A Gothic Sermon: Making a Contract with the Mother of God, Saint Mary of Amiens
University of California Press, 2004 M11 1 - 190 pages
In this groundbreaking work, Stephen Murray seizes a rare opportunity to explore the relationship between verbal and visual culture by presenting a sermon that may have been preached during the second half of the thirteenth century in or near the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Amiens, whose sculptural program was completed at about the same time. In addition to providing a complete transcription and translation of the text, Murray examines the historical context of the sermon and draws comparisons between its underlying structure and the Gothic portals of the cathedral. In the sermon, as in the cathedral, he finds a powerful motivational mechanism that invites the repentant sinner to enter into a new contract with the Virgin Mary.
The correlation between elements of the sermon's text and the sculptural components of the cathedral leads to an exploration of the socioeconomic conditions in Picardy at the time and a vivid sketch of how the cathedral and its images were used by ordinary people. The author finds parallels in the rhetorical tools used in the sermon, on the one hand, and stylistic and compositional tools used in the sculpture, on the other. In addition to providing a fascinating and cogent consideration of medieval beliefs about salvation and redemption, this book also lays the groundwork for a long overdue examination of the performative and textual in relationship to sculpture.
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Occasions and Audience
Structure and Content
Rhetorical Strategies The Art of Persuasion
Portals and Preaching Image and Word
Looking for Reality
Text and Translation
Sources Quoted in the Sermon
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Common terms and phrases
Adam amis apostles audience avoir Bele douce gent believe bien bishop blessed bone cathedral cele central certes ceste Christ church commandment confession congregation d'Amiens dame dieu dist earth embrasure fait figures followed gathered gentlefolk give God's Gothic grant hand heaven hell holy images Lady lead listen lively Lord Mary of Amiens medieval Mother n'en nostre segneur Notre-Dame oaths offers pains paradise pardon Paris parole pechié Peter Pierre plate portal pray preacher preaching priest promise prophets purgatory qu'il receive relation repentance rhetorical sachiés Saint Mary scriptures sculpture segneur sends sermon seur sinner sins sire souls South portal suffer sweet tell terre tout true trumeau truth tympanum verité Virgin woman women