Session Title

The Manger-Crib in Medieval Culture and Beyond

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Univ. of Tennessee-Knoxville

Organizer Name

Mary Dzon; Theresa Kenney

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Tennessee-Knoxville; Univ. of Dallas

Presider Name

Elina Gertsman

Presider Affiliation

Case Western Reserve Univ.

Paper Title 1

Sedulius's Manger: Food for the Ages

Presenter 1 Name

Theresa Kenney

Paper Title 2

Saint Francis of Assisi and the First Manger-Crib at Greccio: A Novel Manifestation of a Eucharistic Spirituality

Presenter 2 Name

Richard Nicholas

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of St. Francis, Joliet

Paper Title 3

The Praesepio as a Sculptural and Spatial Phenomenon: The Early Case of Arnolfo di Cambio's Ensemble in Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome (ca. 1291)

Presenter 3 Name

Patricia Simons

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Paper Title 4

The Ox and the Ass: From Symbolism to Symbiosis

Presenter 4 Name

Mary Dzon

Start Date

9-5-2019 1:30 PM

Session Location

Bernhard 213

Description

“And this shall be a sign unto you….” What kind of sign is the Babe lying in the manger? And how did medieval people – Christians, Muslims, and Jews – respond to the notion of the baby Jesus lying in a crib? From the earliest days of the new religion, Christians regarded the manger as an image profoundly subversive of human values, indeed, as central to Christian discourse on poverty, humility, meekness, as well as power. Patristic and medieval writers saw the narrow manger, Jesus’ first receptacle on earth, as foreshadowing his sacrificial death on the Cross. Indeed, the manger was commonly conflated with the altar, while the ox and the ass were viewed as reverent worshippers, who fed upon the Eucharist. Later, the image of the manger increasingly became a symbol of the human heart itself, the locus of humanity’s intersection with the divine, not necessarily within a sacramental context. This panel will examine varieties of approaches to the manger in the Middle Ages up to, and even extending into, the Reformation, when full-scale manger scenes became more and more popular and elaborate. Although older studies exist on the history of the manger/crib/cradle in art and devotion, and on the manger scene’s development, current critical focuses on material culture, gender, and the history of emotions, as well as animal studies, could also be brought into play when considering this central image in the canonical infancy gospels – an image that reappears in many medieval and later sources. Papers on the topic of the manger in theology, art, apocrypha, or literature are invited. Mary Dzon

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May 9th, 1:30 PM

The Manger-Crib in Medieval Culture and Beyond

Bernhard 213

“And this shall be a sign unto you….” What kind of sign is the Babe lying in the manger? And how did medieval people – Christians, Muslims, and Jews – respond to the notion of the baby Jesus lying in a crib? From the earliest days of the new religion, Christians regarded the manger as an image profoundly subversive of human values, indeed, as central to Christian discourse on poverty, humility, meekness, as well as power. Patristic and medieval writers saw the narrow manger, Jesus’ first receptacle on earth, as foreshadowing his sacrificial death on the Cross. Indeed, the manger was commonly conflated with the altar, while the ox and the ass were viewed as reverent worshippers, who fed upon the Eucharist. Later, the image of the manger increasingly became a symbol of the human heart itself, the locus of humanity’s intersection with the divine, not necessarily within a sacramental context. This panel will examine varieties of approaches to the manger in the Middle Ages up to, and even extending into, the Reformation, when full-scale manger scenes became more and more popular and elaborate. Although older studies exist on the history of the manger/crib/cradle in art and devotion, and on the manger scene’s development, current critical focuses on material culture, gender, and the history of emotions, as well as animal studies, could also be brought into play when considering this central image in the canonical infancy gospels – an image that reappears in many medieval and later sources. Papers on the topic of the manger in theology, art, apocrypha, or literature are invited. Mary Dzon