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Defacement: practical theology, politics, or prejudice: the case of the north portal of Bourges.

The Cathedral of St. Etienne at Bourges, which Ribault justly styles "un chef d'oeuvre gothique" (a Gothic masterpiece), (1) did not escape the Huguenot depredations of 1562. Especially vulnerable to the pikes and pry-bars of the Reformers were the choir screen in front of the main altar, the north and south doorways commemorating respectively Mary in Majesty and Christ in Majesty, and several areas of the West facade: the jamb statues (whose subjects are currently unknown (2)), the spandrel sculptures under the dado that celebrated events of the Christian scriptures and of the book of Genesis, and the five extensively carved tympana dedicated from right to left as one faces them:

--to Saint Ursin, who, by local tradition was commissioned by Saint Peter and, with the assistance of Saint Just, brought Christianity to Bourges and erected the first church;

--to Saint Stephen, ordained (Acts 6:1-7) among the first deacons (lintel) whose martyrdom (Acts 7:54-8:1) by stoning (second register) was frequently depicted in medieval art and whose place as patron of the cathedral is secure in light of God's approbation of him (third register);

--to the Last Judgment (center), where souls rise on the lintel level, are judged and separated into the saved and the damned in the second register, and, in the third, reminded of the source of their deliverance: the suffering and triumph of Christ;

--to the conventional portraiture of Mary the Virgin: her death (lintel), her assumption (second register), and her coronation by Christ (third); and

--to scenes from the life of Saint William de Donjon, Archbishop of Bourges (d. 1209), who initiated the construction of the cathedral in 1195 and presided over the Christmas liturgy in its nearly complete choir in 1208. (3)

The physical damage to the immediate environs of the altar and to the West facade bears striking resemblance to the defacement of great churches in Lyon, Angers, Blois, Rouen, Tours, and Orleans (4)--wall cities the Huguenots controlled for some months during the First War of Religion (1562-63). But, at Bourges, the destructive process produced an unusual outcome at the north and south lateral doorways: it hardly touched the latter, but considerably mutilated the former. This situation is unique in the annals of contemporary outbreaks of iconoclasm; more significantly, when assessed in conjunction with the other iconoclastic acts at Bourges, it suggests that neither a simple nor universal cause and effect motivational structure can be assumed.


Identifying motivation(s) is complicated not only by the specific, existential situation of mid-sixteenth-century France but also by the reformist leadership's shifting, sometimes antithetical pronouncements about the function and validity of statues and other ecclesiastical decoration. It is important to recall that during the first stages of Reformation in continental Western Europe (1517-30), iconoclasm--defined as hostility to religious images that results in the public and ostentatious act of their destruction (5)--was rarely the preeminent tool for cleansing places of worship. Image breaking did occur intermittently--even in Wittenburg in 1522 when Andreas Karlstadt's denigration of the externals of divine worship incited it--but even among the radical reformers Zwingli's middle position, characterized by the legally sanctioned and orderly removal of images from Zurich in 1521, was more attractive. (6) It is known that religious objects were sometimes returned to their original donors and that the "cleansing" of churches could be an organized, almost a community affair. (7) In fact, most of those prominent in the secular or ecclesiastical spheres proscribed iconoclastic violence; (8) in this, they demonstrated understanding of the admonitions found in Luther's initial sermons, especially those in which he urged his followers to free themselves spiritually from the alleged power of images. (9)

Possibly as early as 1522, Luther had come to terms with painting and sculpture in churches; his notion that they functioned as the "books of the illiterate" quickly allowed him to adopt a "moderately affirmative approach to ecclesiastical art." (10) In the following decade, he embraced a gradually more protective attitude toward cult objects, prompting Calvin, in the 1536 edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, to begin a discussion of the subject that diverged greatly from the Lutheran. Central to Calvin's thinking was the belief that if any vestiges of superstition were allowed to stand, all other reforms would be useless; citing the actions of Zwingli and even Karlstadt, who had earned the enmity of Luther, he attacked the latter's toleration for and eventual propagation of religiously inspired artistry. (11) Although Calvin did not specifically order iconoclasm, this type of behavior may be viewed as a logical outcome of his utopian system at whose core was the "intensive act of God" with its driving imperative: purify hic et nunc (here and now). (12) The reality of such an outcome has prompted some commentators to distance Calvin from the destruction proximate to the first French War of Religion; they point out that he deplored the rampages that were reported to him in 1561 and 1562. Nevertheless, a legitimate question remains about whether those actions or the disorderly manner in which they were carried out occasioned his distress. (13) Certainly, he wrote indignantly about the Huguenot pastor's foolish encouragement of riot at Sauve, and he fulminated against the illegal appropriation of public property at Lyon; yet, his reasons for so doing seem to stem from a fear of civil unrest. (14)

In this final period of his life, it is unlikely that the Genevan reformer significantly revised his vision of "the idols"; in fact, just a year prior to the destruction at Sauve--as the movement was in danger of escaping Calvinist clerical control--Calvin's spokesperson in France, Theodore Beza, had championed the prohibition of images, a construct he found "repeated and inculcated in the Holy Scriptures." (15) By the time Bourges was attacked in 1562, therefore, a confusing array of comments on image breaking existed. Clearly, in a variety of venues, Luther and Calvin had expressed their opposed positions; the latter's was originally nuanced by Kardstadt's extremism and Zwingli's legalism, but now it also seemed conditioned by Calvin's own apparent condemnation of French iconoclasm. As embraced by its contemporaneously diverse constituencies, the Protestant position on defacement could be characterized, at best, as contradictory and uncertain.


Since no single reformist stance with regard to image breaking can be identified as a motivating factor in Huguenot violence, efforts to delineate specific reasons for its occurrence have been underway for centuries. In the twentieth, scholars have proposed numerous theories; they range from ethereal discussions about the function of art and artistry in the Calvinist worldview to visceral descriptions of the effects of mob psychology, with almost every possible variable in between. Recent scholarship has emphasized iconoclasm's symbolic and theological resonances. Olivier Christin sees in it an effort to redefine the border between the sacred and the profane that the proliferation of images in the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries had blurred. (16) Underpinned in Europe by the incarnational structure or late medieval religion and the even broader tendency to concretism or reification, faith became more affective, demonstrating a "strong visual quality which encouraged it to use statues and paintings of Christ and the saints as sources of inspiration and aids to meditation," (17) almost simultaneously, advances in artistic production, especially polychromy, tridimentional perspective, and an improved understanding of anatomy, gave to images the appearance of reality. Less tangibly but no less significantly, a greatly increased preaching office universally illustrated by exempla--short, dramatic, moralized narratives that featured an anthropomorphized Deity and other cult figures--brought the sacred down to the level of ordinary life. (18) These developments occurred as churchgoers were progressively separated from the core realities of worship by Latin, which they did not speak, by clerically dominated ritual, from which they were excluded, and by various spatial determinations like altars removed to the apse wall and rood screens obstructing the view. Little wonder that believers insisted on "seeing," which translated into a demand for extended elevations of the consecrated species and by the movement of worshippers from one altar to another so that they might look upon the host and chalice lifted for veneration; they were also amenable to the substitution of the vicarious for the real experience of pilgrimage, yet they maintained an intense desire for mementos of a sacred experience or object. (19)

These circumstances resulted in further confusion about the nature and function of images. There was a tendency to locate "the primary source of power in the image itself, rather than arising from the dialectic of its relation with the beholder." (20) And images were everywhere: at street corners, along paths and roadways, in homes, even in places where private bodily functions occurred. Taking heed of Calvin's warning that image makers and users, victims of their own temerity and pride, were embracing the errors of idolatry, some of his followers--Christin maintains--took it upon themselves to stop this return to paganism. Through iconoclasm, they believed they could unmask these false divinities or "imposters. (21)

Christin calls iconoclasm a "theologie pratique" (an example of practical theology), yet his definition of image--breaking as a symbolic activity that restores the parameters of the sacred underlines its theological resonances. Other scholars concentrate more on praxis, emphasizing the fact that practical theology is concerned with the immediacy and vitality of religion as it is actualized for better or worse in the lives and actions of believers. (22) They agree that it can and does relate to both positive theology (a discovering and ordered exposition of the content of revelation) and speculative theology (an analysis and exploration of what has been discovered); nevertheless, these disciplines, because of formality in discussion and because their "terms, vocabulary, syntax, and conceptual structures are historically determined by textual traditions," are usually the province of learned elites, their medium the written word. (23) Because practical theology acknowledges a people's response to God's revelation in full Christian living, (24) it can better accommodate the immediate circumstances in which the Reformers found themselves. Urged forward by a determination that was both informed and public spirited and by the desire to restore the glory of God fouled by papist atrocities, (25) they saw the triumph of the Gospel approaching. Although iconoclastic frenzy raged unchecked and uncontested at some venues, learned elites, in general, did not smash and burn long--treasured and familiar objects; rather, a variegated group of ordinary people performed these deeds, convinced that it was important to make this statement, important to risk even imprisonment and death to destroy the trappings of a corrupted Christendom. (26) The human instruments of this artistic and cultural debacle certainly acted out of a conception of the nature of God and of humanity's relationship with that Deity--but these theological constructs were rarely, if ever, given written expression; they were practiced existentially. (27) The compelling beliefs and driving convictions springing from this popular religiosity have convincingly been employed to explain the iconoclasm of the 1520s in Zurich, Strasbourg, and Basel. The common targets of those attacks were free--standing sculptures, chalices, images of the Virgin, and altars dedicated to her--groups chosen because of the perception that such objects either represented the coagulation or freezing in space and in time of Christian charity, or because they were the places where Christianity's significance was misunderstood and its practice divisive. (28)

Forty years later, when the Reformation had consolidated its hold in central Western Europe and ultimately spread to France, another wave of iconoclasm occurred. Certainly, one aspect of its motivational pattern can be located in the exigencies of practical theology but, in this era, the Huguenot agenda expanded to embrace the various psychosocial goals now deemed important by the reformers. Certainly, a logocentrically oriented credal system, diametrically opposed to late medieval and overly reified incarnationalism, remained "at the heart of Calvinist revolutionary ideology"; concurrently, however, the prevailing view among Catholics and Protestants that the other faction had polluted the notion of the body social and had become threats to their respective conceptions of ordered society (29) began to nourish a developing political stance. Such broad--based concerns were themselves affected by the strong regional character of French Protestantism that endorsed iconoclastic activity as a reaction to concrete situations. Indeed, its appearance at most venues was an ultimate development of the concept of "particularity": as certain images had provoked special devotion so did they spawn special destruction. (30) Iconoclasm, then, as the product of universal and particular objectives, could be expected to exhibit both widely applicable and specifically oriented features. This expectation, if replicated at Bourges, would make it reasonable to posit a coalescence of diverse forces as explanatory of what happened in this prosperous town and especially at the site of its cathedral.

According to Catherinot's Le siege de Bourges (1684), forces under the direction of Gabriel de Lorges, Count of Montgomery, seized Bourges "par surprise" on May 27, 1562. (31) Jehan Glaumeau's Journal, (Bourges 1541-62) and the Journal of Gilles Chauvet (1514-91) contain a record of the events compiled by local witnesses: in Glaumeau's account, "apres disner ... on commenca a abastre les ydoles' (after dining ... they began to knock down the idols) or, as Chauvet puts it, the Huguenots "rompirent et briserent a coups de marteaux tous les images" (broke and destroyed with hammer blows all the images). (32) The revolutionaries doubtless used heavy iron hammers, ropes, and arquebusades to shatter the stone and pull the sculptures to the ground. It is also demonstrable that they tried to sap some of the load--bearing piers; had they not been distracted, the cathedral would surely have fallen. (33) The latter action is the most obvious and extreme externalization of the iconoclasts' desire to subvert the sociopolitical system: since the institutionalized church symbolized in the cathedral had valorized the existing order, it needed to be destroyed. (34)

Unfortunately, the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century accounts of iconoclastic events at Bourges, though vividly descriptive, contain several inaccuracies. Historians are now convinced that there were two attacks, the first on May 27th, which was followed by further violence during Thursday, May 28th. (35) The "surprise" is also in doubt since it seems that persons unknown but anxious to aid Montgomery's 120 cavaliers had conveniently, between three and five in the morning, left the city's gates open; upon their entry, the invaders were welcomed by three thousand "religionnaires," who sang exultantly about being freed from papal superstition:
 On peut bien dire Israel en ce jour
 Que si le ciel pour nous n'eust pas este
 Si le Siegneur n'eust son people assiste
 C'en estoit faict sans espoir de retour. (36)

Crouzet remarks how easily this crowd, controlled by such "immense sentiment," could slip into a violence that is akin to exaltation; indeed, having thanked God for the privilege of living in this elect time, they began to sack the cathedral. (37) The rampage, however, does not accord with Chauvet's misleading adjective "tous," since it was primarily aimed at selected elements on the west Facade, at the tympanum above the north portal, and at the beautiful rood (or choir) screen that had been carved by one of the great sculptors of the thirteenth century. (38)

The rood screen, a blind arcade forty--five feet high toward the north and south, open vaulted, balustraded, sixty feet high at the center and glowing with painted statuary and heraldic devices, stood between the choir and the nave and was intended to keep the various exercises of worship "hors de la presence et meme de la vue des fideles" (in neither the vicinity nor the sight of the faithful). (39) It was physical testimony that liturgical celebration, once characterized by multiple and diverse levels of participation and frequent reception of the Eucharistic species, had dramatically shifted, the priest, removed from and with his back to a marginalized congregation, now assuming all roles. As the name "rood" or cross indicates, its central and dominant frieze was largely devoted to events connected with the Passion, Death, and Burial of Christ. Its subject, as defined by the sixteenth century's sacramental theology, reinforced the transformation of Eucharistic symbolism from saving meal in which all participate to symbolic reenactment of Calvary, that is, the sacrifice of the Mass; at Bourges, moreover, some of these scenes were so constructed as to point to the dogmatic assertion of the Real Presence as defined by the Fourth Council of the Lateran in 1215. (40)

Motivation for the attack on the choir screen, which "protected" clerics and altar from the congregation, seems rooted in a popular understanding of Calvin's ecclesiology in which ministerial equality and the principle of lay participation by elders or seniors in the government of the church is of paramount importance. (41) Such a system emphasizes the church's representative nature and does not countenance an elite group like the cathedral clergy with their exclusive sacramental functions and, through the Mass, an elevated intermediary status between an ignorant people and a distant deity. Since Calvinism also did not accept the Real Presence (42) nor the mass as sacrifice, rather than memorial, of the Last Supper, the choir screen, which heightened the sense of mystery that it shielded, was unnecessary; seen as a physical and emotional barrier to communion with the "ordinatio dei" (divine plan), it was anathema. (43) The destruction of the Bourges rood screen was, of course, not a unique event since altars and the areas surrounding them had been flash points for iconoclasm long before 1562; as places that combined the elements most disliked in Calvinist circles, that is, clergy, mass, and host, they were rarely left untouched. (44)

While the choir screen's demise can be accounted for somewhat readily, attacks on other parts of the cathedral offer greater challenges in terms of scope and motivation. On the exterior, there was widespread pillage of easily reachable jamb statues and trumeau sculptures; beyond arm's length were objects specifically selected for depredation:

(1) several of the spandrel sculptures under the dado;

(2) in the tympanum of the central portal, Christ the Judge in the upper register and the sculptures of the damned, and some of the saved in the middle register above the trumeau; (45)

(3) on the Stephen doorway, God the Father in the third register suffered damage as did the figure of the Bishop who ordains Stephen a deacon on the lintel;

(4) in the tympanum commemorating St. Ursin, the central scene in the first register depicting the death of St. Just was mutilated, as were the several sculptures depicting Ursin, always mitred, in various aspects of his ministry; also attacked on the Ursin doorway were the Bishop's hands: in the second register they were raised in blessing on the church at Bourges; in the third register where Ursin baptizes King Leocade and his son Lusor, they were similarly aligned;

(5) in the Virgin tympanum, at the left of the Last Judgment, several figures on the lintel lost their heads or faces; but the second and third registers in this unrestored doorway are mostly intact;

(6) in the extreme left tympanum, scenes from the life of Archbishop William suffered some seemingly random defacement, although his trumeau statue, probably wearing a mitre, lost its head.

None of these iconoclastic activities compares in severity with that exercised against the tympanum of the north lateral doorway where every sculpture was extensively damaged and at least one was obliterated.

The practical application of theological positions may indeed have inspired much of the destruction on the outside of the cathedral. The scenes featuring mitred ecclesiastics--the headpiece signaling their status as vicars of Christ on earth with authority to teach and rule--would have aroused antipathy in Calvinist circles: first, because Christ was to be the only bishop in the Church, and the office of bishop could not be different from that of pastor; (46) and second, because only the Holy Spirit could interpret properly the Word of God in scripture, and, hence, all that Christ does and is could be understood only through the testimony and inner persuasion of the Holy Spirit. (47) In addition, representations of Mary were common targets of the reformers. Calvin had pointed to the danger of honoring the Virgin as person rather than as elected instrument, though he sought a via media in the way in which her cousin Elizabeth praised her. (48) Calvin's aversion to the mediatorial role of the mother of God was easily translated into a popular idiom and could be simply stated: devotion to Mary is blasphemous and must be abolished. (49) In precincts not far removed from Bourges' cathedral and during the same period of occupation in 1562, Protestants dragged a wooden statue of the Virgin from another church, Notre Dame de Salles, and made an elaborate ceremony out of its desecration and burning. (50) Consequently, it is not remarkable that sculptures in the north portal, related to and including the Virgin, would occasion some kind of attack. It is, however, noteworthy that the very accessible west facade tympanum, also dedicated to Mary, suffered a modicum of damage while the north door's tympanum--not immediately visible from the plaza in front of the cathedral, covered by an extensive porch, and, because of a steep set of stairs, affording difficult access for ladders, arquebusades, and other shattering devices--received extensive destruction. What is even more surprising is the vehemence exhibited in the iconoclasm.

The north portal's tympanum was originally carved for a lateral entrance to Bourges' vast twelfth--century Romanesque church, the third religious edifice to occupy the site of the present cathedral. (51) Seated on a throne and surrounded by an elaborate canopy, a regal Mary holds the Christ Child on her knees in a majestic frontal pose. (See Figure 1.) This gigantic "Virgin Enthroned" is the focal point for the two different narrative structures of the tympanum. In the upper register, two large angels soar to her throne to venerate her, and two smaller angels become involved with the scenes in the lower register. The latter selectively narrates Mary's experience as mother of Christ in its depiction of the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Adoration of the Magi. The Annunciation occupies the lower right quadrant close to the center; next to it on the right is the Visitation in which Mary and Elizabeth embrace. To the left of the Virgin in Majesty appears the Adoration of the Magi, the Nativity having been omitted. The Magi are dynamic figures, rushing towards the Mother and Child to pay their homage, the farthest left standing upright but with body inclined, the second with bent knee, and the third ready to fall down in humble adoration. A final figure once occupied a prominent place just to the left of the Annunciation; now completely gouged out, it originally had a halo and was consistent in size with the scale of adjacent statuary. Scholars have debated whether this figure is Joseph or the prophet Isaiah; more recently they have favored the latter because of his supposed foretelling of the Messiah's future birth (Isaiah 7:14), understood in the Middle Ages to read: "A virgin shall conceive and bear a son." (52)


Taken as a whole, this tympanum, though acknowledging Mary's important role in the biblical events of the Incarnation, simultaneously and emphatically proclaims that she is a queen worthy of homage and adoration. The crowned heads of the two jamb statues, one on either side of the doorway, reinforce that concept. Their identity remains uncertain, however. To some they represent the Sibyl and another mythological subject; to others, because of their crowns, they are Old Testament queens from the house of David, (53) but the possibility also exists that they are angular, early--twelfth--century representations of Ecclesia and Synagoga.

The mutilation of the north portal touched every sculpture: it rendered the Christ figure in Mary's arms virtually unrecognizable, deprived of head, arms, and right foot. The Virgin's face and some of her head no longer exist, having been sliced away longitudinally. Adjacent to the gouged area once occupied by the haloed figure, the Annunciation scene's Mary and Gabriel have been beheaded and chipped in several places; the same fate befell the Magi. The angels in the upper quadrants were heavily damaged in both face and body although some flowing drapery remains; only Mary and Elizabeth on the far right of the lower register are immediately recognizable, and they too have been defaced.

Conversely, the relatively intact status of the south lateral doorway, which shows Christ in Majesty, seems somewhat inexplicable. Ann New--Smith contends that it "cannot be realistically argued that the Protestants failed to discover the sculptures since they held the cloister by force for several months during the summer of 1562 and since they are probably responsible for the damage to the thirteenth century statue of St. Stephen which stands on the southwest pillar of the porch." (54) Her conclusion that the south portal fortuitously escaped the initial attack on May 27th and when noticed later was spared, probably because of its subject matter, (55) is not entirely satisfactory. The portal does not seem to have been overlooked; it seems to have been damaged in a limited way but with specific intent: to remove gestures signifying authority and control.


Emphasizing such a syndrome does not deny an impetus to iconoclasm fueled by the "popular religious passions" that, in 1562, polarized communities throughout France around two radically different views of symbolism. (56) Born of these passionate differences are the fundamental reasons for the Reformers' seeing their iconoclastic actions against Christ in Majesty as necessary and valuable and for their engaging in the even more catastrophic destruction of the north portal. Nevertheless, the unique character of the acts of destruction at Bourges' lateral doorways indicates that the Reformers' motivation may have been both affected and complicated by other factors like the state's role in sectarian affairs, the response given by Protestants to the events of 1651-62, and the subject matter of the sculptures themselves. None of these intertwined phenomena would have provoked iconoclasm without a religious basis but, given its existence, all three encouraged vengeance against what seemed to be invincible agents of authority and control.

In mid-sixteenth-century France, authority and control should have been predicated of crown and church, both bodies claiming to be vested with temporal and spiritual spheres of power. For nearly a century, though, the church's grip on these mechanisms had been weakening, despite the fact that for a short period after 1438 when the king ratified the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, a growing sense of ecclesiastical dominance prevailed. Drawn up in a national council of the French church, the Pragmatic Sanction placed the rights of nomination to the bishoprics within France in the hands of cathedral chapters. (57) By refusing to acknowledge that several key bishoprics were vacant, however, the king essentially neutralized the Sanction. Concomitantly, burgeoning reform movements across the land met with a consistently weak ecclesiastical response, persuasive argument being seen as preferable to the use of force. (58) Thus, whatever the church's view of the status of its autonomy, the operative principle remained: "L'eveque, homme du roi" (the bishop, liegeman of the king). (59)

The crown, meanwhile, had solidified its authority and exercised its control in both secular and religious matters. Though France was not an absolute monarchy, the king, in fact, ruled at his pleasure and, throughout the 1550s, his pleasure was to enforce religious strictures against the reformers. (60) But the crown had not foreseen the effect of a substantial exodus from the Church of Rome. As members of all three estates converted to Calvinism in considerable numbers, their dissenting position on religious issues generated and eventually crystallized opposition to the monarchy. (61) What had been in the 1520s a struggle to remove the cultic objects of Roman Catholicism evolved over forty years into a more radical political notion: active resistance against a government that upheld false religion. (62)

Support for such an evolution was found in the theories articulated by several contemporary Reformers that, in a variety of ways, raised and encouraged serious challenges to established authority. John Knox's Appellation (1558), for example, defined this position for the Scottish Congregation, claiming both divine approbation and reward for those who opposed the "ungodly commandments" of princes and rulers. (63) Although he had earlier, though not so pointedly, attacked Mary Tudor and would continue to fulminate against the Catholic observances of Mary, Queen of Scots in several subsequent years, by November 1558 conditions in England had radically altered since, upon the accession of Elizabeth I, a second "stripping of the altars" occurred. (64) Even more than in the reign of Edward VI, this English reform movement was "a centripetal force taking its direction from the crown and expressing itself most vigorously at the center of national power"; with certain noteworthy exceptions, British subjects showed loyalty to the Queen though, in a typically frugal manner, they were wary of destroying ecclesiastical objects that might again have to be replaced. (65) The situation across La Manche was diametrically opposite; there, reform was stymied rather than spearheaded by the monarchy because Roman Christianity was the preference of the sovereign. Moreover, the crown's insistence on religious uniformity (one king, one law, one faith) equated any action challenging the Catholic Church with defiance of the king; such a stance also magnified the "revolutionary implications of the attack on idolatry." (66)

Yet, the volatile, perhaps explosive, situation in his native land did not prompt Calvin to formulate a theory of active resistance to legitimate rulers. (67) That task fell to Calvin's close friend and associate, Pierre Viret who, in his most aggressive phase, counseled Christians to obtain political control first and then strike down altars and images. (68) The extreme nature of that directive postdates the first French War of Religion. Nevertheless, as early as his Remonstrances aux fideles qui conversent entre les Papistes (1547), Viret had stated that armed resistance to Princes who wished by tyranny, force, or violence to "ruiner l'Evangile" (destroy the Gospel) was not only legitimate, but necessary; occasional ambiguity aside, Viret argued throughout the late 1550s that Christians should give their wholehearted allegiance only to true, that is, reformed, kings and princes and that, when civil and religious spheres came into conflict, obedience to God must supersede any other. (69) The denouement of Viret's theory, that idolatry s destruction could involve a struggle against government, is a clearly political stance and one easily communicated through his colleague Beza--who subscribed to it--to Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Conde--who acted on it. (70) Such action, however, had at base the certainty that what made the crown deserving of resistance, worthy of being deprived of authority and control, was its perversion of true and pure religion.

Also bearing on the iconoclasm at the lateral portals at Bourges is the multilayered, but increasingly political response of Calvinists to the accusations made against them. At Rouen, one example among many, Catholics had charged Protestants with being seditious as early as 1558. (71) (Curiously, in the ensuing decade "sedition" was more frequent than "heresy" among prosecuted capital offenses. (72)) By the early 1560s, the charge had some validity as increasing numbers of Huguenot pastors arrived from Geneva, "so-called shock troops dispatched by Calvin to foment religious revolution." (73) The apogee occurred in 1562 with the infiltration into France of nearly one hundred zealous ministers, and, since religion was deemed "the surest foundation of the state," the growing number of dissenters and their leaders were obviously a threat to civic unity. (74)

Perhaps more significant at a national level were the so-called "high politics that shaped the beginning of the French Wars of Religion. (75) Conde, leader of the revolt, had been enamored of the religion of Geneva as early as 1555. Historians of the period are convinced that the politicization of French Calvinism became complete after 1559, about the time when the religious issue was thoroughly immersed in the struggle at court between the Guises on the one hand and the Bourbons and Chatillons on the other. (76) A series of tragic events precipitated this struggle. The untimely death of the French King, Henry II, in 1559 left his young son, Francis II, under the protection of the fiercely anti-Protestant Guises. When Francis himself died a year later, Parlement appointed his mother, Catherine de Medicis, regent since his ten-year-old brother, Charles IX, was far too young to assume the throne. (77) Uncertainties over the constitution of a regency government weakened the crown" (78) and provided a golden opportunity for French Protestantism to grow in strength and for Catholic distress to mount. Catherine's efforts to ameliorate the conflict (by gathering the opposing factions for a conference at Poissy in 1561 and by supporting so-called "January Edicts" or acts of toleration in January, 1562) were doomed by intransigence and fear. (79) Both played a role in the massacre at Vassy on March 1, 1562, when troops under the Duke of Guise fired on unarmed Protestants worshipping inside the town.

The reaction of the Protestant leadership was clearly political: they assembled a small army of 600 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, and Conde issued a formal "Declaration" of war or "Protestation" on April 8th. (80) Its stated aims were the liberation of the king and the regent from Guise captivity and the enforcement of the January Edicts, but in actuality it functioned as a catalyst in Conde's plans for taking over the country. (81) Since the towns acted as foci for both military strategy and religious fanaticism, Conde moved first against them in the heady days of spring and early summer, 1562. There was both overt and hidden agenda in this move. Ostensibly, Conde seized the population centers along the main waterways, bridgeheads, and land routes of the kingdom to grant them religious freedom but in reality he wanted to seize power by wresting them from royal control. (82) By May 27th, the day Bourges was attacked, Conde was steering French Protestantism in what could be termed an antimonarchial direction.

For such an enterprise, Bourges was an attractive target. The town had been in the royal domain since about 1100 when Philip I acquired it from the Viscount Eudes Arpin. Philip became lord of both county and city and the archbishop a vassal to the crown. (83) In the subsequent centuries Bourges' relationship with the king was consistently reaffirmed, especially in the crown's utilization of the prestige and prerogatives attached to the diocese of Bourges to extend its sphere of influence. (84) The connection of Bourges with the throne was an historical fait accompli; furthermore, the titles that identified the lateral tymphana--Christ in Majesty (south) and the Virgin in Majesty or the Virgin Enthroned (north)--suggested a regal orientation. In an iconoclastic atmosphere that made it desirable to undermine, if not overcome, the royal trappings thus signalled, conflation of church/state power structures had inevitably disastrous consequences for the statuary. Even in the minimal defacement at the south lateral portal, such a syndrome is apparent. (85) The Christ figure on the trumeau, for example, had raised his right hand in a gesture of authority or of blessing; it was this hand that was broken off. The nose on this sculpture was also smashed, and the eyes scratched to remove those identifying marks of the living body (86) and possibly to demonstrate how ugly an onerous sovereignty can become. The Christ in Majesty in the upper register of the south doorway's tympanum had a hand similarly raised. It too was damaged. Why the remaining areas of this portal almost completely escaped destruction is not difficult to explain: in the tympanum's Judgment scene, Christ in Majesty holds a large book in his undamaged left hand and is flanked by the four beasts that represent the authors of the Gospels; here, Calvinist reverence for scripture would certainly have stayed violent hands. On the lintel of the doorway are representations of the twelve apostles, again personages particularly revered in Protestant tradition because, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, they brought the Word to many nations.

Like the Christ in Majesty on the south portal, several other areas on the cathedral's facade seem to have been attacked, not because people knew the iconography's original significance, but because in gesture and costume the sculptures could be associated with the power structure. On the Ursin tympanum's lintel, Ursin's hands extended in blessing over the body of Saint Just were removed. In the second register, Ursin's hands, here blessing the church at Bourges, were destroyed; in the third, three figures: Ursin (mitred) baptizing King Leocade and his son, both crowned, were decapitated. In the Stephen doorway's third register, the figure of God the Father suffered the removal of hands raised in blessing, a sign of his power; likewise removed, in the second register, were the hands of the bishop who ordains Stephen.

At the top of the central tympanum, Christ's hand, gesturing in power and signaling his authority over the Last Judgment, was destroyed; the moon next to Christ was also damaged, but this may be the result of an inaccurately thrust shattering device. In the second register, several of the damned were attacked; their destruction today seems inexplicable since they appear to be simply poor sinners. One must remember, however, that the current figures were extensively and often imaginatively restored in the nineteenth century. In their original form, they may well have mirrored the Judgment scene portrayed in the ambulatory's early-thirteenth-century glass; there, a king, a queen, and a bishop are being hurried off to the mouth of hell. Among the saved to the right of the Judge, there was also some damage; again, a crowned queen appears there.

That the image-breaking at Bourges proceeds from complex motivation is ultimately demonstrated in the fact that sculptures damaged because of their gestures of power and control can be differentiated from those attacked because of the "theologie pratique," which was fostered by specific themes in and objectives of Calvin's theology. The destruction attendant upon Calvin's denigration of the role of the Virgin and of the dogma of the Real Presence is evident on the West facade and in the altar/choir screen area; in addition, from 1536 onward and as part of a denunciation of anthropomorphism and idolatry, Calvin campaigned, in several sections of his Institutes of Christian Religion, against any tangible depiction of the Godhead. (87) The results of this indictment--probably disseminated through sermons and interpreted at Bourges as license to attack images of God the Father--can be seen in what happened to several of the spandrels that portray events from the Book of Genesis. (88) In the bas-reliefs showing (a) God the Father creating the Angels, (b) the forming of Eve from Adam's rib, and (c) God discoursing with Adam and Eve, the figure representing God the Father was literally defaced. Another vestige of the effort to excise depictions of the first person of the Trinity may be seen in the Stephen tympanum's third register where God the Father's face, as well as his gesturing hands, was destroyed.

But in the depredation of the many figures in authoritative poses and particularly in the north portal's catastrophic damage to the regal and dominant Virgin and Child, the definition of iconoclasm, which claims abuse of images is a method of drawing attention to a political cause, seems to have held some sway. (89) Throughout history, iconoclasts have recognized that certain representations exercise an enormous control over the individual imagination and that such a situation must be overturned. In the sixteenth century, iconoclasts recast and focused this broadly applicable theory; now it was understood that by damaging the symbols of power, one diminished that power itself. (90) The aim was to deprive an image of those parts that might be considered to embody its effectiveness, to mutilate rather than obliterate so that the lesson could be repeated each time the image might be viewed. (91) A particularly virulent example of this conviction occurred at the tomb of Louis XI in Paris. Iconoclasts cut off the arms, legs, and finally the head of the royal effigy; then they opened the tomb, extracted his bones, and burned them. (92) No exactly comparable opportunity to diminish royal power existed at Bourges; burning and scattering the relics of St. Stephen or St. William were not in the same league. But when one considers what happened to the Infant in the north tympanum, it is obvious that the destroyers were following a course of action similar to that effected at Paris. Doubtless, Calvin's aim to eradicate images of the Godhead may have provided some validation for the destruction of the Infant in Mary's arms. And Calvin's reservations about the Virgin's place in his theological universe may also have impelled the destroyers. But, given the dominantly regal emphasis in this portal and Viret's encouragement of active resistance to any government that supported idolatry, it seems likely that the iconoclasts' religious motives were abetted by political, specifically antimonarchial ones. The Magi on the tympanum's left side, in their gestures of homage, would have fallen victim to the populace's same desire to remove the trappings of royal power.


The last set of circumstances that merits consideration in any discussion of reasons for the destruction of Bourges' north portal relates to the bottom figure just right of center in the lower register of the tympanum. It is now so mutilated that scholars disagree about its identification as either Joseph or Isaiah; nevertheless, testimony from other elements of medieval art indicates that the clothing of either character would have pointed to Judaism. When Joseph is appended to Virgin and Child scenes, even when he is given a halo, he almost invariably wears the conical hat that was eventually prescribed for Jews at Fourth Lateran (1215) and incorporated into Canon Law by Pope Gregory IX in 1234; when Isaiah is depicted in medieval graphic art, a Phrygian cap, another kind of conical headdress, often covers his head. (93) An example of this practice exists in the large, early-thirteenth-century Isaiah window of Bourges' upper clerestory in which the prophet wears a hat clearly topped with a conical device. In addition, there is high probability that the tympanum figure, whether Joseph or Isaiah, was heavily bearded and anachronistically wearing full-length garments. (94) Denigration is not necessarily associated with these phenomena. There are many illuminations from the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries in which the use of such iconography simply acknowledges the fact that Christ was born a Jew and that Judaic tradition gave birth to Christianity.

The Virgin Enthroned sculpture relates to the preceding timeline and message. Although created ca. 1185 for Bourges' fire-destroyed Romanesque Cathedral, it was not discarded as the present great church rose; rather, this carving was resituated in a position of honor, the tympanum of the north lateral doorway, and a Gothic porch constructed around it so as to integrate it with the new design. (95) That the composition featured either a Joseph or an Isaiah--and therefore Jewish--figure directly next to the Virgin would not have caused distress during the major phase (1210-35) of St. Etienne's construction, an epoch that paralleled three decades of comparatively benign neglect of Jews in French royal circles. At Bourges, considerable interchange between Christians and Jews occurred in that era; in fact, a group of Christian hebraists gathered around a converted Jew, William of Bourges who, as author, teacher, and, especially, as deacon at the cathedral, was a person well placed to exercise some influence over its decoration. (96) His preferences may be reflected in the originally exclusive use of the book of Genesis and its Midrash in the spandrel sculptures; several Jewish emphases in the contemporary stained glass plausibly relate to his writings and to his respectful efforts to conjoin the two traditions. William's personal prestige and/or the influence of his group may also be responsible for the noninflammatory portrayal of Jews at St. Etienne, even in scenes that by the dictates of scripture or tradition were inimical to Christians. For example, in the Bourges sculptures depicting the stoning of St. Stephen, as contrasted to contemporary, similar artifacts from Halberstadt, Breisach, and Salzburg, (97) the saint's Jewish executioners wear simple head coverings rather than conical hats, and their facial expressions are bland rather than demonic.

The tolerance of the 1220s and early 1230s was, however, short-lived: it was seriously undermined beginning in 1234 when Louis IX, who was happy to profess his distaste for Judaism, achieved his majority; it was a fading memory in 1251 when the synagogue at Bourges was ransacked in one of the mindless rampages connected with the so-called "croisade des pastoreaux" (crusade of the shepherds--the "pastoreaux" actually were a band of rebels who, under the pretext of a popular crusade, committed atrocities throughout Belgium and northern and central France). (98) By the sixteenth century, toleration had completely disappeared. Among those who formed the latter era's intellectual milieu, there was noticeable anti-Jewish sentiment. In 1517, Erasmus opined that France was "the purest place in Christendom, being free of heretics and Jews." (99) None of the great Christian hebraists of that age ever doubted that Jewish interpretations were fundamentally perverse and misconstrued. (100) By 1543, Luther had published three treatises against Jews and Jewish exegesis, the longest entitled "On the Jews and their Lies"; by 1546, elderly and possibly impaired by the consumption of wine or beer, he declared in his "Table Talks" that unconverted Jews were intolerable. (101) Reportage of these publications was unlikely to be nuanced by psychological or sociological analysis. On the other hand, Calvin seemed content to condemn the Jews for their incredulity, yet "he had a strong tendency to group Catholics and Jews together so that the ills of Catholicism as he saw them might be derived in part from the excessive influence of Judaism." (102)

The positions articulated by Luther and projected by Calvin were certainly not novel; their more virulent versions had earlier inspired various anti-Jewish persecutions, especially in the royal domain of medieval and early Renaissance France. Charles VI, following the haphazard and eventually rescinded banishments of ca. 1182 and 1306, again attempted to expel the Jews in 1394. (103) When, in 1498, the French crown removed them even from Provence, hatred of Jews could grow ever stronger in the fertile soil of ignorance. "There was something inexorable about the development of royal policy ... to refashion a new and enduring ideal of the purified Christian state, an ideal that persisted until the close of the Middle Ages and left its considerable imprint on the powerful state of the early modern period as well." (104) Equally inexorable was the burgeoning negativity of the French church. Anti-Jewish canons, pronouncements characteristic of Councils that took place in localities with a marked Jewish habitation, had emanated from the Council of Bourges of 1276. (105) From the early thirteenth century onward, friars in Spain and France defined the status of late medieval Jews in a new way: they were not to be looked on as real Jews anymore because they had betrayed original Judaism. "Through their Talmud, they had become heretics to their own religion." (106) The effect of this declaration was widespread; during the fourteenth century, what had begun earlier as a series of debates between Jews and Christians descended to the level of diatribe, with Jews being identified with the antichrist. (107)

The rhetorical degradation was paralleled in the art of the later Middle Ages and early Renaissance, a telling situation since the influence of pictures on forming opinion cannot be overestimated. (108) Depictions of disputations between Christians and Jews before 1240 were generally neutral; they did not accord the latter a repulsively ugly physiognomy that imputed inner wickedness or intransigence, as did a Bible moralisee illuminated in 1410. (109) Jews shown in other venues of Christian art similarly experienced pejoration: a blinded Synagoga is no longer predominantly pictured as turning sadly away from the redemptive action as she does in windows at Chartres, in the Psalter of Blanche of Castile, in the sculptures at Reims and many other cathedrals; by the late middle ages she is shown lying senseless on the ground, sometimes pierced by the cross, often in demonic company, a circumstance presaged much earlier in Amiens, where demons pushed Synagoga into hell. (110) Depictions of Jesus' circumcision, like that included in Guillaume de Deguilleville's Pilgrimage of Human Life (ca. 1400), show Jews savoring the shedding of his blood; myriad passion scenes incorporate Jews in attitudes conveying hardened opposition to Christ; the stoning of St. Stephen, primarily because of the hate-filled faces of the executioners, becomes violently anti-Jewish. (111) Outside of the scriptures, the portrait of the Jew in late-fifteenth- and sixteenth-century graphic art was incendiary. Illustrated legends, like those about Theophilus who made a pact with the devil because he was influenced by a Jew, abounded; stories about Jewish boys who, having embraced Christianity, were murdered by their fathers, were omnipresent. (112) Jews were depicted as profaning images of Christ, Mary, and the Saints; insult to the consecrated species was a common subject of Renaissance woodcuts. (113) Little wonder that artists relegated Jews, sometimes even labeled "judei," to the burning caldrons of hell. (114)

When labels were absent--as was probably the case on Bourges' north doorway--identification of the figure on Mary's right as a Jew would not have proved difficult. Thousands of medieval depictions of heavily bearded Jewish characters, wearing long, flowing garments topped by a conical hat, still existed in churches great and small--on altarpieces, in stained glass, wall paintings, and statuary. Additional opportunities for recognition attended the advent of printing, which insured that Bibles and other kinds of devotional texts would be widely disseminated throughout Europe; their frontispieces and other decorative illustrations almost universally represented Jews in unfriendly poses, particularly in scenes portraying Christ's passion and death. (115)

Throughout the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the denigration of Judaism continued, not only in the thousands of woodcuts to be found in Biblical and devotional literature but also on altarpieces and choir stalls; (116) by 1523, the sour-faced, hirsute Jew even appeared on title pages to collections of Luther's sermons. (117) Consistently, Jews were shown wearing anachronistic garments to which was now attached the white or yellow Jewish ring, really a "rota" or circular device. (118) The conical headdress perdured until about 1510, although this type of hat now featured a broad brim, turned upward. (119) By the mid sixteenth century, these hats were flatter on top, but the characterization of the Jew in the front matter of Bible translations printed between 1550 and 1570 was no less derisive. (120)

In addition to maintaining and perhaps even increasing recognition of Jewish figures in graphic and plastic artistic venues, the printing press allowed for greater distribution of the anti-Jewish polemic in written form; Jews and Judaism were now frequently attacked as "comprehensive and unambiguous proofs of the spiritual chaos of the time." (121) The Maleus Malificarum (1487) explicitly justified the connection between witches and Jews; numerous pamphlets focused not on the sins of an individual but on the crimes of this whole societal group; by 1510, the Pharetra catholici fidei, a manual for condemning Jews, had been published throughout Europe. (122) Supposed proofs of Jewish terrorism, especially ritual murder, the deliberate spread of plague, the poisoning of wells, and related "crimes" against Christians, were commonplace. "The increasing segregation in some areas and the heightened frequency of calls for segregation everywhere emphasized the spiritual distance between the adherents of the two confessions." (123) De facto segregation became imposed reality with the promulgation of Paul IV's Bull (1555), "Cum nimis absurdum," which ordered that Italian Jewry be shut within walled ghettoes. (124) Diatribes like Marquardus de Susannis' "De Iudaeis" in 1558 as well as Pius IV's letter of July 8, 1560, "Contra Hebraeos," also fueled Catholic anti-Semitism. (125)

Similarly deplorable was the situation in France, where townspeople and their clergy were even more hostile to Jews than King or Papacy. (126) They were also afraid: Jewish books had been printed between 1552 and 1555; in 1550 Henry II (le Valois) had decreed in letters patent that converted Jews, especially merchants, could return to southwest France. (127) The crown desired to stimulate trade, but in an economy inherently unstable and with the tacit understanding that Jews would shortly practice their religion openly, the effect of such an edict was to occasion paranoia. Another destabilizing factor, fear of defeat, itself with tenuous connections to the return of Jews to France, may likewise have contributed to the general malaise. Word of the Huguenots' failure to prevail during five days of municipal insurrection in Toulouse (May 13-17, 1562) (128) could easily have reached Bourges by May 27th. Jews had lived in Toulouse for centuries, (129) and the city was sufficiently close to the area reopened for "New Christian" migration just twelve years earlier to have allowed for irrational blame, additional fuel for a fire already stoked by irrational hatred. Given such a climate, the Huguenots' frenzied attack on the north tympanum's one Jewish figure and an impetus to destroy everything surrounding it makes tragic sense.

Though recent scholarship has successfully and rightfully emphasized the religious nature of the French Wars of Religion, what happened at Bourges' north portal, although it is grounded in the religious issue, demands nuancing by other realities. In fact, three specific elements seem to share responsibility for the iconoclastic acts performed there. Certainly, the local Huguenot response to Calvin's caveats concerning Mary's role had causative power. Also compelling, given the clearly regal orientation in this doorway's composition, was the impetus to mutilate anything that related, even by analogy, to the trappings of the monarchial government of 1562. The third force is exclusively neither theological nor time-lined, but simply indicates an upsurge in the simmering anti-Judaism demonstrable throughout France and all of Europe in the sixteenth century. Positing a coalescence of these three factors--practical theology, politics, and prejudice--creates an appropriately expanded intellectual platform from which to view the destruction of Bourges' north doorway.

(1.) Jean-Yves Ribault, Un Chef d'Oeuvre Gothique: La Cathedrale de Bourges (Paris: Editions Anthese, 1995).

(2.) The Presentation of the Virgin Miniature by Jean Colombe (from the Tres-Riche Heures of the Duc de Berry) indicates that jamb statues decorated at least three doorways of the West facade. Colombe's depiction, however, is inaccurate in many respects and may be highly imaginative. See Tanya Bayard, Bourges Cathedral: The West Portals (New York: Garland, 1976), plate XXXVI.

(3.) The original tympanum--probably depicting the legend of a local saint--was destroyed when the north tower of the cathedral fell in 1506; we are describing the one in place in 1562. (The same comments apply to the spandrel sculptures.)

(4.) R. J. Knecht, The Rise and Fall of Renaissance France (London: Fontana, 1996), 356 and 366-67.

(5.) Sergiusz Michalski, The Reformation and the Visual Arts (New York: Routledge, 1993), 75.

(6.) Hans Belting, Likeness and Presence, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 459-60.

(7.) As in Strasbourg before 1529; see Michalski, 77.

(8.) Lee Palmer Wandel, Voracious Idols and Violent Hands (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 8.

(9.) Belting, 458.

(10.) Wandel, 193, and Carl C. Christensen, "Patterns of Iconoclasm in the Early Reformation: Strasbourg and Basel" in The Image and the Word, ed Joseph Gutmann (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars, 1977), 107.

(11.) Guiseppe Scavizzi, The Controversy on Images from Calvin to Baronius (New York: Peter Lang, 1992), 5 and 20.

(12.) Daniel W. Hardy, "Calvinism and the Visual Arts: A Theological Introduction" in Seeing Beyond the Word: Visual Arts and the Calvinist Tradition, ed. Paul Corby Finney (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999), 15, and Denis Crouzet, Les Guerriers de Dieu (Seyssel: Champs Vallon, 1990), 552.

(13.) Scavizzi, 50; n.b. 22: "Not accepting Calvin's iconoclastic stance means not accepting Calvin himself."

(14.) Calvin wrote: "God has never given commandment, except to each one in his own house, and in public to those he arms with authority to cast down idols" in Letters of John Calvin, trans Marcus Robert Gilchrist, ed. J. Bonnet (New York: Burt Franklin, 1858, reprinted 1972), 4:206. See the entire letter, 205-7.

(15.) Beza's position develops out of the distinction between sign and res, explored in early chapters of his Confessio Christianae Fidei. In chapter vi (page 28 in the definitive edition of 1560), he says that true believers perceive both; "infideles vero, quoniam sola signa percipiunt, et ita quidem ut res ipsas quas Deus ilis non minus vere quam signa offerebat, suo contemptu polluant quantum in se est & contumelia afficiant." Quoted in Jill Raitt, The Eucharistic Theology of Theodore Beza (Chambersburg, Penn.: American Academy of Religion, 1972), 27. Beza also claimed that the improper use of images caused his abandonment of the Church of Rome; see Donald Nugent, Ecumenism in the Age of Reform: The Colloquy of Poissy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974), 193. See also N. M. Sutherland, The Huguenot Struggle for Recognition (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1980), 124.

(16.) Olivier Christin, Une revolution symbolique: l'iconoclasme huguenot et la reconstruction catholique (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1991), 171. A number of contemporary scholars, including Christin, discuss the extensive bibliography associated with image breaking in the sixteenth century; a useful survey of this phenomenon also emerges from the collection of essays edited by R. W. Scribner and N. Warnke, entitled Bilder und Bildersturm im Spatmittelalter (Wiesbaden: Wolfenbutteler Forschungen 46, 1990). Mack P. Holt's "Putting Religion Back into the Wars of Religion," French Historical Studies 18 (1993): 524-51 concentrates on the varying interpretations of what occurred in France.

(17.) William R. Jones, "Art and Christian Piety: Iconoclasm in Medieval Europe" in Gutmann, 88, and Michael O'Connell, The Idolatrous Eye (New York: Oxford University Press, 200), 50: "Seemingly disparate Reformation challenges to images ... are themselves interconnected to their underlying target, the incarnational structure of late-medieval religion."

(18.) Ibid., 172-73. The differing teleologies of medieval exempla are surveyed in Margaret Jennings, "Lucan's Medieval Popularity: The Exemplum Tradition," Revista di Cultura Classica e Mediovale 16 (1974): 215-18.

(19.) Jones, 89, and O'Connell, 47. A concise review of the changes in Eucharistic theology that precipitated Reformation iconoclasm appears in Susan J. White's article, "Eucharist, History of, in the West," in The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship, ed. Peter E. Fink, S.J. (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1990), 416-20.

(20.) David Freedberg, Iconoclasts and Their Motives (Montclair, N.J.: Maarssen, Gary Schwartz, 1985), 37; the ubiquity of images is a point made by nearly every commentator on Reformation iconoclasm. For a succinct discussion of the function of images as expressed in the watershed Summa theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas, see Wandel, 46-47.

(21.) Olivier Christin, "Iconographie de l'iconoclasme," Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 75 (1988): 53, and Christin, Revolution, 174.

(22.) The clearest definition of practical theology is in Richard Viladesau, Theological Aesthetics: God in Imagination, Beauty, and Art (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 37: "Practical theologies are directed to society at large. For their operative norm they take praxis (practical action informed by and informing theory). Responsible commitment to this norm and/or involvement in the situation of praxis is the supreme value. Such theologies emphasize 'the good' in its relation to the holy or to religious experience. They involve the disciplines of ethics and politics, as related to transforming faith/praxis. Their theological discourse involves the critique of ideology and (at times) the proposal of a future ideal." See also Wandel, 23-24.

(23.) Wandel, 3.

(24.) G. F. Van Ackeren, "History of Theology," in New Catholic Encyclopedia, (New York: McGraw--Hill, 1967), 14:47.

(25.) "Une volonte pedagogico--demonstrative et d'une aspiration a la restauration de la gloire de Dieu pollute par les abominations papistiques." Denis Crouzet, La Genese de la Reforme Francaise, 1520-1560 (Paris: Sedes, 1996), 381.

(26.) Wandel, 2 and 10.

(27.) Ibid., 11.

(28.) Ibid., 192-98.

(29.) Carlos N. M. Eire, War Against the Idols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 296, and Mack P. Holt, The French Wars of Religion, 1562-1629 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 2. "Pollution" as a cause of religious violence is treated extensively by Natalie Zemon Davis, "The Rites of Violence," in her Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1975), 157ff. Eire, 308, discusses idolatry as "a social phenomenon, as something that needs to be wiped out from the body politic."

(30.) O'Connell, 59-60, and Raymond A. Mentzer, "The Reformed Churches of France and the Visual Arts," in Seeing Beyond the Word, ed. P. Finney, 207.

(31.) Louis Reau, Histoire du Vandalisme (Paris: Laffont, 1994), 104. Note that Nicolas Catherinot's account was not published until 1684, more than a century after the event. Later narratives, especially Louis Raynal's Histoire de Berry depuis les plus anciens jusqu'a on 1789, 4 vols. (Bourges: n.p., 1844-46), are based on Catherinot.

(32.) Giles Chavet's Journal is currently unavailable and probably has been destroyed. An extract from it, describing events at Bourges, appears in the first edition of Glaumeau's Journal, with an introduction and notes by President Hiver (Bourges: n.p., 1867). A useful assessment of both texts and Catherinot's Le siege appears in Ann New Smith, Twelfth Century Sculpture and the Cathedral of Bourges (Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 1974), 16, note 10.

(33.) Reau, 105.

(34.) Crouzet, Guerriers, 540.

(35.) Amadee Boinet, La Cathedrale de Bourges (Paris: Henri Laurens, n.d.), 19-20, vividly describes the sack of the cathedral; see also Christin, Revolution, 167-69.

(36.) This hymn (quoted in Crouzet, 537) is adapted from Psalm 124; it opines, "If the heavenly power were not with us, if the Lord did not help his people, then there would have been no hope of change." Psalm 124 was very popular with the Huguenots and was sung at Bourges to rally coreligionists; see W. Stanford Reid, "The Battle Hymns of the Lord: Calvinist Psalmody of the Sixteenth Century," Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies 2 (1971): 47.

(37.) Ibid., 538. So heedless of their own safety were some of the participants that they were killed by falling statuary; see Helmut Feld, Der Ikonoklasmus des Westens (Leiden: Brill, 1990), 186.

(38.) Bayard, 118ff.

(39.) Ribault, 111. Cf. Paul Gauchery, "Restes de l'ancien jube de la cathedrale de Bourges," Memoires de la Societe des Antiquaires du Centre 38 (1917-18): 63-100, and Fabienne Joubert, Le Jube de Bourges (Paris: R. M. N. [Les Dossiers du Musee du Louvre], 1994).

(40.) Ribault, 112. The elements in Eucharistic theology that were despised by Calvinism are explained in Peter E. Fink, "Eucharist, Theology of" in Sacramental Worship, ed. Fink, 435-37.

(41.) Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, (New York: Harper, 1877), 1:462, and Benjamin C. Milner, Calvin's Doctrine of the Church (Leiden: Brill, 1970), 134.

(42.) Erwin Iserloh and others, Reformation and Counter--Reformation in History of the Church, (New York: Seabury, 1980), 5:393.

(43.) Milner, 138.

(44.) Wandel, 137f. Cf. Alastair Duke, Reformation and Revolt in the Low Countries (London: Hambledon, 1990), 41 and 43.

(45.) Restoration work on the figures representing souls rising from their tombs indicates that they also were damaged, but not when this occurred. Centuries of weathering as well as the French Revolution may share responsibility with sixteenth--century iconoclasm for their decayed state. See Bayard, 136, and plates XX and XXI.

(46.) Milner, 137.

(47.) Iserloh, 393.

(48.) Heiko A. Oberman, The Impact of the Reformation (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1994), 244.

(49.) Duke, 42.

(50.) New Smith, 18, note 12.

(51.) Reau, 53. Louis VII was crowned King of France in this edifice in 1137.

(52.) The correct translation is "A young woman shall conceive." See Heiko A. Oberman, The Roots of Anti--Semitism, trans. James I. Porter (Philadelphia, Penn.: Fortress, 1984), 83.

(53.) New Smith, 108.

(54.) Ibid., 17.

(55.) Ibid. We are not suggesting any negation of the importance of the Word in Huguenot belief and practice.

(56.) Barbara Diefendorf, Beneath the Cross (New York: Oxford University Press. 1991), 178, and Philip Benedict, Rouen During the Wars of Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 239.

(57.) Mark Greengrass, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation, 1500-1610 (London: Longman, 1998), 15. See also A. Latreille and others, Histoire du Catholicisme en France, (Paris: Editions Spes, 1960), 2:167-68.

(58.) E. Moreau and others, La Crise religieuse du xvieme Siecle in Histoire de l'Eglise, (Paris: Bloud et Gay, 1950), 16:276.

(59.) G. Godineau, "Statuts synodaux inedites du Diocese de Bourges," Revue d'Histoire de l'Eglise de France 72 (1986): 51; also Latreille, 172. 60. Moreau, 249-70.

(61.) Benedict, 236: Benedict describes Calvinism's growth (235-38) as a "mass movement"; see also Eire, 296.

(62.) Eire, 310: "Instead of being called upon to overturn statues and altars, Christians were now being called upon to overturn governments."

(63.) In John Knox, On Rebellion, ed. Roger A. Mason (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 95. See also The Political Writings of John Knox, ed. Marvin A. Breslow (Washington, D.C.: Folger Books, 1985), 10.

(64.) Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992), 565-69.

(65.) O'Connell, 60, and Duffy, 571.

(66.) Eire, 281.

(67.) Calvin's truncated reference to resistance has occasioned considerable scholarly controversy. John T. McNeill's "The Democratic Element in Calvin's Thought," Church History 18 (1949): 153-71 discusses the Institute's book IV, chapter 20, section 31 clearly, but with a proresistance bias. Brief but helpful are the comments of H.A. Lloyd, "Calvin and the Duty of Guardians to Resist," and Peter Stein, "Calvin and the Duty of Guardians to Resist: A Comment," both published in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History 32 (1981): 65-67 and 69-70.

(68.) Viret is unequivocal in L'Interimfait par dialogues, ed. Guy R. Mermier (New York: Peter Lang, 1985), Dialogue Six, 249-50: "ne de rompre les autels et les images ... sinon la off Dieu leur en a donne seigneurie."

(69.) Georges Bavaud, Le Reformateur Pierre Viret, Histoire et Societe 10 (Geneva: Labor et Fides, 1986), 340, and Eire, 292-93.

(70.) Eire, 294, and Benedict, 237.

(71.) Benedict, 66.

(72.) William Monter, Judging the French Revolution (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), 221-29.

(73.) Phyllis Mack Crew, Calvinist Preaching and Iconoclasm in the Netherlands, 1544-1569 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), 141.

(74.) Benedict, 67.

(75.) Holt, 3.

(76.) Ibid., 44. Alastair Duke terms the political agitation of the Huguenots "sedition," in his "Perspectives on International Calvinism" in Calvinism in Europe, 1540-1620, ed. Andrew Pettegree (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 17.

(77.) Janine Garrisson, A History of Sixteenth Century France: Renaissance, Reformation and Rebellion, 1483-1598, trans. Richard Rex (New York: St. Martin's, 1995), 332-36.

(78.) Benedict, 239.

(79.) Holt, 46-48.

(80.) Mark Greengrass, The French Reformation (Oxford: Blackwells, 1987), 67.

(81.) Garrisson, 270.

(82.) Greengrass, Reformation, 67: "The aim of the civil war, however it was dressed up, was to seize power." Cf., Garrison, 340-41.

(83.) Robert Branner, The Cathedral of Bourges and Its Place in Gothic Architecture, ed. Shirley Praeger Branner (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989), 8-9.

(84.) Guy Devailly, Le Diocese de Bourges (Paris: Letouzey et Ane, n.d.), 46.

(85.) The selective nature of the iconoclasm on the south portal has been discussed by Amadee Boinet (ibid.) and further amplified in Christin, Revolution, 169-70, and in Christin, "Iconographie," 52-53.

(86.) Freedberg, 32.

(87.) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill and trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia, Penn.: Westminster, 1960), book I, chapter ii, sections 1-4 and 9-10, 99-105, and 109-10. Also, book II, chapter 8, sections 16-17, 381-84. See also, Christin, "Iconographie," 53.

(88.) Christin, ibid.; Christin's article (51) includes excellent illustrations from the spandrels, which he discusses on 52.

(89.) Crouzet, Guerriers, 527, identifies iconoclasm with war against the tyranny of "princes etrangers." Cf. Freedberg, 17.

(90.) Freedberg, 25.

(91.) David Freedberg, "The Structure of Byzantine and European Iconoclasm" in Iconoclasm, ed. Anthony Bryer and Judith Herrin (Birmingham, England: University Press, Center for Byzantine Studies, 1977), 169.

(92.) Crew, 160.

(93.) Heinz Schreckenberg, The Jews in Christian Art (New York: Continuum, 1996), 15.

(94.) Ibid., and 149 and 192.

(95.) Ribault, 94-99.

(96.) Laurence Brugger, "Hebraii dicunt: le soubassement de la facade occidentale de la cathedrale de Bourges," Cahiers archaeologique 41 (1993): 135-37; also Margaret Jennings, "Prophecy in Glass and Stone: Jewish Influences on the Cathedral of Bourges," in Insights and Interpretations, ed. Colum Hourihane (Princeton, N.J.: Index of Christian Art/Princeton University Press, 2002), 182-210.

(97.) Schreckenberg, 163, 165, and 174.

(98.) Ribault, 91.

(99.) Frederic J. Baumgartner, France in the Sixteenth Century (New York: St. Martin's, 1995), 135.

(100.) Jonathan I. Israel, European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985), 36.

(101.) Mark U. Edwards, "Against the Jews," in Essential Papers on Judaism and Christianity in Conflict, ed. Jeremy Cohen (New York: New York University Press, 1991), 357-58.

(102.) John Edwards, The Jews in Christian Europe, 1400-1700 (London: Routledge, 1988), 62.

(103.) Esther Benbassa, The Jews of France (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), 22-25.

(104.) William C. Jordan, The French Monarchy and the Jews (Philadelphia, Penn.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989), 256. Cf. Robert Chazan, Medieval Jewry in Northern France (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), 194, and Philippe Bourdrel, Histoire des Juifs en France (Paris: Albin Michel, 1974), 67.

(105.) Bernhard Blumenkranz, "Anti-Jewish Polemics and Legislation in the Middle Ages: Literary Fiction or Reality?" The Journal of Jewish Studies 15 (1964): 129.

(106.) Tarald Rasmussen, "Jacob Perez of Valencia's Tractatus contra Judeos (1484) in the Light of Medieval Anti-Jewish Traditions," in Augustine, the Harvest, and Theology, ed. Kenneth Hagen (Leiden: Brill, 1990), 42.

(107.) Oberman, Impact, 139.

(108.) Schreckenberg, 14.

(109.) Ibid., 226; cf., 235.

(110.) Bernhard Blumenkranz, Le Juif medieval au mirroir de l'art chretien (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1966), 69.

(111.) Ibid., 84-115; in fact, scenes depicting Christ's Passion as well as those portraying the stoning of Stephen had been stridently and consistently anti-Jewish from the twelfth century onward; see Schreckenberg, 145 and 157-89.

(112.) Schreckenberg, 253-55.

(113.) Ibid., 257-76.

(114.) Blumenkranz, 44-46, and Schreckenberg, 241 and 244-45.

(115.) Schreckenberg, 182-83.

(116.) Ibid., 195 and 157.

(117.) Ibid., 155.

(118.) For a discussion of the Jewish ring and other distinguishing, external marks of Judaism in the Middle Ages, see Therese and Mendel Metzger, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages (New York: Alpine Fine Arts Collection, 1982); also see Schreckenberg, 118 and 140-41.

(119.) Schreckenberg, 110-11 and 120.

(120.) Ibid., 122-24.

(121.) Oberman, Roots, 22.

(122.) Ibid., 81, 84-85, and 92.

(123.) Jordan, 254. For discussions of the multifaceted accusations of Jews by Christians see Mark Edwards, 373, and John Edwards, 11-12.

(124.) Kenneth R. Stow, Catholic Thought and Papal Jewry Policy, 1555-1593 (New York: Jewish Theological Society, 1977), 3.

(125.) Ibid., 13 and 63.

(126.) Israel, 67.

(127.) Gerard Nahon, "La nation juive portugaise en France, xvieme-xviiieme siecle: Espaces et Pourvoirs," Revue des Etudes Juives, 153 (1994): 356-57. Henri Hauser's emphasis on inflation as a destabilizer of social equilibrium is marginalized in Crouzet, Genese, 482.

(128.) Mark Greengrass, "The Anatomy of a Religious Riot in Toulouse in May 1562," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 34 (1983): 367-91.

(129.) Elie Szapiro, "Le Sud-Ouest," in Histoire des juifs en France, ed. Bernhard Blumenkranz (Toulouse: Privat, 1972), 222-23 and 229-30.

Margaret Jennings is a professor of English at St. Joseph's College in New York. Francis P. Kilcoyne is a member of the theology department of Boston College and Executive Director of Harvard's archaeological excavation in Ashkelon, Israel.
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