Ashmole 61 exempla [R Nov 13]

All four of today’s texts present the story of a sinner–committing adultery, despair, anger, everything possible (in the case of Incestuous Daughter)–who is, in most cases, redeemed. Consider the way the sinner’s situation is presented in these different narratives: how might you see each as a participant in a sin-assemblage (and, later, a redemption-assemblage)? And what might the fact that the sinner is not simply acting autonomously suggest?

What’s the… MATTER?! Eh?

Bad joke, I apologize. In class last time, we touched on the idea of “matter that isn’t matter”. Think back to when Bynum discussed the paradox of Jesus’ body (material) ascending to heaven (divine). Consider the devils’ chains in The Incestuous Daughter. Does a similar paradox exist here? The chains change how the woman behaves. Does this make them “real”? Does it make them material?

Bynum Chapter 4: Matter and Miracles [T 11 Nov]

Bynum concludes this chapter with the following statement:

The Christianity of the later Middle ages was. . .a matter of matter. It entailed both a radical awareness of the corruption and transience of all that is not God and a radical conviction that God, immanent and immediate in the stuff of the world, might for a moment lift that stuff to exactly the eternity and transcendence it could by definition never be. (265)

Explain Bynum’s claim here (in a sentence or two) and then offer a response grounded in what you encountered in the rest of the chapter and/or in readings (literary or theoretical) we’ve encountered this semester.

Reading from Ashmole 61

What is the genre that the text “Dame Courtesy”? And who is it’s audience suppose to be? At some points it seems like it is religious text, sometimes it’s instructional, and sometimes it feels like it isn’t talking to women at all. As an object document what is it trying to do?

The Power of Objects [Th Oct 30]

On page 175, Bynum states that matter, while being “locatable, divisible, temporal, changeable”, can be, in the medieval mind, redeemed by God so that “corruptible matter must be-impossibly, inconceivably, paradoxically-capable of incorruption”. How does this idea fit in with some of our earlier views on materiality, such as hybridity? What is your sense of how Bynum’s evidence in the chapter supports or complicates our ideas of the power of objects?