Allegorical reading in occasional
An occasional liturgy is a service of prayers and Bible readings responding
to a specific occasion – a local or national emergency like an earthquake,
epidemic, or threatened invasion, or a national celebration like the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne. In order to appreciate
how occasional liturgies relate to The Faerie Queene, it will be helpful to
recall the biblical structure of the liturgy that Spenser’s original readers regularly heard in church and were encouraged to use
Liturgical Gloves and the Construction of Public Religious Identity
Within the Catholic Church from around the tenth century onwards, liturgical gloves could be worn on specific occasions by those of the rank of bishop and above. Using a pair of seventeenth-century gloves in the Whitworth as a basis for further exploration, this article explores the meanings ascribed to liturgical gloves and the techniques used to make them. It argues that, within the ceremony of the mass, gloves had a specific role to play in allowing bishops to function performatively in the role of Christ.
Performing women takes on a key problem in the history of drama: the ‘exceptional’ staging of the life of Catherine of Siena by a female actor and a female patron in 1468 Metz. These two creators have remained anonymous, despite the perceived rarity of this familiar episode; this study of their lives and performances, however, brings the elusive figure of the female performer to centre stage. Beginning with the Catherine of Siena play and broadening outward, Performing women integrates new approaches to drama, gender, and patronage with a performance methodology to trace connections among the activities of the actor, the patron, their female family members, and peers. It shows that the women of fifteenth-century Metz enacted varied kinds of performance that included and extended beyond the theatre: decades before the 1468 play, for example, Joan of Arc returned from the grave in the form of a young woman named Claude, who was acknowledged formally in a series of civic ceremonies. This in-depth investigation of the full spectrum of evidence for female performance – drama, liturgy, impersonation, devotional practice, and documentary culture – both creates a unique portrait of the lives of individual women and reveals a framework of ubiquitous female performance. Performing women offers a new paradigm: women forming the core of public culture. Networks of gendered performance offered roles of expansive range and depth to the women of Metz, and positioned them as vital and integral contributors to the fabric of urban life.
This book offers readers a new understanding of the methods of religious instruction and the uses of religious texts in Anglo-Saxon England, capturing the lived significance of these texts to contemporary audiences. An examination of Anglo-Saxon texts based on their didactic strategies, succeed at teaching theology, and blended cultural influences allows us to evaluate both celebrated and neglected texts more even-handedly and in a new light. The book first deals with the history and character of the theology of Christ's Ascension. It traces the history of Ascension theology from its scriptural roots to its patristic elaborations and to its transmission in Anglo-Saxon England, presenting those doctrines and themes that become most relevant to insular authors. The history of Ascension theology shows that Anglo-Saxon authors make deliberate and innovative choices in how they present the inherited patristic theology to their contemporary audiences. The book then contends that both the martyrologist and the Blickling homilist recognize the importance of liminality to Ascension theology and use the footprints as the perfect vehicle to convey this. It also examines the ways in which Anglo-Saxon authors construct spatial relationships to establish symbolic relationships between three major Christological events: the Ascension, the Harrowing of Hell, and Christ's Entry into heaven. Analysing individual Rogationtide and Ascension homilies, both Latin and vernacular, the book moves from the formal preaching of theology to the spatial practices of Rogationtide liturgy to the popular beliefs about boundaries and the earth.
Edmund Spenser and the first readers of The Faerie Queene routinely heard their national concerns—epidemics, political plotting, recent Tudor history—discussed in biblical terms. This book samples contemporary sermons, homilies, and liturgies to demonstrate that religious rhetoric, with its routine use of biblical types (for Elizabeth, the Spanish threat, and Mary Stuart, among many others) trained Spenser’s original readers to understand The Faerie Queene’s allegorical method. Accordingly, the first three chapters orient the reader to allegorical and typological reading in biblical commentary, occasional liturgies, and sermons. This pulpit literature illuminates many episodes and characters within the poem, and subsequent chapters discuss some of these. For instance, the genealogies Guyon and Arthur discover in Book Two parallel sermon lists of Elizabeth’s kingly forebears as well as biblical commentary on the genealogies provided for Jesus in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Florimell’s adventures in Books Three and Four, like contemporary marriage sermons, develop an allegory of the superiority of marriage over the single state. Likewise, the preachers’ treatment of the Northern Rebellion and the threat posed by Mary Stuart show biblical typology in the service of nationalism, much as the allegory of Book Six finds a way to celebrate Elizabeth’s execution of her cousin. In these cases, as in the Souldan episode, Book Six’s analysis of courtesy, and the Mutability Cantos, Elizabethan religious rhetoric lends support to traditional readings of the poem, indicating that Spenser’s original readers probably found The Faerie Queene less conflicted and subversive than many do today.
time, the liturgy’s vexed status in Protestant England raises questions about religious change that go beyond the play’s Jewish characters.
That this allusion has been ignored by mainstream Shakespeare criticism is not surprising. Although the Easter Vigil dates back to the earliest
days of Christianity, it appears to have vanished from English worship at the
Reformation.3 The few scholars who have noticed the allusion have therefore assumed that the service would have been unknown to any but devoted
Catholics, and, based on this assumption, adduced the allusion to
’, communicants had to see beyond deceptive outer appearances, just like Philoclea.
The belief or disbelief in transubstantiation was at the heart of the heated
Eucharist debate during the Reformation and became a touchstone of religious allegiance for centuries to come. According to the Catholic doctrine of
transubstantiation, the celebration of the Eucharist is a repetition of Christ’s
original sacrifice. ‘Hoc est corpus meum’, Christ’s (translated) words which are
spoken by the priest, mean that the bread is indeed transformed into Christ’s
body. Liturgy here counters
Introduction: a context for
The Faerie Queen
Spenser characterized The Faerie Queene as “an historicall fiction” created
to “fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.”
He explained his work to his friend Walter Raleigh as an alternative to
“good discipline deliuered plainly in way of precepts, or sermoned at large” –
an alternative, that is, to religious rhetoric like liturgies, homilies, and
sermons.1 Spenser admitted that his method of “clowdily enwrap[ing]”
his teaching “in Allegorical deuises” “will seeme displeasaunt” to some
Boundary rituals, community, and Ascension theology in homilies for Rogationtide
programmatic teaching of Ascension theology.
This chapter moves in its analysis from the conventional and formal ways of teaching theology (homilies conveying patristic doctrines) to the spatial and ritual practices of Rogationtide liturgy (relic processions, field perambulations and blessings, agricultural prayers), and, finally, to popular religious rituals and beliefs about the importance of the land and its boundaries (field perambulations, agricultural healing rituals, boundary marking). From these sources, we can see that the teaching of
Framing biblical emotions in the Book of Common Prayer and the Homilies
almost as uniform as
the liturgy. 22
Every minister without a licence to preach was bound to read one of
the homilies every Sunday. Bishops who were especially conscientious
– or especially distrustful of their clergy –
sometimes required even licensed ministers to use the
Homilies as a matter of course. 23 Deviation from the script was