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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 602: Spatial Practices: Dividing and Joining Together

Tuesday 7 July 2020, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Alison Locke Perchuk, Department of Art, California State University, Channel Islands
Paper 602-aThe Hagioscopes of Gotland: Seeing, Sinners, and Spatial Stratification
(Language: English)
Karl Lysén, Historiska institutionen Stockholms Universitet
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Mentalities, Social History, Theology
Paper 602-bTowards a Theology of the Cell
(Language: English)
Spencer Jacob Weinreich, Faculty of Theology & Religion, University of Oxford
Index terms: Monasticism, Religious Life, Theology

Paper -a:
The hagioscope - a small tunnel or opening usually set at eye-level in a church wall - is a device that appears in Europe during the late medieval period. This paper aims to discuss why the hagioscope appeared, when it did and how it may have been used, using several examples from the Swedish island of Gotland. Two themes will be discussed that might create a conceptual understanding of the hagioscope: first as a physical boundary, or spatial division, in a church room resulting from changes in theology and liturgy, and secondly; in the context of a medieval discourse on visuality.

Paper -b:
Through an extensive reading of Bernardo Gui's Practica, a handbook for papal inquisitors, this paper explores the inquisitorial prison - and especially the solitary cell - as a religious space. It argues that Gui and his colleagues were repurposing monastic spaces and spatial practices, particularly solitary contemplation and the penitential cell, to further the penance of the heretic. Inspired by Valerie Flint’s analysis of Benedictine spatial practice and Andrew Roach's study of inquisitorial penance, the paper argues for a revaluation of the medieval prison cell as a site of personal transformation and as the front-line of the Church’s spiritual discipline.