Affective piety in the eleventh-century monastery of John of Fécamp
Series: Artes Liberales
Author: Lauren Mancia

Scholars of the Middle Ages have long taught that highly emotional Christian devotion, often called ‘affective piety’, originated in Europe after the twelfth century, and was primarily practised by late medieval communities of mendicants, lay people, and women. As the first study of affective piety in an eleventh-century monastic context, this book revises our understanding of affective spirituality’s origins, characteristics, and uses in medieval Christianity.

Emotional monasticism: Affective piety at the eleventh-century monastery of John of Fécamp traces the early monastic history of affective devotion through the life and works of the earliest-known writer of emotional prayers, John of Fécamp, abbot of the Norman monastery of Fécamp from 1028 to 1078. The book examines John’s major work, the Confessio theologica; John’s early influences and educational background in Ravenna and Dijon; the emotion-filled devotional programme of Fécamp’s liturgical, manuscript, and intellectual culture, and its relation to the monastery’s efforts at reform; the cultivation of affective principles in the monastery’s work beyond the monastery’s walls; and John’s later medieval legacy at Fécamp, throughout Normandy, and beyond. Emotional monasticism will appeal to scholars of monasticism, of the history of emotion, and of medieval Christianity. The book exposes the early medieval monastic roots of later medieval affective piety, re-examines the importance of John of Fécamp’s prayers for the first time since his work was discovered, casts a new light on the devotional life of monks in medieval Europe before the twelfth century, and redefines how we should understand the history of Christianity.

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Lauren Mancia

Ever since André Wilmart published his study of John of Fécamp in the 1930s, medievalists have slowly begun to acknowledge that so-called ‘Anselmian spirituality’ did not, in fact, originate with Anselm, and that ‘affective piety’ was not an invention of the later Middle Ages. My study of John of Fécamp builds on that trend, both by giving the details of his full-length Confessio theologica and by placing John’s devotional method in his wider monastic context, showing just how proper to eleventh-century Benedictine monasticism

in Emotional monasticism
Abstract only
Lauren Mancia

sinner and his God, resonated tremendously with the late medieval audience (an audience hungry for the affective writings of Anselm, Aelred of Rievaulx, Francis, Thomas à Kempis, and Ludolphus of Saxony), John did not compose his prayers with that late medieval audience in mind. He instead wrote his treatise for an audience of traditional, eleventh-century monks, whose use for such affective piety remains heretofore unexplored. 10 This book examines the role of affective devotion in the eleventh-century male monastic context through the lens

in Emotional monasticism
The uses of John’s devotional method within the walls of Fécamp
Lauren Mancia

conservative while still being innovative enough to reinvigorate devotional culture at the monastery. His reform is incremental while still being particularly directed towards emotional, interior transformation. After all, to him, his words are merely the words of the Fathers ( dicta me sunt dicta patrum ). These investigations are significant for scholars of affective piety who have often in the late medieval context attributed the devotee’s focus on Christ’s suffering to his God’s relatable humanity. With this chapter’s investigations, we can add

in Emotional monasticism
Defining emotional reform and affectivity in John of Fécamp’s Confessio theologica
Lauren Mancia

now in its scholarship thanks to the term ‘affective piety’, so its appearance in the CT merits a brief note. John’s CT only explicitly uses the word affectus twice. The first time, John quotes Augustine on the state of heavenly bliss, where devotees finally come face to face with God: in heaven, inhabitants are always the recipients of the right affection ( affectu ) from God, which streams like rays from God’s sunlike presence. 84 In the second mention, which will be discussed more extensively below, John shows his reader how the right longing for God

in Emotional monasticism
Texts and the ambiguities of knowledge in Piers Plowman
Kath Stevenson

any scholarly characterisation of affective piety as ‘anti-intellectual, unthinking “thinking”’. 26 It is no accident that, in her discussion of the epistemological dimensions of affectivity in a later text, Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ , Valerie Allen can comment, ‘the intensity of affective piety that Love exhorts can be read as an indication of knowing in a different mode, of a change of direction from what is known to how it is known, and in this reorientation, the will comes into play’. 27 Voluntas having finally submitted to

in Aspects of knowledge
Denis Renevey

demonstrates his kindness to humankind. The qualifier ‘glykytate’ for Jesus, in its vocative form, is used in the first line of the first six stanzas of the poem, and is repeated once again in stanza fourteen, line two. 18 The evidence provided by Mary Carruthers on the use of ‘dulcis’ as a significant term for the history of affective piety, which translates Greek ‘chrestos’, may need a slight readjustment in the light of the use of the less ambiguous, more sensuous ‘glykytatos’ to qualify ‘Jesus’ in the Greek office. 19 Situated temporally

in Aspects of knowledge
The monastic roots of affective piety
Lauren Mancia

medieval Christian affective piety. John’s legacy among his own students (from 1063 to 1089) John was mentor to several monks at Fécamp who went on to write devotional works themselves, some even during John’s lifetime. One was Durandus ( c. 1012–89), John’s cross-bearer (later abbot of the monastery of Troarn), who, in the vein of John’s Confessio fidei , wrote a treatise about the Eucharist against Berengar of Tours. 1 John of Reims (fl. c. 1100), later a monk at Saint-Evroult, composed a treatise, now lost, on

in Emotional monasticism
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Discovering biblical women in early modern literary culture, 1550–1700
Victoria Brownlee and Laura Gallagher

). Thus, Mary’s virginity might be reminiscent of England’s Virgin Queen Elizabeth; praise of her might, as Thomas Rist’s essay ( Chapter 10 ) discusses, slide into admiration of Henrietta Maria, and consideration of her could, as Laura Gallagher’s essay ( Chapter 11 ) suggests, provide a tool for meditation and affective piety. These alternative determinations of Mary’s relevance are bound up with

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
Imagining Mary’s grief at the cross
Laura Gallagher

Christocentric early modern devotion to highlight the immense significance of her son’s death and provide a tool for meditation and affective piety. Appropriating the voice, tears, visual experience and bodily pains of the mother enables the early modern reader to fully appreciate and share in Jesus’ sacrifice. However, the return to affective piety could operate as a mechanism of

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700