Syllabus 2019

Heaven and hell, angels and demons, the Virgin Mary and the devil battling over the state of human souls, the world on the edge of apocalypse awaiting the coming of the Judge and the resurrection of the dead, the transubstantiation of bread and wine into body and blood, the great adventures of the saints. As Rudolf Bultmann put it in his summary of the “world picture” of the New Testament, “all of this is mythological talk,” arguably unnecessary for Christian theology. And yet, without its mythology, much of Christianity become incomprehensible as a religious or symbolic system. This course is intended as an introduction to the stories that medieval Christians told about God, his Mother, the angels, and the saints, along with the place of the sacraments and miracles in the world picture of the medieval church. Sources will range from Hugh of St. Victor’s summa on the sacraments, Guido of Monte Rochen’s handbook for parish priests and Hildegard of Bingen’s visionary Scivias to the Pseudo-Bonaventuran Meditations on the Life of Christ, Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend, instructions for summoning angels and the York cycle of mystery plays. Emphasis will also be given to the way in which these stories were represented in art.

Books available for purchase from the Seminary Co-op Bookstore

Anselm of Canterbury, The Prayers and Meditations, with the Proslogion, trans. Sister Benedicta Ward (London: Penguin Classics, 1979) [ISBN 978-0140442786] [BX2110.A57 1979]
Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, trans. Mother Columba Hart (New York: Paulist Press, 1990) [ISBN 978-080913103] [BV5080 .H54130 1990]
Émile Mâle, Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century(alt. The Gothic Image), trans. Dora Nussey (first published New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1913) [ISBN Dover edition 978-0486410616] [N7949 .M3313 1972eb]
York Mystery Plays: A Selection in Modern Spelling, ed. Richard Beadle and Pamela King (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) [ISBN 978-0199552535] [PR1248.Y86 1984]

Recommended: Holy Bible: Douay-Rheims Version(Charlotte, N.C.: St. Benedict Press, 2009) [ISBN 978-1935302056]

Course requirements

1. Reading, attendance, and participation in class discussion (10% of your final grade)

2. Scriptural exegesis (2-3 pages, 10% of your final grade). Due January 23 in class. 

3. “Sermons” (three blog posts, 900-1200 words each, 35% of your final grade), reflecting on our class discussion for the day. Reflections must be posted within 48 hours of our class discussion (by Wednesday at 1:30pm for Monday discussions; by Friday at 1:30pm for Wednesday discussions). Blog address:

4. Final paper (8-10 pages, double-spaced, 45% of your final grade). Due March 20 in Canvas Dropbox. File format: YOURLASTNAME.pdf

Reading and discussion assignments

January 7 Myth
Rudolf Bultmann, “New Testament and Mythology: The Problem of Demythologizing the New Testament Proclamation” (1941), in New Testament and Mythology and Other Basic Writings(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989), pp. 1-43 [e-reserve]
C.S. Lewis, “The Funeral of a Great Myth,” and “Myth Became Fact” (1944), in Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces, ed. Lesley Walmsley (London: HarperCollins, 2000), pp. 22-32, 138-42 [e-reserve]
David B. Hart, “Christ and Nothing,” First Things136 (October 2003): 47-56 [e-reserve]

January 9 Creed
Guido of Monte Rochen, Handbook for Curates, trans. Anne T. Thayer (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2011), pp. 271-306 (“Basic Catechesis”) [BX1913.G8313 2011]
Dorothy Sayers, “The Dogma is the Drama,” and “Creed or Chaos?” in Christian Letters to a Post-Christian World, ed. Roderick Jellema (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), pp. 23-26, 31-45 [BT15.S27]

January 14 Heaven and earth
Revelation 1-22
Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.16.2, “The Trinity Apocalypse” 
Mâle, Religious Art, Introduction and Book I (“The Mirror of Nature”), pp. 1-63

January 16 The Temple of the Lord
Genesis 1-2
Psalms 2 and 109 (Septuagint/Vulgate numbering)
Exodus 25-40
1 Chronicles (Paralipomenon) 28-29
2 Chronicles (Paralipomenon) 1-8
Isaiah 6
Ezekiel 1 and 40-44
Letter to the Hebrews 1-13

Margaret Barker, Gate of Heaven: The History and Symbolism of the Temple in Jerusalem(London: SPCK, 1991), pp. 104-32 (“The Veil”) [DS109.3.B37 2008]
Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction(London: SPCK, 2004), pp. 13-32 (“Creation”) [BR129 .B37 2004]

January 21—NO CLASS

January 23 Made in the image and likeness of God
Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs I: Sermons 1-20, trans. Kilian Walsh, Cistercian Fathers Series 4 (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1981), sermons 1-4, pp. 1-24 [BS1485.B5 1971]
Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith, trans. Roy J. Deferrari (Cambridge, Mass.: Medieval Academy of America, 1951), book I, part VI (“On the creation of man”), pp. 93-120 [BX2200.H891Hathi Trust]

Caroline Walker Bynum,The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), pp. 156-99 (“Psychosomatic Persons and Reclothed Skeletons”) [BL87.A1L5 no. 15]
Mâle, Religious Art, Book III (“The Mirror of Morals”), pp. 98-130

January 28 Holy Heroes!
Anselm of Canterbury, Prayers nos. 8-16, trans. Ward, pp. 127-206
Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, trans. William Granger Ryan, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 1:374-83 (St. Mary Magdalen), 2:3-10 (St. James the Greater), 2:44-58 (St. Dominic), 2:272-80 (All Saints), 2:334-41 (St. Catherine) [BX4654.J3340 1993]

Rachel Fulton Brown, “Anselm and Praying with the Saints,” in Experiments in Empathy: The Middle Ages, ed. Karl Morrison and Rudolph M. Bell (Turnholt: Brepols, 2013), pp. 115-38 [ILL]
Mâle, Religious Art, Book IV, chapter IV (“The Saints of the Golden Legend”), pp. 267-331

January 30 Angels and archangels 
Pseudo-Dionysius, Celestial Hierarchy
Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments, trans. Deferrari, book I, part V (“On the creation of the angels”), pp. 74-93 [BX2200.H891Hathi Trust]
Honorius, The Sworne Booke
York Mystery Plays, ed. Beadle and King, pp. 1-7 (“The Barkers: The Fall of the Angels”)

Margaret Barker, Temple Mysticism: An Introduction(London: SPCK, 2011), pp. 63-96 (“The Many”) [BM655.B375 2011]

February 4 The Mother of the Lord
The Gospels: Luke 1; John 2
Anselm, Prayersnos. 5-7, trans. Ward, pp. 106-26
Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend, trans. Ryan, 1:196-202 (The Annunciation), 2:77-97 (The Assumption of the Virgin), 2:149-58 (The Nativity of the Virgin) [BX4654.J3340 1993]

Rachel Fulton Brown, Mary and the Art of Prayer: The Hours of the Virgin in Medieval Christian Life and Thought (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017), pp. 47-101 [BX2025.F85 2018]
Mâle, Religious Art, book IV, chapter III, sections VII-VIII (“Legends of the Virgin,” “Miracles of the Virgin”), pp. 231-66

February 6 God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Anselm, Proslogion, trans. Ward, pp. 238-67
Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments, trans. Deferrari, book I, part III (“On the Trinity”), pp. 41-61 [BX2200.H891Hathi Trust]

Rachel Fulton Brown, “Three-in-One: Making God in Twelfth-Century Liturgy, Theology, and Devotion,” in European Transformations: The Long Twelfth Century, ed. Thomas F.X. Noble and John Van Engen (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2012), pp. 468-97 [D201.8.E87 2012]

February 11 Incarnate Word
Anselm, Prayer no. 2 and Meditationsnos. 1-3, trans. Ward, pp. 93-99, 220-37
Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments, trans. Deferrari, book II, part I (“On the Incarnation of the Word”), pp. 205-53 [BX2200.H891Hathi Trust]

Rachel Fulton Brown, From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800-1200 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), pp. 170-92 [BT590.C85 F85 2002]

February 13 Old Testament
Genesis 3-9 and Exodus 1-14
York Mystery Plays, ed. Beadle and King, pp. 8-47 (“The Coopers: The Fall of Man,” “The Shipwrights: The Building of the Ark,” “The Fishers and Mariners: The Flood,” and “The Hosiers: Moses and Pharoah”)

Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, trans. Willard R. Trask (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953), pp. 143-73 (“Adam and Eve”) [PN56.R3A904]
Mâle, Religious Art, book IV, chapter I (“The Old Testament”), pp. 131-75; chapter III, section I (“Apocryphal Stories”), pp. 202-206

February 18 Nativity of the Lord
The Gospels: Matthew 1-2 and Luke 2
York Mystery Plays, ed. Beadle and King, pp. 48-97 (“The Pewterers and Founders: Joseph’s Trouble about Mary,” “The Tilethatchers: The Nativity,” “The Masons; the Goldsmiths: Herod and The Magi,” “The Marshals: Flight into Egypt,” and “The Girdlers and Nailers: The Slaughter of the Innocents”)

Mâle, Religious Art, book IV, chapter II (“The Gospels”), pp. 176-201; chapter III, sections II-IV (“Apocryphal Stories”), pp. 206-21

February 20 Last Supper
The Gospels: Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13
Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments, trans. Deferrari, book II, part VIII (“On the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ”), pp. 304-15 [BX2200.H891Hathi Trust]
Guido of Monte Rochen, Handbook for Curates, trans. Thayer, pp. 43-108 (“Tract 4 On the sacrament of the Eucharist”) [BX1913.G8313 2011]

Fulton Brown, From Judgment to Passion, pp. 9-59 [BT590.C85 F85 2002]

February 25 Passion
The Gospels: Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, John 18-19
John of Caulibus,Meditations on the Life of Christ, trans. Francis X. Taney, Anne Miller, and C. Mary Stallings-Taney (Asheville, N.C.: Pegasus Press, 2000), pp. 236-68 [BT306.4. M4413 2000]
York Mystery Plays, ed. Beadle and King, pp. 106-236 (“The Skinners: The Entry into Jerusalem,” “The Cutlers: The Conspiracy,” “The Bowers and Fletchers: Christ before Annas and Caiaphas,” “The Tapiters and Couchers: Christ before Pilate I, and Dream of Pilate’s Wife,” “The Litsters: Christ before Herod,” “The Tilemakers: Christ before Pilate II,” “The Pinners: The Crucifixion,” and “The Butchers: The Death of Christ”

Mâle, Religious Art, book IV, chapter III, sections V-VI (“Apocryphal Stories”), pp. 222-31

February 27 Resurrection
The Gospels: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21
John of Caulibus,Meditations on the Life of Christ, trans. Taney et al., pp. 280-96 [BT306.4. M4413 2000]
York Mystery Plays, ed. Beadle and King, pp. 237-66 (“The Saddlers: The Harrowing of Hell,” “The Carpenters: The Resurrection”)

March 4 Revelation I: Creation
Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, Declaration and Book One, pp. 59-148

Rachel Fulton Brown, “Hildegard of Bingen’s Theology of Revelation,” in From Knowledge to Beatitude: St. Victor, Twelfth-Century Scholars, and Beyond, ed. E. Ann Matter and Lesley Smith (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013), pp. 300-27 [BT26 .F76 2013]

March 6 Revelation II: Incarnation and Sacrament
Hildegard, Scivias, Book Two, pp. 149-308

March 11 Revelation III: Virtue
Hildegard, Scivias, Book Three, pp. 309-536

March 13 Judgment Day
The Gospels: Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21, John 14-17
Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments, trans. Deferrari, book II, parts XVII-XVIII (“On the End of the World,” “On the State of the Future Life”), pp. 451-76 [BX2200.H891Hathi Trust]
York Mystery Plays, ed. Beadle and King, pp. 267-79 (“The Mercers: The Last Judgement”)

Fulton Brown, From Judgment to Passion, pp. 60-87 [BT590.C85 F85 2002]
Mâle, Religious Art, book IV, chapter VI (“The Close of History”), pp. 355-99

Final paper due March 20 in Canvas Dropbox

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