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IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 1508: When Bad Mothers Go Good: Violent Gestures in Vision and Miracle Stories

Thursday 13 July 2006, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Anna Taylor, Department of History, University of Texas, Austin
Moderator/Chair:Anneke B. Mulder-Bakker, Opleiding Nederlandse Taal en Cultuur, Universiteit Leiden
Paper 1508-aThe Virgo and the Virga: Filiation in Prose and Metric Vitae from around the Year 1000
(Language: English)
Anna Taylor, Department of History, University of Texas, Austin
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Latin, Monasticism
Paper 1508-bThe Virgin, the Baby, and the Knife: Sacrifice and Self-Sacrifice in Late 12th-Century Cistercian Exempla
(Language: English)
Martha Newman, Department of History, University of Texas, Austin
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Monasticism, Religious Life
Paper 1508-cButchering Mother and Healing Saint: Dismembered Child and Remembered Schism in the Nascent Cult of Vincent Ferrer (d. 1419)
(Language: English)
Laura Ackerman Smoller, Department of History, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Index terms: Art History - Painting, Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography

The three papers in this panel explore miracle narratives from the11th through the 15th centuries in which mothers cut up, cook, or beat their children. The male authors of these accounts do not criticise these seemingly cruel mothers. Rather they use them as symbols: the mothers stand for a small abbey’s overbearing mother house, a priest modelling renunciation for a male monastic community, and mater ecclesia respectively. Drawing on diverse sources, including art, archaeology, poetry, hagiography, and exempla stories, we examine the complicated ways that male authors used violent maternal gestures to discuss sanctity, communal identity, and devotional practice.