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IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 127: Religious Writing in Later Medieval England (and Spain)

Monday 13 July 2009, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Valerie Allen, Department of English, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Paper 127-aThe Devil in Disguise: Incarnational Poetics in Three Middle English Miracles of the Virgin
(Language: English)
Barbara Zimbalist, Department of English, University of California, Davis
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Lay Piety
Paper 127-bJulian of Norwich's Passionate Trinity
(Language: English)
Donna Ray, Department of History, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Religious Life, Theology, Women's Studies
Paper 127-cThe York Cycle and Fisterra Resurrection Plays: A Comparative Study
(Language: English)
Cristina Mourón-Figueroa, Departamento de Filoloxía Inglesa e Alemá, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Performance Arts - Drama

Paper -a:
This paper examines problematic incarnation in three Middle English Miracles of the Virgin. Each text fosters Marian devotion by showcasing the Virgin's defeat of a deceptively incarnated Satan, raising questions about discernment and veracity that evoke complex theological responses. These Marian miracles elicit a specific reading practice: by representing temporarily incarnated otherworldly figures, the structure of each text activates contradictory modes of interpretation. The structure of each narrative imitates Incarnation theology while thematically referencing debates over the incarnation and the redemption, thereby requiring a poetics of interpretation that is itself learned through the process of reading the Marian miracle.

Paper -b:
Julian of Norwich's various and innovative uses of 'Mother' when speaking of the Trinity provide not only a fresh vision of God but new possibilities for one's relationship to God - a relationship in which God's transcendence and immanence, and God's knowability and inscrutability, are held in balance. In her imaginative way, Julian maintained the central tenets of orthodox Trinitarian theology. At the same time, she represented a shift in medieval spirituality, moving away from the abstract God crystallized in scholastic doctrine and opening the way for a more dynamic, fluid, and passionate understanding of the Godhead - especially in its threeness.

Paper -c:
The Resurrection of Christ plays an essential and central role not only in the History of Human Redemption but also in the dramatic tradition of medieval Europe as part of the liturgy of Easter Sunday. The purpose of this paper is to compare the Resurrection episode of the York Cycle with the Resurrection Play of Fisterra (Galicia, Spain), paying special attention to the dramatic, performing, and socio-cultural elements. Both plays functioned not only as mere audiovisual shows to entertain the medieval people but also as vehicles to transmit the dogma of the Resurrection to a basically illiterate audience.