Session 623: Monastic Virtues: Objects of Reflexion and Symbolization
Tuesday 11 July 2006, 11.15-12.45
|Sonderforschungsbereich 'Institutionalität und Geschichtlichkeit', Technische Universität, Dresden
|Markus Schürer, Abteilung Mittelalterliche Geschichte, Institut für Geschichte, Technische Universität, Dresden
|Monk's Hair as a Symbol of Humility, Penitence, and Contempt for the World
Index terms: Monasticism
|Wiping the Feet of Jesus with her Hair: Sexuality and Penitence in the Story of Luke’s Sinful Woman, as Seen by Ephrem and other Syriac Writers
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Sexuality, Women’s Studies
|Spiritual Mourning and Holy Sorrow: Fourteenth-Century Elaborations on Two Ancient Monastic Concepts
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Language and Literature - Greek
Abstract paper -a: This paper focuses on the symbolic illustration of these three associative categories of the monastic, virtuous pattern of life in the Cluniac-moulded communities and in the order of the Cistercians. The time-frame begins in the 11th century and finishes at the early 13th century. The paper looks first at the traditional Benedictine customs and the Cistercian normative texts, complemented by theological reflections on co-evals like Honorius Augustodunensis, or the Anonymus of Petershausen.
Abstract paper -b: This paper explores some of the many homilies in the Syriac tradition which treat of the so-called Sinful Woman, who bathes the feet of Jesus with her tears of penitent grief, and dries them with her hair. Her actions recall the anointing at Bethany, the symbolic exemplification of Christ’s humanity and divinity, his kingship and passion. These Syriac exegetes give the Biblical figure a voice to debate with a personified figure of Satan (as in medieval mystery plays). Her actions illustrate the mingling of grief and joy, and the paper explores issues of the sterility of sin and the fecundity of penitence.
Abstract paper -c: Mourning (penthos) and holy sorrow are essential features of a number of religious and especially monastic treatises since, at least, the efflorescence of Patristic writing in the 4th Century, but it was St John Climacus who about a century later on extolled spiritual mourning and holy sorrow, placing them at the centre of a theory of emotions intended to provide a ladder to heaven. St John Climacus was the foundation on whom later theologians, particularly 14th-Century Quietists, built their concepts of spiritual mourning (penthos) and lype, through which an altered mental and emotional state becomes possible. This altered state must be concurrent with a certain discernment (diakrisis), the ability to distinguish between the sorrow that emanates from this world and holy sorrow proper.