Session Title

Giving Birth to Christ in Later Medieval Mystical and Devotional Literature

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Jean Gerson Society

Organizer Name

Jeffrey Fisher

Organizer Affiliation

Carroll Univ.

Presider Name

Daniel Hobbins

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Notre Dame

Paper Title 1

Mary in Gerson's Commentaries on the Song of Songs and the Magnificat

Presenter 1 Name

Jeffrey Fisher

Paper Title 2

Gerson's Collectorium super Magnificat and Scriptural Performance

Presenter 2 Name

Matthew Vanderpoel

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Chicago

Paper Title 3

"Except for the Unfaithful Jews": Jewishness and Exclusion in Mystical Experiences of Christ's Birth

Presenter 3 Name

Wendy Love Anderson

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Washington Univ. in St. Louis

Paper Title 4

Spiritual Pregnancy and Theological Ascendancy in the Birth of Gerson's Mystical Theology

Presenter 4 Name

Nancy McLoughlin

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Univ. of California-Irvine

Start Date

16-5-2015 10:00 AM

Session Location

Fetzer 2030

Description

The concept of spiritual birth has been a constant in the history of Christian thought and devotional practice. With Eckhart, Ruusbroec, and others in the fourteenth century, it takes on added depth, with the idea of the "birth of the son in the soul." Taken together with the rise of Marian devotion, mystics and theologians in the West had a new storehouse of imagery for thinking both about the transformation of individual souls and the uniqueness of Mary as an object of devotion. Even Mary's uniqueness becomes a way of thinking about the potential of the soul for union with God. In Jean Gerson, in particular, we see these themes come together. His late commentaries on the Magnificat and on the Song of Songs zero in on Mary as both mother of Christ, in one respect, and the most perfect spouse, in another respect. She is thus doubly exemplary. Recent publications, including Bernard McGinn's Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism (1350-1550), have begun to pay more attention to Gerson's creativity in mystical theology, both in his later work, as yet to be fully charted, and even his earlier work, which has until very recently been considered exhausted from a scholarly point of view, and in general not very interesting. In this session, we hope to draw attention to the ways in which these key images of transformation and development were expanded and extended in the fourteenth and especially in the fifteenth centuries, both generally, and particularly in the work of Gerson, not only at the end of his life, but across his entire career.

Jeffrey Fisher

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May 16th, 10:00 AM

Giving Birth to Christ in Later Medieval Mystical and Devotional Literature

Fetzer 2030

The concept of spiritual birth has been a constant in the history of Christian thought and devotional practice. With Eckhart, Ruusbroec, and others in the fourteenth century, it takes on added depth, with the idea of the "birth of the son in the soul." Taken together with the rise of Marian devotion, mystics and theologians in the West had a new storehouse of imagery for thinking both about the transformation of individual souls and the uniqueness of Mary as an object of devotion. Even Mary's uniqueness becomes a way of thinking about the potential of the soul for union with God. In Jean Gerson, in particular, we see these themes come together. His late commentaries on the Magnificat and on the Song of Songs zero in on Mary as both mother of Christ, in one respect, and the most perfect spouse, in another respect. She is thus doubly exemplary. Recent publications, including Bernard McGinn's Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism (1350-1550), have begun to pay more attention to Gerson's creativity in mystical theology, both in his later work, as yet to be fully charted, and even his earlier work, which has until very recently been considered exhausted from a scholarly point of view, and in general not very interesting. In this session, we hope to draw attention to the ways in which these key images of transformation and development were expanded and extended in the fourteenth and especially in the fifteenth centuries, both generally, and particularly in the work of Gerson, not only at the end of his life, but across his entire career.

Jeffrey Fisher