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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.

Abstract only
Lauren Mancia

study is to our understanding of this historical narrative of medieval religious practice and belief. In this book, I have recast early medieval monks as instrumental players in the story of affective piety; in so doing, I hope to have troubled the scholarly understanding of that phrase. Scholars have historically used ‘affective piety’ as a catch-all term, one vaguely referring to the highly emotional and experiential late medieval devotion to the humanity of Jesus and the sorrow of Mary. 2 This study of John of Fécamp has shown how

in Emotional monasticism
The monastic roots of affective piety
Lauren Mancia

associated with practices and anxieties of that late period. But what we see here is that the roots of these materialisations – like the roots of medieval devotion to the crucified Christ – may have had their origin in earlier medieval devotional practices. While there is no evidence of widespread obsession with material in eleventh-century Fécamp, as in the European centuries to follow, there was a focus on Christ’s blood, first in John’s writings and then in the form of a relic. The thing of Christ’s blood at Fécamp that existed into the Late Middle Ages grew from a

in Emotional monasticism
Space, memory, and material devotion
Susannah Crowder

performance, women shaped a relationship with both past and present: female practice was essential to the production and transmission of family memory in particular.3 Performance aligned the memorial aspects of late medieval devotion with space and materiality as well; commemorative performance anchored belief and practice to things and places over time.4 Performance engaged the performer and audience in the process of memory-formation and revision, constructing the past through the movement of bodies in space. As Jen Harvie writes, performance has the capacity to ‘explore

in Performing women
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Carol Engelhardt Herringer

William Butterfield (1814–1900), on which was inscribed Mary’s reply to the angel, ‘Ecce Ancilla Domini Fiat Mihi Secundum Verbum Tuum’ (Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word, Luke 1: 38).16 Images of the Virgin Mary in sisterhoods and convents, such as the framed one that Priscilla Lydia Sellon (1821–76) placed a on the altar of the chapel of the Sisters of Mercy in Devonport, the first order she founded, were further reminders of her example. The Hail Mary and the Rosary (a medieval devotion that had been sustained in the recusant period

in Making and remaking saints in nineteenth-century Britain
Abstract only
Lauren Mancia

misattribution is understandable. First, the prayer was transmitted with the Pseudo-Augustinian collection of the Meditations of St Augustine , which enjoyed a formidable circulation in the Late Middle Ages. 3 Second, the prayer approaches God in a way commonly associated with late medieval devotion to the crucified Christ: a more human God, suffering on the cross, body wounded and bloody. 4 The dramatic presentation of the crucified body was typical of late medieval Christian prayer, as was the tearful compassion prescribed. 5 As a result, this prayer has been regularly

in Emotional monasticism
Carol Engelhardt Herringer

, a posey of prayers, selected from Catholic authors: to which are added, Gother’s instructions and devotions for confession and communion, 14th edn (London: Keating, Brown, & Co., 1819), p. 34; The key of heaven (1834), pp. 41, 47. 167 The Rosary was a medieval devotion, allegedly given to St Dominic by the Virgin herself. The main components – the use of beads for counting the number of ‘Our Fathers’ and the saying of 150 ‘Hail Marys’ and a lesser number of ‘Glorias’ – were present by the early twelfth century: Graef, Mary, vol. 1, pp. 232–3. 168 Heimann

in Victorians and the Virgin Mary
Carol Engelhardt Herringer

and said that this incident proved that ‘they, which go about to make Mary to be without sin, are much deceived’1 – in general Protestants did not denigrate either the person or the role of Mary, preferring merely to limit her devotional role. As Jaroslav Pelikan has noted, ‘The most obvious characteristic of the picture of Mary in the Protestant Reformation was its critique and rejection of what it took to be the excesses of Medieval devotion and teaching.’2 This restrained yet generally positive portrait began to change in the 1830s as Protestants, especially the

in Victorians and the Virgin Mary