liturgical dramas signaled the perceived fragility of gender norms, particularly within the household. Thus, although Mary’s own marriage to Joseph was considered to be unique in a variety of ways, Mary’s speech embodied conflicted views about women’s roles as wives. Finally, it is interesting to note that is Mary challenged in some settings and not in others (compared to Chapter Two, when she functioned as Magistra Apostolorum and was described as teaching the apostles without any disruption or dispute). It seems likely that those speaking episodes went unchecked because they promoted the early evangelization of the Church, compared to Mary’s defense of her pregnancy, which was viewed with suspicion and controversy. Chapter Four revealed an apex in terms of Mary’s power as established through medieval collections that highlighted her effective vocal intercession with Christian supplicants. This chapter asserted that we need to consider the tripartite sovereign roles of Queen of Heaven, mediatrix, and Empress of Hell together to better understand how they were interconnected, which revealed more commonalities than has previously been recognized. Mary as intercessor was one of her most popular medieval roles, but this position has not been fully explored or

243 appreciated in terms of how her verbal intercessory remarks impacted the piety of supplicants. Instead of framing Mary’s intercession as passive, medieval miracle collections and other devotional sources described Mary as a powerful mediatrix who could even threaten supplicants with damnation if they did not change their behavior. Specifically, the role of Mary as Empress of Hell signaled the height of Mary’s authority, portraying her as a forceful intercessor who verbally and even physically spars with the devil over the salvation of Christian souls. As mediatrix, a role surprisingly similar to her role as Empress of Hell, Mary was viewed as an intercessor, who, when invoked, could navigate and negotiate on behalf of her supplicants: able to threaten sinners and even chide her powerful son to concede and lessen harsh sentences. These roles, which to the modern eye appear to be in opposition to one another, were not only presented together in medieval devotional sources, but they also shared important overlapping characteristics in determining Mary’s firmness as an intercessor. Moreover, her voice was accentuated in these roles that frame Mary at the apex of her power and influence in the later Middle Ages. Joined together, these chapters indicate not just different characterizations of Mary but also a medieval fascination with stretching the bounds of acceptable speech for her. Although her voice was only noted sparingly in the Bible, it became an important element of late medieval devotional texts. These thematic chapters reveal that there was a widespread interest in not just the content, but the style and reception of Mary’s voice. By analyzing how her speech was imagined by writers of the later Middle Ages, this project has offered a new way to understand Mary’s important place in medieval religious culture. Previous scholarship has mined a wide swath of sources to understand how medieval Christians connected with their spiritual mother, but neglected to listen her voice in textual

244 representations. Under the broader lens of Marian speech, my approach offers a new method for studying medieval religious culture. Each chapter charted the voice of Mary across a particular theme that in turn exposed a larger trend of shaping her late medieval persona as more powerful, meaning that these sources depicted her wielding her authority as a teacher, as a wife and mother, and as an intercessor. Yet, there was also some serious ambivalence about this authoritative representation: some sources were often quick to justify their characterization of Mary, nothing that her exceptional status granted her the freedom to speak, but not as representative of her sex. This was not a linear development: some of the examples of Mary’s reserved and restrained expressions of grief in the planctus laments were contemporaneous with depictions of Mary verbally sparring with the devil. Such conflicting representations suggest that medieval Christians viewed Mary as a complex figure: she was an integral figure in Christian spirituality who occupied a varied series of roles.

Mary’s Voice and Beyond: The Implications for Women’s Speech in the Middle Ages The most significant contribution of this dissertation has been to Marian studies, a vast field that continues to generate both new questions and new research on Mary’s complicated impact in medieval Christendom. 3 Mining copious examples of rich dialogue has revealed that Christians viewed Mary as a formidable figure who directly influenced their piety. In investigating this idea, the project has also revealed that the voice of Mary also functioned as a commentary on medieval expectations about education, marriage, and religious practices. This did not necessarily mean that her voice was a direct window into medieval society, but rather,

Of course, Mary’s influence was not limited to medieval Christianity, but particularly took on a special place in Islam. Mary F. Thurlkill, Chosen among Women: Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shiite Islam (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007).

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that the sources echoed and attempted to comment on societal norms. Like the works of

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Adrienne Boyarin and Georgiana Donovan, my project offers further evidence that Mary was intentionally shaped to be a more powerful and accessible figure in the later Middle Ages. Thus, the methodology of this project has brought us closer to viewing Mary in the way that medieval Christians saw her themselves. More broadly, this dissertation fits within medieval religious and cultural studies, as it is nearly impossible to conceive of medieval Christianity without considering the role of Mary. Because this project has considered a number of prayers, rituals, and other devotional practices surrounding Marian devotion, it has widened our understanding of the complex and diverse audiences who engaged in these traditions. Moreover, tracing changes in Marian devotion illuminates some of the larger changes in religious devotion. My study has also sought to understand the socio-cultural underpinnings of each thematic representation of Mary, such as women’s role in Christian education, and the intricacies of Mary’s marriage to Joseph as a commentary on marriage as both a medieval institution and lived experience. When considering the implications of this project, “listening to” the voices of saints across hagiographical materials has the ability to shed more light on the Christian society that sought to connect deeply with such holy figures. These examples of Mary speaking that I have examined throughout this project have broader implications for the study of women’s and gender studies in the Middle Ages. This impact can be felt both within the field of medieval religious studies and the field of women’s history at large. The phenomenon of Marian speech can shed light on larger trends within the sphere of female sanctity. There are several subdivisions of this subject worth sketching out for further consideration.

246 First, the methodological approach that I have utilized for this dissertation could easily expand to include a comparison of Mary’s voice with later medieval representations of other biblical women in Corpus Christi plays, hagiographical vitae like the Golden Legend and other sources that rewrote and expanded upon biblical and non-canonical stories. This current study has focused on how medieval representations of Mary’s voice were reworked to address medieval concerns about women’s piety. It is also worth considering the voice of the figure cast as antithetical to Mary, Eve. After all, Christians hailed Mary as the new Eve, and theologians often played with this comparison, noting that while Eve was the woman who caused the fall of humankind, Mary was the woman who helped ensure the salvation of the world. 4 What sort of medieval commentaries were there about Eve’s voice – both about the voice that was seduced by the serpent, but also concerning the voice that lured Adam to eat the apple from the Tree of Knowledge? The English Corpus Christi plays contained pageants like “The Creation of Adam and Eve,” “The Prohibition of the Tree of Knowledge,” “The Fall,” “The Expulsion from the Garden” – all feature Eve as one of the signal performers whose speech has yet to be fully contextualized within larger questions about female speech and authority. Although the voice of Mary was often praised for its eloquence, this dissertation has also exposed how medieval commentary on women’s speech reflected “an inherent distrust of spoken language” in the late Middle Ages. This pervasive concern draws attention to both the power of the spoken word and the fear of its misuse. 5 There is no denying that women’s speech in the later Middle Ages was often viewed as both problematic and The fifteenth-century Middle English carol “Adam Lay Ybounden” comes to mind with the stanza, “Ne had the apple taken been, The apple taken been, Ne had never our ladie, Abeen heav’ne queen,” referencing that had Eve not taken the forbidden fruit, the world would have been deprived of Mary as Queen of Heaven. John Flood, Representations of Eve in Antiquity and the English Middle Ages (New York: Routledge, 2011); Patrick Geary, Women at the Beginning: Origin Myths from the Amazons to the Virgin Mary (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006). 5 Sharon Farmer, “Persuasive Voices: Clerical Images of Medieval Wives,” Speculum 61.3 (Jul., 1986): 549. 4

247 subversive. An Eve/Mary comparison would likely reveal opposing commentaries on both the 6

virtues and vices of female speech featuring two polarizing and contrasting women. 7 The second area of inquiry has to do with the influence of high medieval hagiography on the creation of Mary’s voice in the later Middle Ages. How did earlier medieval saints like St. Foy of Conques, who was often characterized as vengeful toward supplicants in the eleventhcentury Libri miraculorum sancte Fidis, influence the construction of Mary’s speech? 8 Mary also faced that characterization in regards to some of her intercessory behavior when she inflicted punishments upon those who deviated from Christian piety. Benedicta Ward sees the depiction of Foy as foreshadowing the vengeful power often represented Marian miracle collections. 9 Does St. Foy’s behavior reflect more of the joca literary device (depicting trickery in a humorous way) than the descriptions of Mary’s vengeful behavior, or is there more of a correlation than previously acknowledged? More broadly speaking, how did the vitae of other

Judith Bennett, History Matters: Patriarch and the Challenge of Feminism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2007); Bernard Capp, When Gossips Meet: Women, Family, and Neighbourhood in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). 7 A broader inquiry could also consider how Mary’s speech compares to the reimagined speech of other biblical figures. Katherine Jansen’s examination of the hagiographic material surrounding the cult of Mary Magdalene provides an example of a biblical figure who “had been transformed into a legendary miracle-worker and patron saint.” Katherine L. Jansen, The Making of the Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 45, The Golden Legend entry on Mary Magdalen also depicted her speaking to supplicants, imploring: “Why are you not moved with compunction by what my own lips insistently say? From the time when you began to be devoted to me I have always prayed the Lord urgently for you. Get up, then1 Repent! I will never leave you until you are reconciled with God!” Jacobus de Voragine, “Mary Magdalene,” in The Golden Legend, 383. Additionally, recent scholarship on the cult of St. Anne demonstrate that late medieval Christian narratives were interested in crafting new devotional narratives about early Christian figures. See Jennifer Welsh, The Cult of St. Anne in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (New York: Routledge, 2017). There were augmented speaking roles for each of these women, yet I would argue that the change in representation of Mary’s voice represented the biggest departure from the biblical characterization of her, in that the medieval depictions of Mary speaking offered a more powerful reimagining of Mary’s persona. The expansion of Mary’s speech from the Bible is also different from other early Christian figures because the apocrypha, namely the Protoevangelium of James and the Pseudo-Matthew Gospel, both offer an expanded speaking role for Mary, and medieval devotional works heavily mined these sources as they crafted their representations of Mary speaking 8 Kathleen Ashley and Pamela Sheingorn, Writing Faith: Text, Sign, and History in the Miracles of Sainte Foy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Pamela Sheingorn, ed. and trans., The Book of Sainte Foy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995). 9 Ward, Miracles and the Medieval Mind, 38. 6

248 powerful female saints that were widely disseminated influence the portrayal of Mary in some of the more popular miracle collections? Were there strong, assertive female antecedents that had a direct impact in the creation of this part of Mary’s characterization? Conducting such a comparison would broaden the chronological framework to more fully examine Marian devotion in the High Middle Ages. This assessment would also allow for the consideration of how Marian stories influenced the depiction of other female saints. The third subtopic within medieval female hagiographical studies has to do with how female visionary literature described the voice of Mary. Caroline Walker Bynum notes that medieval women typically practiced Christological devotion, instead of identifying with Mary, someone of their sex. Although Bynum observed “Women’s devotion was less to Mary’s social or religious role as woman than to her physical role as bearer of humanity,” this was not a universal trend. 10 For example, Elisabeth of Schönau, Gertrude of Helfta, and Elisabeth of Hungary were religious women whose accounts of their extended visionary experiences included a particular focus on their conversations with Mary. 11 Interestingly, their recollections of Mary’s responses to their devout prayers and lifestyle do not consistently depict an empathetic spiritual mother. For example, Elisabeth of Schönau revealed that she was not immune to criticism from Mary, who “held her face from me as if in indignation” in response to her perceived lack of

Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast, 263; see also Caroline Walker Bynum, “…And Woman His Humanity’: Female Imagery in the Religious Writing of the Later Middle Ages,” in Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (New York: Zone Books, 1991), 151-179. Catherine Mooney offers a counter argument to this, showing that St. Clare of Assisi represents a shift in modeling herself after Mary, instead of Christ, and that the author of her vita, Thomas of Celano, used this paradigm in his writing on her. Catherine M. Mooney, “Imitatio Christi or Imitatio Mariae? Claire of Assisi and Her Interpreters,” in Gendered Voices: Medieval Saints and Their Interpreters, ed. Catherine M. Mooney (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999); 52-77. 11 Caroline Walker Bynum, Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). 10

piety.

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249 Acknowledging her disappointment, Mary chastised Elisabeth, “You have too greatly

neglected me in your own heart, and you do not strive to serve me with the devotion that you owe me. You have quickly laid aside that little bit of service that you used to offer me.” 13 In examples like these, Mary often demands more from them and presents a stern countenance and response to their prayers. An in-depth examination of the visionary literature of these three religious women, along with others like Margery Kempe and Birgita of Sweden, could offer insight into the gendered differences of how women imagined their relationships with the Virgin Mary. Although medieval religious women rarely wrote about Mary, this trend changed directions in the early modern period. In 2008, Susan Haskins published the translated works of three Italian women: Vittoria Colonna (1492-1547), Chiara Matraini (1515-1604), and Lucrezia Marinella (1571-1653), all who sought to expand upon the biographical portrait of Mary. 14 A broader study could benefit from exploration of how early modern women like these three fashioned narratives about Mary, including those who wrote devotional meditations on Mary’s life. For example, Vittoria Colonna’s meditation on the Passion of Christ would be fascinating to examine to evaluate what planctus themes she continued or reshaped in the early modern period. Moreover, it would be compelling to examine how women of this period imagined Mary’s speech, particularly in areas regarding her gender, maternity, and distinct role in the celestial hierarchy. The popularity of speech studies in recent medieval scholarship proves that there is a growing interest in examining speech within textual sources to illuminate broader socio-cultural Elisabeth of Schönau: The Complete Works, 104. Ibid., 105. 14 Susan Haskins, Who Is Mary?: Three Early Modern Women on the Idea of the Virgin Mary (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008). 12 13

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concerns of the Middle Ages. When speech studies and gender studies intersect, there is an

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opportunity to rethink attempts to dictate female behavior and conduct, both in social and religious settings. Not only, as Joan Scott points out, should we examine gender as a way of signifying relationships of power, but we should also consider the effects of speech when it cut through societal norms and represented possible subversion or disruption. 16 This study has simultaneously been a study of Mary’s roles and Mary’s speech. These two issues ought to be studied together, as they were deeply connected. For example, when Mary’s speech was deployed as a weapon against heretical behavior or demonic forces, it underscored her agency as an effective intercessor. Medieval devotional authors created a voice for Mary because there was clearly a demand for it. Christian supplicants wanted to listen to her and learn more about her different roles: as mother, wife, queen, among a longer litany of titles that pointed to her complex position in medieval Christian spirituality. Medieval authors depicted Mary in a series of diverse roles that underscored a series of aspects of her persona. The utilization of speech was often a deliberate strategy upon the part of authors to shape Mary as a more powerful matriarch. These sources offered a wide spectrum in their representations of Mary’s power and authority. Not all depictions of Mary were equally powerful: some subverted traditional authority while other examples of Mary speaking upheld societal beliefs about the limited speaking role that women ought to have in the public sphere. During the Middle Ages, there were “infinite meanings of Mary,” and the Mother of God represented a unique opportunity for authors to create a voice for her that served as a mouthpiece for their own agendas. 17 One topic for further study is the specific geographical nuances in representations in

Elizabeth A. Clark, “Women, Gender, and the Study of Christian History,” Church History 70 (2001): 395-426. Scott, “Millennial Fantasies,” 33. 17 Rubin, Mother of God, 424. 15 16

Mary’s voice. This current study is largely rooted in England, a region that adapted Marian

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trends much earlier than on the Continent. Yet, the variations in Mary’s voice within the English sources, particularly those that took the greatest liberties with Mary’s voice, represent the largest body of Marian sources that show Mary invoking her authority during this period. Nonetheless, some Latin miracle collections on the Continent also opted to depict Mary chastising supplicants and contesting the devil for sovereignty over the human race. One possible option to assess these differences would be to compare the devotional materials composed in England with another region that embraced Marian devotion, such as France, and compare how each area played with the various themes discussed in this project. 18 Both England and France were home to popular Marian shrines (Walsingham in England and Laon, Rocamamadour, and Soissons in France). Comparing the narrative accounts that chronicled Marian apparitions would likely yield more about the variations in how Mary as a formidable intercessor intervened on behalf of Christian supplicants. Using a different approach, a future project could take the existing framework of this dissertation and investigate these themes with extended chronological parameters. While here I argue that these representations of Marian speech were uniquely expressed in the later medieval period, there were certainly substantive cases certainly worth exploring beyond this era. A larger study that addressed the transition of Mary’s voice from the late medieval period to the early modern period would delve more deeply into issues that I will address within the epilogue. For example, narrative sources praised considered Mary’s intervention to be instrumental to the Holy

Within Marian studies, Elizabeth Witt’s Contrary Marys already did this by comparing the role of Mary in the English Corpus Christi plays and the French Passion plays. More broadly, Robert Brentano, Two Churches: England and Italy in the Thirteenth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968) and William C. Jordan, A Tale of Two Monasteries: Westminster and Saint-Denis in the Thirteenth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009) are two examples of this approach within medieval religious studies that were executed with great precision.

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League’s success at the Battle of Lepanto: this was part of a larger group of narrative sources

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that shaped Mary to be an effective military leader, particularly against Muslim attacks. 19 It would be compelling to consider the militant role of Mary in sixteenth-century Catholic materials and how it reshapes the medieval voice of Mary to suit an early modern audience, particularly in the wake of the Reformation. Moreover, accounts of Marian apparitions, like those that took place at Loreto and Guadalupe, offer examples of Mary in rich dialogue with her supplicants that ought to be explored. Even though the voice of Mary experienced a transformation in the early modern period, it was not extinguished entirely. This change in the dynamic of Mary’s voice merits further examination.

Final Remarks This dissertation has established that the medieval fascination with creating, reshaping, and disseminating examples of Mary’s voice was much more pervasive than previously acknowledged. What do we ultimately gain from listening to Mary’s voice? By offering a vehicle for Mary to speak, devotional authors emphasized the widespread desire among Christians to develop a more personal relationship with Mary. Supplicants envisioned themselves in conversation with their spiritual mother as they sought spiritual protection and religious edification. Mary did not just provide Christians with comforting words that alleviated their concerns about their place in the afterlife. Rather, Mary challenged them to demonstrate their piety through proper prayers and even reprimanded them when their behavior deviated from the expectations she had delineated in various narrative accounts. These narratives did not solely Although the Christians attribute their victory at the Battle of Lepanto to the Virgin Mary’s intercession, there are not any specific examples of her speaking in order to ensure a Christian victory. Amy G. Remensnyder, “Warrior and Diplomat: Mary Between Islam and Christianity,” in Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother Idea (An Exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts), ed. Elizabeth Lynch (New York: Scala, 2014), 38-49.

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fashion Mary to be a comforting, serene Madonna, but also shaped her to be a powerful and

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authoritative intercessor who used both her voice and her decisive power to influence the behavior of her supplicants. This authoritative speech portrays Mary as a powerful matriarch: such a representation offers a new methodological approach within the field of Marian studies. Current Marian research seeks to probe the complexities and variations of Marian devotion. With that aim in mind, my dissertation has sought to more richly color the already vibrant portrait of Mary in the later Middle Ages. Those who read about the eloquence of Mary’s voice saw in these powerful examples of her speaking evidence of her widespread influence within late medieval spirituality. The resonance of Mary’s voice could not be ignored either then or now as we attempt to understand communication in medieval society. It was not only noteworthy that writers expanded and extended her speech interventions during this period, but that so much attention was focused on the content, style, and reception of her voice. Her voice was regarded as provocative, sometimes perplexing, and often shaped to reflect or even satirize broader medieval social and religious concerns. This plurality of representations of Mary’s persona is a microcosm of the broad spectrum of expressions of Christian devotional practices in the Middle Ages. Throughout this project, I have pointed to a trend that was ultimately more widespread than has been previously recognized or appreciated in medieval scholarship. Even if this tendency at first glance is seemingly subtle, it clearly helped to shape the late medieval understanding of Mary and underscored her fundamental and complex roles in medieval spirituality. It is striking that Mary’s four short speaking episodes in the New Testament provided the gist for the rich dialogue produced in later medieval devotional sources. By the later Middle Ages, Mary was not just described as the frightened maiden who timidly asked the angel

Gabriel the meaning of his announcement at the Annunciation. Nor was it enough for

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hagiographers to note that Mary “was clever with words and had a pleasant voice.” 20 Rather, devotional sources shaped her as aware of her commanding power and influence when she intoned, “I am God’s mother, and I pray that my son gets this soul a place in heaven. I am also empress of hell, and have power over all you enemies.” 21 Mary’s voice reflected the power of a matriarch believed to have the salvific power to help Christians both in life and in death. Her voice, which articulated her power, still echoes both in current medieval scholarship and in today’s modern practices of Marian devotion. Those who clutch at their rosary beads while uttering the Ave Maria prayer or genuflect before a Marian statue do so with the hope of gaining Mary’s ear, and pray for her hallowed response. The phenomenon of Marian speech, while it reached an apex in the later Middle Ages, was not extinguished entirely in the early modern era. Major changes occurred in early modern Christian devotion across the confessional divide, particular in regards to the place of the Virgin Mary. Cognizant of those developments, the epilogue will offer a look ahead to changes in Marian devotion. Doing so will briefly illustrate how the voice of Mary was transformed during an era that experienced a great deal of change in both religious practices and the creation of devotional texts. The epilogue will also point to areas within early modern Marian devotion that merit additional scrutiny.

20 21

Maximus the Confessor, The Life of the Virgin, 43. Mirk, Mirk’s Festial, 114.

Epilogue: The Resonance of Mary’s Voice in the Sixteenth Century Just as Mary’s persona experienced significant changes during the transition from early Christianity to the Middle Ages, her late medieval persona and by extension, her voice was not neatly carried over into the early modern period. Her cult and devotional materials related to her continued to both thrive and evolve. By the sixteenth century, in part due to a series of developments, such as the printing press, the extensive missionary work of the Jesuits, and the larger advances in and popularity of long-distance travel, Mary became a globalized figure. Different cultures beyond Europe and the Middle East, including in Asia and the Americas, took the Mother of God and adapted her to suit a broad range of varying cultural and religious identities. 1 While the story of this project is largely rooted in the later Middle Ages, it is important to consider briefly how the consequences of such intense Marian devotion impacted the early modern period. The objective of this epilogue is to address sixteenth-century representations of Mary’s persona and voice in the wake of the Reformation. Doing so will demonstrate how both Catholic and Protestant spheres reshaped Mary’s place following a series of intense reform movements. I will also indicate how each of the themes addressed in the chapters changed, particularly how reform movements of the sixteenth century caused changes in the representation of Mary both in Catholic and Protestant devotional materials.

The Critique: Protestant Responses to Marian Devotion The ardent devotion to Mary that was rife in the later Middle Ages would ultimately prove to be the subject of the Protestant belief that “making Mary material and accessible

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Rubin, Mother of God, 379-412.

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256 seemed to be close to idolatry or blasphemy.” When examining the miracle stories discussed in 2

Chapter Four, one can see that the episodes that illustrated Mary’s ability to influence Christ and even overpower his judgments were antithetical to Protestant beliefs about Christ’s authority. In these examples, her role was virtually a co-redemptrix alongside Jesus, and any sense of hyperdulia would be condemned within Protestant communities. Before Martin Luther (1486-1546) nailed his 95 theses to the church door of Wittenberg, he was a staunch Marian devotee and affirmed Mary’s role as mediatrix, noting, “The Virgin Mary remains in the middle between Christ and humankind.” 3 Such an observation was in line with medieval theologians, who for centuries viewed Mary as the most effective channel between supplicants and Christ. Yet, Luther’s attitude changed when he launched a series of polemical attacks that condemned the corruption of the Church. Although Luther’s critiques against the Catholic Church were largely aimed at practices like simony and the sale of indulgences, he also took issue with those who elevated Mary to be a co-redemptrix, observing, “It was not enough that they venerated the saints and praised God in them, but they actually made them into gods. They put that noble child, the mother Mary, right into the place of Christ.” 4 His criticism of how Marian devotion threatened to overshadow Christ prefigured other reformers’ attitudes towards the preiminent status assigned to Mary. Martin Luther and other reformers did not dismiss Mary’s role entirely but sought to carefully reshape it according to the beliefs of these new Protestant sects. 5 Although the initial reaction of Protestant reformers was to Ibid., xxv. Martin Luther, “In die conceptionis Mariae Matris Dei,” cited by Dave Armstrong, Martin Luther: Catholic Critical Analysis and Praise (Raleigh, NC: Lulu Press, Inc., 2013). 4 Luther’s 1521 Commentary on the Magnificat expressed Luther’s belief in Mary as Theotokos and perpetual virgin, despite his polemical attacks on excessive devotion to the Virgin Mary, upheld the beliefs of Mary as Theotokos and maintained her perpetual virginity. Sarah Jane Boss, Empress and Handmaid, 58. 5 Diarmaid MacCulloch, “Mary and Sixteenth-Century Protestants,” in The Church and Mary (Studies in Church History), ed. R.N. Swanson, (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2004): 191-217. 2 3

257 strip away many Marian elements from Protestant worship, Bridget Heal’s The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany claims that the Protestant Church did seek to maintain some Marian-centric practices in this new age of reform. Additionally, there were areas in Germany that remained overtly Catholic and participated in a diverse set of Marian devotional practices. 6 While the Reformation originated in Germany, we also ought to consider England’s attitudes toward Mary in the sixteenth century as evidence of how polarizing she had become within the area previously known for its numerous and varied expressions of Marian devotion. The Virgin Mary and all forms of devotion to her went from a fifteenth-century zenith to a sixteenth-century nadir in the wake of the English Reformation. Like other reformers who wrote scathing attacks concerning Mariolatry, Anglican Bishop of Worcester Hugh Latimer (14871555) observed: Here is confounded and overthrown the foolish opinion of the papists, which would have us to worship a creature before the Creator; Mary before her Son. These wise men do not so; they worship not Mary; and wherefore? Because God only is to be worshipped: but Mary is not God. 7 Alongside the English reformers who raised their concerns in a series of polemical tracts, popular reactions condemning excessive Marian devotion culminated in a series of Marian statues being set on fire in the summer of 1538. These statues were deemed to be “the devil’s instrument” and accordingly, one record noted, “the Image of Our Lady of Walsingham was taken and burnt along with her other ‘sisters.’” 8 These iconoclastic bonfires were just one aspect

Bridget Heal, “Images of the Virgin Mary and Marian devotion in Protestant Nuremberg,” in Religion and Superstition in Reformation Europe, eds. Bill Naphy and Helen Parish (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003); 25-46; Bridget Heal, The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern German: Protestant and Catholic Piety, 1500-1648 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). 7 Hugh Latimer, The Works of Hugh Latimer, ed. George Elwes Corrie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1845), 153. 8 Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 404. 6

258 of English revolts against excesses associated with Marian devotion. The popular shrine of Our 9

Lady of Walsingham, the premier Marian shrine in England since approximately 1061, had its priory suppressed in 1538, concurrent with the suppression of monasteries throughout England. 10 Subsequently, the shrine was looted, burned, and largely destroyed until both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church collaborated to ensure its restoration in the beginning of the twentieth century. This radical transformation of attitudes towards Mary was not solely confined to new Protestant sects. Sixteenth-century Catholicism also responded to the late medieval depictions of Mary in a varying series of reactions, as evidenced across devotional, polemic, and other written materials.

The Rebuttal: Defending Mary’s Place in Catholic Devotion The criticisms levied against excessive Marian devotion did not just stem from Protestant reformers. After making two pilgrimages to the shrine at Walsingham in 1512 and 1514, Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) wrote a satirical colloquy Peregrinatio religionis ergo (Pilgrimage for Religion’s Sake) that ridiculed numerous elements of zealous Marian devotion. 11 In viewing numerous reliquaries purported to contain vials of Mary’s breastmilk, he mockingly wondered how a mother of just one child could have produced enough milk to fill so many vials. Erasmus’s pointed commentary further reiterated the disparate attitudes towards Marian Boyarin, Miracles of the Virgin, 164-170; Gary Waller, Walsingham and the English Imagination, 1-38; Gary Waller, The Virgin Mary in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Literature and Popular Culture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 1-28. 10 The origin story of the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham is located in the “Pynson Ballad,” printed in 1496, which told the story of construction of the Lady Chapel in 1061, when Mary appeared to a wealthy widow named Richelde. The shrine not only garnered popular interest, but also attracted a long line of royal figures who made the pilgrimage to East Anglia, beginning with King Henry III of England in 1226, followed by King Edward I who visited it 11 times. Henry VIII himself visited Walsingham before denouncing the Catholic faith. Waller, Walsingham and the English Imagination, 1-6. 11 Desiderius Erasmus, “Pilgrimage for Religion’s Sake,” in The Colloquies of Erasmus, trans. Craig R. Thompson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), 289-291. 9

devotion, even among Catholics.

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Just as there was an enormous transformation of Mary’s role within various Protestant confessions, Marian devotion continued to change within the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, both in terms of popular practices and ecclesiastical commentary. For example, the rosary confraternities that emerged in the late fifteenth century became one of the most popular Marian practices in the early modern period. 13 With the advent of the printing press, rosary woodcuts made this practice much more widespread and accessible. 14 Moreover, it represented a lay-centric practice that the clergy did not heavily regulate. Alongside this popular tradition, the sixteenth century witnessed the beginning of several religious movements that made Marian devotion central to their organizations. 15 When St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) underwent his religious conversion, he laid down his sword at the shrine of the Black Madonna at Montserrat, thus cementing the Society of Jesus’s devotion to the Mother of God. After receiving approval from Pope Paul III in 1540 to form the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits made their first vows in front of an image of Mary at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in Rome. Since then, Jesuits make both their novitiate and final vows “before the most sacred Virgin Mary and the whole court of heaven.” The Jesuits, the largest religious order to emerge in the aftermath of the Reformation, also supported the development of lay Ignatian groups such as the Sodality of Our Lady, a Marian Society founded Paul Williams, “The English Reformers and the Blessed Virgin Mary,” in Mary: The Complete Resource, ed. Sarah Jane Boss, (London: Continuum, 2007), 238-255. 13 Anne Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997); Anne Dillon, “Praying by Number: The Confraternity of the Rosary and the English Catholic Community, c.1580–1700,” History 88 (2003): 451–471. 14 Rubin, Mother of God, 332-338. 15 In addition to religious movements that continued to promulgate the cult of Mary, Catholic monarchs like Queen Isabella of Castile (1451-1504) viewed Mary’s triumphant image in the Assumption as emblematic of the tri-fold endeavors of the Iberian peninsula: crusade, conversion, and conquest. Accordingly, images of Mary were placed on banners carried into battle when Granada fell in 1492, and visual works that depicted “The Triumph of Mary” were popular throughout Spain. Ibid., 379-385. 12

260 by Jesuit Jean Luinis. The Jesuits and their various offshoots produced scores of volumes on 16

Marian theology and supported the development of new Marian devotional practices. Christians continued to make pilgrimages en masse to Marian shrines. One late medieval Marian shrine that transcended its geographical location in its influence was the shrine of Our Lady of Loreto. For centuries, Mary’s house in Nazareth was treated as a locus sancti, particularly once Empress Helena made a pilgrimage there in 336 and declared that a basilica ought to be erected over the original house. Then in 1291, amid the threat of the Turks attacking the surrounding area and potentially destroying the house, it was believed that angels transported it to a hilltop near the Croatian town of Trsat for three years. But, according to the legend, the people of Trsat did not venerate Mary properly, and so the house moved again. It flew over the Adriatic, and landed in the forest near Recanati on December 10, 1294, where it rested there for only eight months. Its final flight was on December 12, 1295, and the house landed on property owned by a woman named Laureta. The Recanatese went into the house and discovered a painting of the Virgin Mary. Mary then appeared to the people and confirmed that this was the place where she was immaculately conceived and met the angel Gabriel. By the fifteenth century, Loreto became the most famous shrine in the Marches. In 1375, Pope Gregory XI offered a papal indulgence to pilgrims who visited Loreto, which marked the beginning of several centuries of papal involvement with the shrine. 17 In 1554, the Jesuits became the official

R. Po-chia Hsia, The World of Catholic Renewal, 1540-1770 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 202. 17 While many pilgrims had associated the house with Mary’s house in Nazareth, it was not until 1507 that Pope Julius II issued a papal bull, In Sublimia, confirming the privileges of the shrine. Other popes who played important roles in developing Loreto included Nicholas V, Pius II, Paul II, Innocent VIII, Julius II, Leo X, Paul III, and Sixtus V. In the bull, Julius stated that it was believed to be Mary’s room from Nazareth, but did not explicitly state that the shrine was the Holy House of Nazareth. This belief was viewed as pious opinion (ut pie creditur et fama est), and Julius did not official endorse the fantastical claim. Some Protestants ridiculed Loreto, and found fault with both its controversial origin story as well as the ostentatious ornamentation of the house. Karin Vélez, “Resolved to Fly: The 16

261 shrine confessors, and it was believed that by 1575, 60,000 penitents annually made use of these confessors. The Jesuits even incorporated Loreto into their Asian and Latin American missions, naming towns after the shrine and dedicating new Loretan shrines around the world. 18 A catalyst for Marian devotion in North America occurred on December 9, 1531, when Juan Diego, a Mexican peasant, saw an apparition of a maiden at the Hill of Tepeyac (near present-day Mexico City) who identified herself as the “mother of the very true deity” and instructed him to build a church in her honor. Juan told the archbishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, about this miraculous event, who sought material proof. Following several subsequent apparitions, Mary told Juan to collect flowers (usually impossible in the winter) and gather them in his tilma, or cloak. When he presented his tunic before the archbishop, the previously plain tilma now displayed an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. A chapel was quickly built to house the cloak, and the cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe marked the beginning of a vibrant tradition of Marian devotion in Latin America. 19 Alongside new popular expressions of Marian devotion, the Catholic Church as an institution sought to affirm Mary’s place in the celestial hierarchy. The Council of Trent (15451563) upheld many medieval practices that elicited criticism from Protestants: pilgrimage, the

Virgin of Loreto, the Jesuits & the Miracle of Portable Catholicism in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World),” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 2008), 1-5. 18 Rubin, Mother of God, 396. Karin Vélez, “Catholic Missions to the Americas,” The Ashgate Research Companion to the Counter-Reformation (New York: Ashgate Publishing, 2013), 147-155. 19 Gretchen D. Starr-LeBeau, In the Shadow of the Virgin: Inquisitors, Friars, and Conversos in Guadalupe, Spain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003); Peter Linehan, “The Beginnings of Santa María de Guadalupe and the Direction of Fourteenth-Century Castile,” The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 36.2 (1985): 284–304; Amy Remensnyder, “The Colonization of Sacred Architecture: The Virgin Mary, Mosques, and Temples in Medieval Spain and Early Sixteenth-Century Mexico,” in Monks and Nuns, Saints and Outcasts: Religious Expression and Social Meaning in the Middle Ages, eds. Sharon Farmer and Barbara Rosenwein (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000), 189-219.

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veneration of saints and relics, and the veneration of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church

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also promoted new Marian feasts in the sixteenth century, including the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the Battle of Lepanto in October 7, 1571. When an Ottoman fleet attacked the Holy League, a Christian alliance comprised of Spain, Venice, and the papal forces, the Christian ships raised a banner with an image of the Virgin, brandishing her as a spiritual weapon against the Ottomans. Their ensuing victory was widely attributed to Mary’s intervention. Consequently, Pope Pius V (r. 1566-1572) declared October 7 to be the feast day of Our Lady of Victory, framing Mary as a victorious military leader worthy of special veneration. 21 In 1572, Pope Gregory XIII (r. 1572-1585) renamed the feast Our Lady of the Rosary, in acknowledgement of the many Christians in Rome who fervently recited the rosary on the day of the Lepanto victory. 22 Like previous eras that created new kinds of devotional practices and written expressions of Marian devotion, the sixteenth century witnessed a series of new shrines, religious orders, and proliferation of church doctrine all surrounding the specific role of the Virgin Mary in the Church. These brief remarks on how both Protestants and Catholics viewed Mary in the sixteenth century are just observations on the changing status of Marian devotion. They serve as context for understanding how the representation of Mary’s voice changed in the early modern period.

Evolving Themes: How the Early Modern World Reshaped Mary’s Voice Although the planctus texts analyzed in Chapter One highlighted the diverging Although iconoclasm and whitewashing of churches were pervasive in some Protestant sects, the Council of Trent reaffirmed religious imagery used in churches, particularly images of the Virgin Mary. John W. O’Malley, Trent: What Happened at the Council (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013). 21 Amy Remensnyder has discussed the Battle of Lepanto at length to prove how Mary served as an effective rallying figure for battle, particularly used by crusading imagery against Muslim forces. Amy G. Remensnyder, “Christian Captives, Muslim Maidens, and Mary,” Speculum 82.3 (Jul., 2007): 642-677. 22 Hugh Bicheno, Crescent and Cross: The Battle of Lepanto, 1571 (London: Cassell, 2003). 20

263 representations of Mary’s role at the Passion in the later Middle Ages, interest in understanding and depicting Mary’s experience during the Passion only continued to grow in the sixteenth century. Mary’s suffering at the Crucifixion remained a popular issue within devotional materials, but Catholic preachers debated the extent to which Mary’s suffering was bodily, or whether there was also a physical connection between Mary and Jesus during the Crucifixion. Instead of viewed as co-passio, co-sufferer of the Crucified Christ, Mary was once again relegated to the background. According to Genevan bishop and mystical writer St. Frances de Sales (1561-1622), it was her “perfect submission” to God’s plan at the Crucifixion that made Mary exemplary, and her silence indicated her inward grief and inner communication between a mother and son. 23 Articulating a similar opinion, Italian Jesuit and Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) viewed Mary’s silence as the result of anguish, and also attributed Jesus’s silence to grief noting, “I indeed believe that the tongues of both were as mute because of such great sorrow, and that they were able to speak either not at all or only a little; but nevertheless the natural affection of the son was able to say a great deal to the heart of the Virgin.” 24 Her mute response made her an appropriate model for women contemplating the Seven Sorrows of the Passion. Bellarmine believed that for the rest of her life, Mary kept to herself, living a quiet, prayerful life. Moreover, as Donna Ellington noted in her study on changes in Marian sermons from the later Middle Ages to the early modern period, “The Virgin of the late Middle Ages was rather different from the quiet, passive Virgin who will emerge in Catholic preaching after the Council of Trent.” 25 The nuanced interpretations of Mary’s role in the Passion indicates that there was neither a

Ellington, From Sacred Body to Angelic Soul, 142-143. Ibid., 198. 25 Ibid., 143. 23 24

monolithic depiction of Mary’s planctus in the later Middle Ages nor in the early modern era.

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Although the miracle collections examined in Chapter Two framed Mary as an effective teacher equipped to offer instruction on devotional practices, it was no longer suitable in the sixteenth century to position Mary in such a dominant, active role in education. 26 Education remained available for some women at the dawn of the early modern period. 27 Protestants diminished Mary’s pedagogical abilities. She was no longer praised as an exemplary teacher but as a model homemaker. Sixteenth-century reformers asserted that Mary’s “skills” were rooted in her motherhood, not in her exegetical proficiency, verbal eloquence, or pedagogical capabilities. 28 Shedding her role as teacher, the social conservatism of the Lutheran movement required a different representation of Mary. This change in representation also occluded some theological concerns about Mary’s unique and powerful role. In Protestant textual depictions, Mary maintained her approachability as a mother, but solely within a domestic context. Instead of the rich intellectual qualities that so many medieval theologians attributed to her, such as

Suzanne W. Hull, Chaste, Silent, and Obedient: English Books for Women, 1475-1640 (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1982); Kenneth Charlton, Women, Religion and Education in Early Modern England (New York: Routledge, 2002); Catherine R. Eskin, “The Rei(g)ning of Women’s Tongues in English Books of Instruction and Rhetoric,” in Women’s Education in Early Modern Europe: A History, 1500-1800, ed. Barbara J. Whitehead (New York: Garland, 1999), 101-132; Margaret L. King and Albert Rabil Jr., eds. Teaching Other Voices: Women and Religion in Early Modern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008); Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe, 3rd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 141-173. 27 More opportunities for women to teach existed within heretical communities, particularly among the Lollards. In contesting St. Paul’s concern about women’s authority to teach, fourteenth-century Lollard writer Walter Brut insisted that “Paul does not state that women are not able to teach or to exercises authority over men – nor do I presume to affirm it, since women, devout virgins, have steadfastly preached the word of God and have converted many people while priests dared not speak a word.” Alcuin Blamires, “Beneath the Pulpit,” in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Women’s Writing, eds. Carolyn Dinshaw and David Wallace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 146; Shannon McSheffrey, “Literacy and the Gender Gap in the Late Middle Ages: Women and Reading in Lollard Communities,” in Women, the Book and the Godly, eds. Lesley Smith and Jane J.M. Taylor (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1995), 157-70. 28 For more on the subject of women authors and book-owners in the later Middle Ages, see Kimberly M. Benedict, Empowering Collaborations: Writing Partnerships between Religious Women and Scribes in the Middle Ages (New York: Routledge, 2004); David Linton, “Reading the Virgin Reader,” in The Book and the Magic of Reading in the Middle Ages, ed. Albrecht Classen (New York: Garland, 1999), 253–276; Joan M. Ferrante, “The Education of Women in the Middle Ages in Theory, Fact, and Fantasy,” in Beyond their Sex: Learned Women of the European Past, ed. Patricia H. Labalme (New York: New York University Press, 1980): 9-43. 26

265 sedes sapientiae or magistra apostolorum, Luther characterized Mary as an ordinary hausfrau: “She seeks not any glory, but goes about her meals and her usual household duties, milking the cows, cooking the meals, washing pots and kettles, sweeping out the rooms, and performing the work of a maidservant or housemother in lowly and despised tasks.” 29 Luther viewed Mary’s rightful place as firmly planted in the home, focused on the domestic tasks expected of her as a wife. Luther also went on to note that he did not imagine Mary reading scripture at the time of the Annunciation, but instead completing household tasks or praying quietly. 30 Beyond Luther, Protestant reformers did not view the Mother of God as infused with divine wisdom. 31 Lutheran Bishop Johannes Wigand (1523-1587) went so far as to note in a sermon that Mary was a “weak, stupid human being, just like other people.” 32 Mary was reduced to a docile mother whose unyielding obedience was her hallmark. In tracing Protestant texts that emphasized her simplicity, Donna Ellington observed, “She is more distanced from the action, more spiritualized, more passive, and much more silent:” a necessary corollary to sola scriptura. 33 According to Protestant teaching, Mary did not offer instruction directly, but Christians sought to imitate her more quiet attributes. This was a much more impassive construction, where she modeled silent learning and less active engagement. Mary’s maternal authority remained important but her privileged role of teaching was confined to smaller matters of the home. Fashioning themselves after Mary’s quiet obedience, early modern mothers taught Martin Luther, The Sermon on the Mount (sermons) and the Magnificat, trans. Albert T.W. Steinhaeuser, in Luther’s Works, vol. 21 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1956), 323. 30 Kreitzer, Reforming Mary, 17; Peter Newman Brooks, “A Lily Ungilded? Martin Luther, the Virgin Mary and the Saints,” Journal of Religious History, 13 (1984): 136–149; Christine Peters, Patterns of Piety: Women, Gender and Religion in Late Medieval and Reformation England (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003) 31 Additionally, Protestants did not claim that she was highly educated in the Temple as a young girl: likely because they rejected the apocrypha. 32 Cited in Kreitzer, Reforming Mary, 31. A popular German woodcut depicted Mary entering the classroom with Jesus, insinuating that she placed his instruction in the care of a formal teacher, instead of maintaining her role as maternal educator. 33 Ellington, From Sacred Body to Angelic Soul, 263. 29

their children simple lessons from the Bible and matters concerning moral behavior. This

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increased emphasis on Mary’s role as a hausmutter was not only related to Mary’s reduced educational role, but applied to changing dynamics within marriage as well. The Corpus Christi plays, particularly in regards to the representations of the Virgin Mary as a powerful wife discussed in Chapter Three, became an abandoned practice in the wake of the English Reformation. It was during the reign of Edward VI (r. 1547-1553) that the Marian pageants ceased to be performed within the larger mystery plays, effectively silencing Mary’s role in the Corpus Christi cycles. Soon after, in 1548, the Corpus Christi feast day was abolished in England. The Marian pageants had their last sixteenth-century performances under the rule of Catholic Queen Mary (r. 1553-1558), and were suppressed once again during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603). In the wake of the English Reformation and amidst revolts over an overly Marian-centric culture, the pageants that praised Mary’s knowledge ceased to be performed. The early modern suppression of the Marian pageants does not negate their cultural penetration in medieval society. Rather, this elimination suggests that the English monarchy regarded them as influential enough about the role of Mary that they could not co-exist alongside the new Church of England, which took a pronounced step away from worshipping the Virgin Mary. However, the end of the Marian pageants marked the end of an era when Mary’s performed voice had infiltrated the public sphere in this annual tradition. Additionally, the cult of Joseph grew in popularity in the early modern period, alongside a major change in how he was portrayed in both devotional texts and visual images. This shift was a departure from representations of Joseph as an old man struggling to understand Mary’s

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pregnancy to a more virile, accessible father and husband. It was an inversion of Mary and

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Joseph’s late medieval personae: one’s strength grew as the other’s diminished. This change occurred in an era when women became progressively subordinated to their husbands, which has been documented in theological, legal, and cultural sources. 35 Chapter Four examined Mary’s role as intercessor and explored particularly the more vengeful, powerful nature of Mary’s intercession. Protestant reformers, who were staunchly in favor of Christocentric devotion, could not support Mary in so powerful an intercessory position, not least because such intercession undermined predestination and the eternal decree. 36 Protestant attacked the cult of saints, and given Mary’s powerful role within the celestial hierarchy, the attacks on Mary’s status should not come as a surprise. After mining Lutheran sermons on the Virgin Mary, Beth Kreitzer concluded “She no longer serves as the powerful Queen of Heaven, but is only held up and praised as a meek, pious, chaste, and obedient girl…Mary could no longer be portrayed as an active figure, but rather must serve as a passive representative of the faithful Christian.” 37 Of course, the Catholic Church in affirming Mary’s importance at the Council of Trent and also continued to support Mary’s role as mediatrix. Dyan Elliott has argued that “there is little question” about how the strength of Joseph’s burgeoning cult impacted the transformation of Mary’s persona into a more obedient, submissive figure on the eve of the early modern period. Elliott, Spiritual Marriage, 180. For more on the transformation of Joseph’s cult, see Brian Patrick McGuire, “When Jesus did the Dishes: Jean Gerson and the Transformation of Late Medieval Spirituality” in The Making of Christian Communities, ed. Mark F. Williams (London: Anthem Press, 2005), 131-152; Brian Patrick McGuire, Jean Gerson and the Last Medieval Reformation (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 2010); Carolyn C. Wilson, St. Joseph in Italian Renaissance Art and Literature: New Directions and Interpretations (Philadelphia: St. Joseph’s University Press, 2001). 35 During this era, the husband’s authority was increasingly vast and widely authorized. Silvana Seidel Menchi and Emlyn Eisenach, Marriage in Europe, 1400-1800 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016); Laura A. Smoller, “Holy Mothers: The History of a Designation of Spiritual Status,” Piety and Family in Early Modern Europe: Essays in Honour of Steven Ozment, eds, Marc R. Forster and Benjamin J. Kaplan, (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2005): 178-200; Lyndal Roper, The Holy Household: Women and Morals in Reformation Augsburg (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989). 36 Sarah Jane Boss notes that Catholic Reformation materials increasingly sought to represent Christ and Mary separately. Yet, Jesuit theologian Peter Canisius viewed Mary as the neck or bridge between Christ and the body of the church. Boss, Empress and Handmaid, 56-60. 37 Kreitzer, Reforming Mary, 25. 34

Narratives that described the victory at the Battle of Lepanto, praised Mary’s effective

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intercession as instrumental to the Holy League’s success, and thus brought Mary’s mediatrix role into the early modern world. In terms of both theological texts and expressions of religious devotion, the sixteenth century was largely characterized by contrasting responses to calls for reform on both sides of the confessional divide. Additionally, sixteenth-century Catholicism was challenged to either affirm certain positions about Mary’s place or create new traditions that adapted to a new wave of piety in the wake of the Counter Reformation. Representations of Mary’s voice changed in this new age of religious devotion. While late medieval sources took many liberties in ascribing great power and agency to Mary’s voice, this trend did not wholly persist in the sixteenth century. In many parts of Europe, Mary’s voice no longer resonated with the authority that characterized her as an outspoken matriarch in the later Middle Ages but was fundamentally subdued to adhere to socio-cultural expectations that women’s voices and roles were to be regulated and subordinated within a largely patriarchal society. The change in textual representation should give us pause and cause us to consider the broader historical implications surrounding the changing representations of Mary’s voice in textual sources. Her voice was neither silenced nor suppressed completely, but this shift from a roar to a whisper engenders a deeper appreciation of how profoundly and intricately Mary and her voice colored the landscape of medieval Christian spirituality.

Appendix The Voice of Mary in the Bible 1 The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren. Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Visitation and Magnificat (Luke 1:39-56) And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Judah. And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. And she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy. As he spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months. And she returned to her own house. All biblical references draw from The Vulgate Bible: Douay-Rheims translation, eds. Edgar Swift, and Angela M. Kinney (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010). I have bolded the excerpts where Mary speaks.

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Jesus and the Doctors in the Temple (Luke 2:42-52) And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem. And his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day’s journey and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my father’s business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace with God and men. The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them: Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it. And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water: the chief steward calleth the bridegroom, And saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

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