Jews in the Fleury Playbook.
--Peter the Venerable (1)
... the quality of hostility against Jews cannot be determined by premises about Jews, for it is a characteristic of the mentality of non-Jews, not of Jews, and it is determined, not by the objective reality of Jews, but by what the symbol "Jews" has signified to non-Jews.
--Gavin I. Langmuir (2)
The Fleury Playbook, a manuscript collection of ten Latin plays, includes a surprisingly broad range of medieval dramatic types: four miracles of Saint Nicholas, five episodes from Christ's life, and a conversion of Saint Paul. The Playbook covers a broad range of subjects, includes both liturgical and nonliturgical plays, suggests diverse performance conventions (both monastic and nonmonastic), and employs several musical styles. The collection's heterogeneity arguably points to multiple authors and multiple points of origin (I in fact assume that there were multiple authors, though my argument does not depend on this point). After scrutinizing these aspects of the Playbooks diversity, C. Clifford Flanigan persuasively concludes that the only unifying principle is the redactor's interest in drama for its own sake, regardless of its subject matter or connection to the liturgy. In other words, the Fleury collection demonstrates one redactor's "horizon of expectations" about drama as a genre. (3) Flanigan's conclusions are persuasive, his theoretical approach compelling. In fact, his argument has broader implications than he explicitly recognizes, for the "horizon of expectations" refers to the entire literary experience of readers, encompassing genres, styles, themes, and historical events. (4) This and complementary theoretical models would encourage us to look at historically specific reader expectations other than genre in relation to the Playbook. (5)
Historical specificity is, of course, a relative goal, particularly with medieval manuscripts. This manuscript was most likely copied in northern France in the thirteenth century; we know that it resided in the library of the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (Abbaye Saint Benoit de Fleury, at Saint Benoit-sur-Loire) in the thirteenth century. (6) Fleury was the preeminent Benedictine abbey of the Orleanais, esteemed for its learning and literary innovations, its possession of Saint Benedict's relics, and its royal privileges. (7) Scholars usually suppose the collection was composed at the monastery (some countertheories notwithstanding), though a definitive provenance cannot be established on existing evidence. (8) Still, the Playbook obviously contributes to the literary and dramatic culture of thirteenth-century northern Europe, and we may assume the Fleury monks read it as we assume they read other works in their library. We cannot assume they witnessed performances of the plays: the Playbook is not connected to any service books or performative context, and there is no evidence of performances at Fleury or elsewhere. Still, the manuscript clearly presents drama as enacted mimesis. The texts sometimes detail performance conventions (costumes, processional routes, gestures, and the like); they certainly encode meaning through such conventions. The manuscript thus offers historical evidence of drama presented both as a performative text and as a genre appropriate for reading, and the Playbook is best approached with both performances and readers in mind. In what follows, I aim at this ideal, though my theoretical perspective leads me to emphasize the verbal works, and to consider rubrics for performance primarily as they suggest meanings to a learned reader.
One of the most obvious features of the Playbook is its repetitive, stereotypical anti-Semitism, and contemporary readers no doubt approached these passages with a "horizon of expectations" formed by the literature and events of their time. A thirteenth-century churchman would encounter destructive images of Jews in many discourses: (9) exegesis presents Scripture as a story about the divinely ordained fall of Synagoga; (10) canon law treats Jews as active enemies of Christ and Christians; (11) contra Judaeos polemics portray Jews as irrational, carnal beings; (12) miracles of the Virgin picture Jews as a horrific threat to the consecrated host; (13) and saints' lives develop the brutal myth of ritual murder. (14) Collectively, these discourses reveal widely held beliefs about Jews and shape readers' horizon of expectations. This is to say that certain myths about Jews--as carnal, irrational, subhuman beings, perpetual enemies of Christ and all Christians, inevitable threats to communal order, reprobates against the truth (15)--have become authoritative facts in dominant culture. (16)
These "facts" create an intellectual rationale for the persecution of Jews. From the first decades after 1000 C.E., northern Europe witnesses the determined exploitation of Jews, their expulsion, forced or coerced conversions, and pogroms. (17) Unruly popular risings account for some massacres, particularly in the Rhineland, but French and English royal authority also take part. Ecclesiastics often enter the fray to plead against popular violence, but just as often their abusive language and intolerant notions stoke the fires of passion. Given this context, it is lamentable but not surprising that six of the Playbook's ten plays present Jews in substantial and highly charged roles--as the violently ranting Herod (in Ordo ad Representandum Herodem [Herod] and Ad Interfectionem Puerorum [Slaughter of Innocents]), the masses eager to crucify Jesus (Resuscitatio Lazari [Lazarus] and Visitatio Sepulchri [Visit to the Sepulcher]), and the murderous high priests intent on destroying Christ and all Christians (Peregrinus [Pilgrim on the Road to Emmaus] and Ad Representandum Conversionem B. Pauli [Conversion of Paul]). These images reinforce readers' expectations about the religious Other, shaped by the experience of many discourses and by historical context.
Much as Orientalism generates images of Muslims in post-Enlightenment literature (and in modern popular culture and politics), (18) so too does a medieval anti-Semitic structure of thought generate dramatic images. Indeed, the Fleury Playbook advances a sustained polemic that is obvious to the most casual reader (if we can imagine a casual reader of Latin drama), though this content has passed almost unremarked in modern scholarship. (19) While it is important that we at least apprehend this polemical message--the broad strokes of which delineate the outlines of medieval readers' experience--it is equally important that we detect the finer brush marks in the individual plays, If we look carefully, we will find that the Playbooks polemical attacks on Jews are greatly complicated by the many figures who do not fit the stereotypes, and who therefore reveal fissures and contradictions in the apparently smooth facade of anti-Semitism. Some plays, for instance, depict Jews as Christ's affectionate friends, followers, or converts; one play, De Sancto Nicolao et de Iudeo (Saint Nicholas and the Jew), presents a Jew as the untrusting devotee of Saint Nicholas, confounding the very idea of religious difference. As images of Jews multiply, the illusion of a stable, unchanging difference between Christians and Jews grows increasingly problematic. (20)
In other words, the Playbook both invests heavily in the notion of the absolute Other and identifies closely with that Other. Jews thus serve a paradoxical double function in the Playbook: they represent the sins, doubts, and errors that are supposed to be excluded from Christendom, and the faith that constitutes Christian identity. Exclusion and identification are two poles of a pervasive binary opposition; as mutually dependent terms, they can, I believe, be understood only in relation to each other. In order to apprehend how this dynamic opposition functions in the Playbook, we need first to recognize how Jews signify a religious Other, and second to perceive how Jews (sometimes the same Jews) voice an idealized Christian faith. Once we appreciate the poles of this opposition, we will be in a position to understand their dynamic interdependence. We will be able, finally, to appreciate how and when the Playbook departs from stereotypes and develops surprisingly original representations of Jews.
Medieval Latin plays, including those of the Fleury Playbook, have been generously studied as devotional works, exemplifying churchmen's highest spiritual aspirations and aesthetic achievements. By contrast, I will be reading the Playbook against the grain, in the manner of a new historicist: "Where traditional 'close readings' tended to build toward an intensified sense of wondering admiration, linked to the celebration of genius, new historicist readings are more often skeptical, wary, demystifying, critical, and even adversarial" (21) This approach does not deny the aesthetic beauty of these texts, or the authors' aspirations, but it does insist that we move beyond admiration and toward a fuller analysis of what the Playbook actually signifies and what cultural work is accomplished by its many representations of Jews.
I. The Jewish Other
Although we must not oversimplify the medieval horizon of expectations or assume that all writers set forth exactly the same stereotypes, the idea of the Jew as carnal, irrational, murderous, and guilty of deicide is widespread and conventional in the time of the Playbook. What ultimately underlies these stereotypes is the idea of the "hermeneutical Jew," as Jeremy Cohen labels him: "that is, the Jew as constructed in the discourse of Christian theology, and above all in Christian theologians' interpretation of Scripture" (22) This idea of the Jew originates in early Christian attempts to legitimate the new religion and articulate its difference from (and superiority to) Judaism. (23) To this end, churchmen devised images of Jews that challenged the credibility of Jewish learning, hermeneutics, and rituals. Rather than being seen a chosen people, the privileged interpreters of Scripture, Jews are viewed as rejected by God, their privileges and status transferred to Christians. Cohen usefully sums up the dominant Christian model: "[T]he Jew had a particular role to play in a divinely ordained historical drama. His role stemmed from his failure to embrace Christianity when Jesus, his own kinsman, came to redeem him and his people before all others. This failure, in turn, had a chiefly hermeneutical basis; it derived from a deficient reading of the biblical covenant that God had revealed to him, an inability to discern the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New." (24) The hermeneutical Jew is thus the representative of a stigmatized tradition of learning. According to the stereotype, he is a literal or carnal reader, incapable of comprehending the spiritual mysteries of Scripture (which is to say he disagrees with Christian analyses); this hermeneutical error leads him to kill the Messiah. This historical moment, in fact, defines the Jewish essence within medieval Christian discourses: all Jews are to some extent identified with those who tortured and crucified Jesus, and so they appear throughout Latin discourses, in liturgical drama as in exegesis, saints' lives, and contra Judaeos polemics. This Jew is most essentially a figure of speech, the product of a "textual attitude"--not a mimetic representation of actual human beings but a one-dimensional image derived entirely from books. (25) By the High Middle Ages, this image bears all the authority of the prestigious discourses that set it forth. The Fleury Playbook dramatizes the stereotypes, and in the process satisfies a learned reader's (reductive, universalizing, and simplistic but also, we must remember, powerfully authoritative) horizon of expectations.
Visit to the Sepulcher exemplifies the Playbooks most basic image of the Jew. The play opens with the Marys' intensely emotional meditation on Jesus' death, which quickly leads them to curse the Jews, his supposed killers:
Tercia: Heu! nequam gens Iudaica, quam dira frendet uesania. Plebs execranda!
Prima: Cur nece plum impia dampnasti seua inuida? O ira nefanda!
Secunda: Quid iustus hic promeruit quod crucifigi debuit? O gens dampnanda! (26)
(The Third: Alas! Worthless Jewish people, whom a dreadful madness makes frenzied. A people accursed!
The First: Why have you with violent envy condemned the pious one to impious death? O illicit anger!
The Second: What did this just man merit that he ought to be crucified? O damnable people!)
The Marys characterize the Jews as worthless, agitated by madness, accursed, envious, full of wrath, and damned for their role in killing Jesus. This portrayal emphasizes the irrationality of the imputed deicide, the illicit violent emotionality of Jews, and the divine punishment brought on by their collective action. Significantly, the Marys refer always to a unified people--"gens Iudaica," "plebs execranda," "gens dampnanda," This pattern continues throughout the play and serves to define "Jew" as a member of a guilty collective, inseparable from those who crucified Jesus. All that "Jew" might signify is thus reduced to an unchanging, timeless category: an inferior and subject people, damned in perpetuity.
The manuscript Playbook contains another set of lines for the Marys' opening lament, which should serve to enlarge our understanding of subtle variations within a shared horizon of expectations. These additional verses are copied after the Visit to the Sepulcher text and before the Pilgrim on the Road to Emmaus rubric; they could be meant as an alternative to the Marys' opening diatribe, or they could be a simpler, perhaps earlier version of this passage (for the sake of clarity, I will call this passage the alternate Marys' lines). Here the Marys discuss Jesus' death without overt abuse of Jews:
Prima: Heu, misere cur contigit uidere mortem Saluatoris!
Secunda: Heu, redempcio Israel, ut quid mortem sustinuit!
Tercia: Heu, consolacio nostra ut quid taliter agere uoluit.
Hos insimul: Iam Jam ecce, iam properemus ad tumulum, unguentes corpus sanctissimum. (1:666 n.)
(The First: Alas, wretched that we are, why did it fall to us to see the death of the Savior!
The Second: Alas, Israel's redemption, why did you undergo death!
The Third: Alas, our consolation, why did you wish to act thus!
These together: Now, now, behold, now we will hurry to the grave, to anoint his most holy body.)
The women present Jesus as their savior, redeemer, and consoler; and their lament focuses on his willing death, his power to console. The drama of the Crucifixion is complete with him: he acts in accordance with his own will ("ut quid taliter agere uoluit") rather than being acted upon. Because these Marys are not concerned with the process of torture and execution, they do not enlarge on the conventional Jewish agents of his passion, and their devotion to his body incites no overt anti-Semitism. On the contrary, they view Jesus as "redempcio Israel" (Israel's redemption), eliding the "old" Israel and the "new" Jew and gentile. This vision of harmonious union sounds peaceful enough at first glance, but it refers to the theological premise that Jews will ultimately correct their hermeneutical error, convert, and unite with Christians: they will cease to be Jews. In the meantime, "redempcio Israel" is ironic, for it calls attention to the Jews' collective failure thus far to accept their own redeemer. For all their differences in tone, then, both the standard and alternate lines deliver conventional anti-Semitic content.
The Marys' attitudes recur elsewhere in the Playbook, and tracing out the patterns of coherence will allow us more fully to recognize the blunt features of the hermeneutic Jew, who comes to represent a generalized antipathy to Christendom. The Jew's desire to kill Jesus is always explicit, as when Jesus' disciples warn him against going into Judea to heal Lazarus:
In Iudeam quare uis tendere? Ut te perdant sat noscis querere te Iudeos. Anne placet ut hii et alii gratulentur se homicidii esse reos? (Lazarus, 2:205) (Why do you want to go to Judea? You know well that the Jews seek you so that they might slay you. Can it really be that it seems good to you that these and others should congratulate themselves that they are guilty of homicide?)
All Jews are implicated in the deadly pursuit of Jesus here, and all are depicted as eager to take on the guilt of homicide. As in the standard Marys' lines, collective guilt serves to define Jews. In the Playbook, this characterization begins at Jesus' birth, when Herod tries to kill him by ordering the slaughter of the Innocents, the first martyrs of the Christian Church. (27) Jewish hostility is not restricted to a single person or time: not satisfied with killing Jesus, they seek to destroy all believers, from the Innocents slain at his birth (Slaughter of Innocents) to the disciples who accompany him in his adult mission (Lazarus). Hence Thomas anticipates dying with Jesus on his journey into Judea: "Festinemus cum eo pergere / in Iudeam, et ibi uiuere / desistamus" (Let us hasten to go on with him into Judea, and there let us cease to live ). Thomas imagines Judea as a place of death, an image that resonates with the loss, absence, and darkness that attend the Crucifixion in Christian devotional art.
Jewish violence is similarly universalized in the Conversion of Paul, where Saul (the name foregrounds his unregenerate state) voices his hatred of Christians:
Propalare uobis non ualeo quam ingenti michi sint odio Christicole, qui per fallaciam totam istam seducunt patriam. (2:219) (I cannot make clear to you how greatly hateful to me are the Christ worshippers, who lead this whole land astray with their deceit.)
Saul's speech suggests an interesting fantasy about Christian preachers' charismatic power to seduce all of ancient Judea. (28) Resisting this power, Saul adheres to the original paternal order and the "old law" fulfilling medieval stereotypes of Jews as inhabitants of (later, exiles from) a superceded patria (fatherland). As the playwright later summarizes his character before his conversion, Saul was a "most savage wolf" (lupus seuissumus ), moved by nothing but violent rage against Christ and all his followers. Like the Jewish masses in the standard Marys' lines and in Thomas's description of Judea, Saul represents a transcendent anger and bestiality. Long after the crucifixion, Saul embodies a continuing Jewish threat to all Christians. As Annanias describes him,
De hoc Saulo audiui plurima; fecit tuis mala quam maxima. Si quem uidet qui tibi seruiat, semper furit ut eum destruat. Hic principis habet epistolas ut occidat omnes Christicolas. (221) (I have heard many things about this Saul; he has done the greatest evils to your [God's Christian] people. If he sees anyone who serves you, always he rages that he might destroy him. He has letters from the leader to slaughter all Christ worshippers.)
These verses once again portray Jews in terms of envy, ungovernable rage, and conspiracies against Christendom. From the playwright's perspective, Saul fights not just against humans but against God's ordained plan, and the outcome of that battle is already known to the play's audience. Although Saul converts in this play, the high priest who licensed his murderous journey remains onstage, according to a rubric on the manuscript page; his presence (whether imagined or enacted) reminds the audience that the threat of Jewish violence continues.
The Playbooks repeated characterization of Jews in terms of anger, murderous envy, and antipathy to all things and people associated with Jesus, serves to delineate medieval readers' horizon of expectations. (29) While Visit to the Sepulcher, Lazarus, and Conversion of Paul affirm the stereotypes, the plays also evidence slight but significant variations in writers' attitudes. Studying them together allows us to recognize, for instance, that the standard Marys' attitude toward Jews is extreme even in their own time. Although Jews were traditionally regarded as guilty of deicide (and still are in many quarters), not every contemporary commentator finds all Jews culpable, as the Fleury Marys do, or expresses censure in such degrading language. Some ecclesiastics argued that only the Jewish elders were responsible for the deicide; some proposed that the elders did not know what they were doing and were therefore not guilty of deicide. (30) These theories soften the blame or restrict responsibility to a few leaders, and they appear acceptable elsewhere in the Playbook. We encounter a relatively moderate position in Pilgrim on the Road to Emmaus, for instance:
[Discipuli]: [Iesus] ... qui fuit uir propheta, potens in opere et sermone coram Deo et omni populo; quomodo tradiderunt euro summi sacerdotes et principes nostri in dampnacione mortis et crucifixerunt eum.... (1:471; my emphasis) (Disciples: [we are talking about Jesus] who was a prophet powerful in works and speech before God and all the people; how our high priests and leaders delivered him to the condemnation of death, and crucified him.)
The disciples explicitly restrict blame to the high priests and leaders. In Conversion of Paul, as we have seen, the conspiracy of Saul and the high priest similarly portrays only the Jewish leaders as responsible for violence against Christians. This limitation carries its own negative history, and does not necessarily lessen the audience's perception of danger. Indeed, it recalls a number of medieval myths in which contemporary
Jewish leaders were supposed to meet furtively to devise horrific crimes--deciding, for instance, to desecrate a eucharistic wafer, poison a well, or crucify a Christian child on Good Friday. Pilgrim on the Road to Emmaus and Conversion of Paul to some extent validate these fictions by emphasizing Jewish leaders' anger, power, and hidden councils. It is nonetheless important to recognize that neither play attributes active hostility to all Jews: the plays can and do differ in assigning degrees of blame to the Jewish people, either making all Jews guilty of deicide or emphasizing only the leaders' actions.
The playwrights do not speak with a single voice, but the idea of an originary Jewish crime remains constant: this is the Playbook's most basic, most cohesive expectation about the Jewish Other. Since this idea is central to the action in each of these plays, we might pause briefly to reflect on what the repeated image achieves in dramatic context. The broad intention of each play is evidently not to describe Judaism with any accuracy but to advance Christian communal and self-understanding, to heighten Christian devotion. At the simplest level, the hermeneutic Jew serves these purposes by representing what the Christian is not. That is, the images polarize the difference between Jew and Christian, creating a negative definition of Christian identity. If the Jew is mad, accursed, envious, full of wrath, damned, then by inference the Christian is rational, blessed, charitable, temperate, pious, redeemed. The Jewish Other functions to distance the Christian subject from the terrifying sins of homicide, wrath, envy, and internecine strife that the Jews (and only the Jews) embody. Of course, all of these sins are perfectly evident within northern European Christian culture at the time: we might recall the violence of chivalric culture, the military expansionism of the age, and the masculine aggression only partially channeled into crusading. Yet within the world of the Playbook, these distressing sins become the sole burden of the Other. Internal cultural issues are in this way externalized, displaced, and thereby imaginatively resolved.
One of the more difficult internal issues for ecclesiastics is the Christian expression of doctrinal doubt, so it is not surprising that the Fleury plays work hard to attribute such doubts (only) to the Jews. The standard version of Visit to the Sepulcher, for instance, contrasts the disbelieving Jews of the Marys' opening diatribe with the Marys, Peter, and
John, each of whom elaborately expresses faith in the resurrection. An angel first announces the Resurrection to the Marys in the choir, and, according to the play text, the women repeat the news to the people ("ad populum" ) in the nave. Next, Peter and John visit the tomb and confirm the miracle, citing the discarded grave clothes as sufficient proof that the Resurrection has occurred. Then Mary Magdalene meets Christ the gardener, after which she too turns to the people ("ad populum" ) to proclaim the event. The women receive a second angelic announcement at the sepulcher itself, and again they turn to the people ("ad plebem" ), spreading the empty shroud and bidding the congregation to behold and believe. Christ enters a second time, transformed from gardener to lord ("is qui ante fuit Hortolanus in similitudinem Domini" ), again demonstrating his victory over death. Finally, the choir announces the Resurrection: "Alleluia, resurrexit hodie Dominus!" (Alleluia, the Lord has risen today! ). Each appeal "to the people" insists on the compelling symbolic proofs of the Resurrection, countering the "irrational" Jewish disbelief. Although each bit of evidence is immediately believed within the play, however, the redundant proofs and exhortations gradually imply the insufficiency of any single witness, and the necessity of anticipating and answering doubt. While Visit to the Sepulcher begins by consigning doubt and disbelief to the Jews, this pattern of exhortation recognizes the possibility of doubt within the Church.
If the play is suggestive on this point, comparison with other discourses makes the implication somewhat less tenuous. Recent studies by Gavin Langmuir, Anna Sapir Abulafia, and Jeremy Cohen demonstrate churchmen's keen awareness of Christian doubts about central doctrinal issues, and their attempts to answer those reservations with ever more rational "proofs" of the truth. (31) Despite their efforts, heresies (or perceptions of heresy) abound. (32) These internal threats to Church unity are substantial and well recognized in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and would appear to most monastic readers a far more potent danger than the distant specter of Jewish doubt, particularly since Jews are gradually being expelled from large parts of northern Europe in the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In the context of a perceived rise in heresy, skepticism could seem monstrous, and so it appears when projected onto the Jews, the figures of damned disbelief in the standard. Marys' opening verses: Jews become the vehicle in this play for both expressing dissent and banishing it (a suggestive literary analogue to the expulsion of Jews from the French royal domain in 1182, and from most of northern Europe over the next century). In the hermeneutical Jew of Visit to the Sepulcher, then, dissent appears a characteristic of the Other, and the staged presence of that Other precludes the possibility of Christian doubt.
Two other plays reinforce this interpretation: Conversion of Paul and Pilgrim on the Road to Emmaus. After his conversion, Paul forsakes Israel in order to become a citizen of the heavenly patria ("ciuis celestis patrie" [Conversion of Paul, 221]). He immediately launches into a diatribe against Jews, thereby inventing a radical difference between his Jewish and Christian identities:
Cur, Iudei, non resipiscitis? Ueritati cur contradicitis? Cur negatis Mariam uirginem peperisse Deum et hominem? Ihesus Christus, Marie filius, et Deus est, et homo carneus, deitatem a Patre retinens, eta matre carnem suscipiens. (221) (Why, Jews, do you not recover your reason? Why do you contradict the truth? Why do you deny that the Virgin Mary gave birth to God and man? Jesus Christ, son of Mary, is both God and fleshly man, retaining divinity from his father and assuming flesh from his mother.)
Paul's intolerance derives in part from a traditional understanding of his writings, received throughout the Middle Ages as the original fountain of Christian anti-Judaism. (33) He singles out the denial of the Virgin Birth and the Incarnation as the most significant Jewish errors; his language emphasizes the willful perversity of Jewish unbelief--they know the truth but purposefully "contradict" and "deny" it. He assumes, as most contemporary churchmen would, that reason alone should lead them to the truth. (34) His precise charge (that Jews deny the Virgin Birth and Incarnation) resonates within the play's historical context, for these doctrines sparked considerable debate between Christians and Jews and among Christians. As Anna Sapir Abulafia cogently remarks, "What makes Jewish opposition to Christian tenets of faith seem particularly relevant, if not positively threatening, was the fact that it seemed to impinge on the questions Christian scholars were asking themselves about doctrines, for example the Incarnation." (35) We can gauge the power of this threat by the simple fact that the playwright uses Paul, Christendom's supremely authoritative intellectual, to affirm the contested doctrines. Christian doubt and internal controversy are, once again, stigmatized as Jewish error.
Pilgrim on the Road to Emmaus similarly represents doubt as an exclusively Jewish fault. The play opens with two disciples confessing their belief in Jesus' resurrection and the harrowing of hell. In other words, they comprehend that Jesus' bodily disappearance from the tomb manifests his resurrection and victory over death; his later appearance to them on the road merely confirms what they already know. This portrayal of the disciples deliberately revises two scriptural accounts. In the Gospel of Luke (24:19-25), the disciples blame the Jewish priests and princes for Jesus' crucifixion, before reporting the troubling disappearance of his body. The pilgrim Jesus answers by lamenting that they are all (disciples and high priests alike) foolish people with hard, unbelieving hearts. The Gospel of Mark still more pointedly recounts the disciples' failure and Jesus' disappointment with them:
But he rising early the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. She went and told them that had been with him, who were mourning and weeping, And they hearing that he was alive, and had been seen by her, did not believe. And after that he appeared in another shape to two of them walking, as they were going into the country. And they going told it to the rest: neither did they believe them. At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. (Mark 16:9-14, Douay Rheims trans.; my emphasis)
Both gospels emphasize the disciples' hermeneutic dependence on Jesus. Their faith develops slowly in response to his revelation (the Christocentric interpretation of Scripture and history) and the material presence of his body. By contrast, the Fleury play presents their faith as an inevitable consequence of the empty tomb: Jesus' absent body automatically signifies his resurrection. The biblical period of doubt and con fusion is erased, and the disciples' "foolishness" disappears. Whereas the gospels use the scene to prove what is not known,.the play uses it to confirm what is known and already believed, playing to the horizon of expectations. The play thus both enhances the disciples' spiritual authority and derides the Jewish high priests and leaders, who alone are "foolish and slow of heart to believe":
[Discipuli]: [Iesus] ... qui fuit uir propheta, potens in opere et sermone coram Deo et omni populo; quomodo tradiderunt euro summi sacerdotes et principes nostri in dampnacione mortis et crucifixerunt eum.... [Peregrinus]: O stulti et tardi corde ad credendum in omnibus que locuti sunt prophete, alleluia! Nonne sic oportuit pati Christum et intrare in gloriam suam? (471; my emphasis) (Disciples: [we are talking about Jesus] who was a prophet powerful in works and speech before God and all the people; how our high priests and leaders delivered him to the condemnation of death, and crucified him. Pilgrim: 0 Foolish and slow of heart to believe in all that was spoken by the prophets, alleluia! Was it not befitting that Christ should suffer thus and enter into his glory?)
Where the gospels include the disciples in Jesus' blame, here "foolish and slow of heart to believe" describes only the "high priests and leaders." Like Conversion of Paul, Pilgrim on the Road to Emmaus creates black-and-white distinctions between Christians and Jews, between belief and disbelief, and allows no gray shades of doubt or heterodoxy to touch the disciples. Incredulity, doubt, and hardness of heart belong, it seems, wholly to Jews.
In both of these plays, animosity comes chiefly from the learned men at the top of the religious hierarchy--from the "clerics,' as it were. These Jewish leaders function as pointedly negative exempla for the Playbooks readers: their primary fault is hermeneutic error, an inability or unwillingness to interpret Messianic prophecies correctly. This representation implies the Christian reader's hermeneutic superiority, an effective strategy for eliminating any implication of challenge from the rival hermeneutics, any sense that exegesis was contested (which, of course, it was). (36) At the same time, there is a spiritual lesson for the Playbook's monastic readers here: to preserve their difference from Jews, they must defer to authorized, communal interpretive traditions. Nonstandard hermeneutics are not a matter of neutral individual choice but an attack on the body of Christ--the Church. These implications cohere with the dominant intellectual trends of the time: the increasing standardization of learning, and the invention of authoritative communal biblical interpretations, most strikingly presented in the Glossa Ordinaria. (37) The Playbook suggests a wholehearted investment in these trends: to dissent is to become identified with Jews.
II. Jewish Christians
Although obviously stigmatized in some passages of the Playbook, Jews can also represent an idealized Christian faith. The more of the text we consider, the more we recognize in the Playbook a characteristic medieval ambivalence toward Jews. The standard Marys' attitude transforms in the course of the Visit to the Sepulcher from a pronounced disgust with the "wretched Jewish people" to a fervent desire for their conversion: "Frustra signas lapidem, plebs Iudeorum. / Iungere iam populo Christianorum" (In vain do you seal the stone, oh Jewish people. Join now with the Christian people ). The Marys' urgency suggests a deeply felt need to eliminate Jewish difference, and to witness now the universal conversion of the Jews that, according to Christian eschatology, will complete salvation history. The Fleury playwrights apparently share this desire, for we encounter numerous Jewish Christians throughout the manuscript, both converts (Saul in the Conversion of Paul) and those who do not need to convert, having always been Christian (the Marys in Visit to the Sepulcher). By repeatedly representing Jews as Christians, the Playbook insists on the possibility of Jewish redemption, an important theological point. To some extent, this emphasis is expressive of the historical context. By the thirteenth century, the conversion of the Jews has become a compelling immediate mandate, and a key mission of the friars. (38) This theme is not entirely time-sensitive--conversion was always to be the hermeneutical Jew's final act in the drama of salvation history--but the contemporary interest in engineering that final scene doubtless helps explain the Playbooks fascination with Jewish Christians.
As we have seen, converted Jews serve as prestigious witnesses to orthodox faith and doctrine, as Paul does in his affirmation of the Virgin Birth and Incarnation. More unexpectedly, Jewish Christians serve throughout the Playbook as devotional models for the medieval reader.
The Slaughter of Innocents uses biblical Jews to develop two particularly vivid models of Christian piety: the Innocents, martyred at Herod's command; and Rachel, who mourns for them. Of course, both the Innocents and Rachel are literally Jews, but exegetes prefer to view them allegorically, as Christians. In the early Middle Ages, for instance, Pseudo-Bede understands the infants as the Church's first martyrs: "Interfectio parvulorum occisionem significat martyrum Christi" (the slaughter of the little ones signifies the destruction of Christ's martyrs). (39) Thomas Aquinas interprets the Slaughter similarly in the thirteenth century: "Et dum insequitur Christum, regi nostro coaevum procuravit exercitum stolis victricibus candidatum" (And while he [Herod] thus persecutes Christ, he furnished an army [of martyrs] clothed in white robes of the same age as the Lord). (40) Rachel's exegetical meaning complements this interpretation, for she is understood as the Church weeping for her martyred children. In the words of the Glossa Ordinaria,"Rachel. Id est Ecclesia, suos teneros agnos plorat peremptos" (Rachel, that is the Church, laments her tender slain lambs). (41)
In keeping with conventional exegesis, the Fleury play emphasizes the infants' supernatural faith and Rachel's grief. In the opening sequence, the children follow the Lamb, singing in praise of Christ's spiritual kingdom. Their first text ("O quam gloriosum est regnum"; O how glorious is the kingdom [2:110]) is drawn from All Saints' Day, when the Church celebrates its martyrs. According to a rubric, they process through the monastery church ("per monasterium" ), expressing faith in the efficacy of Christ's future sacrifice ("Agno sacrato" ). While the soldiers approach to kill them, they sing a Christmas Eve antiphon taken from John the Baptist's greeting to Christ at the Jordan: "Salue, Agnus Dei! Salue qui tollis peccata mundi, alleluia!" (Hail, Lamb of God! Hail, you who take away the sins of the world, alleluia! ). Their procession behind the lamb and their antiphons transform biblical Jews into Christian martyrs, who recognize Jesus as the divine sacrifice provided for their redemption. After their death, an angel bids them to cry out; responding with a verse from the Epiphany liturgy ("Quare non defendis" ), they align themselves not only with believers, but specifically with the Magi, the first gentile believers. It is noteworthy that the Innocents draw on pre-existing liturgical music in this sequence. (42) The familiar antiphons would recall for a monastic audience the annual cycle of the Church calendar--All Saints' Day, Holy Innocents' Day, the Advent season, and Epiphany. In the Innocents' procession, the ritual observances that structure so much of monastic life appear as preparation for martyrdom. The playwright encourages a monastic audience to identify with these saints, and to view their own participation in the liturgy as allied with martyrdom. From this perspective, the Innocents become idealized models of monastic devotion.
In the play as in Scripture (Matt. 2:18), Rachel mourns for the boys and refuses to be comforted. She focuses passionately, and at considerable length, on the bodies of the martyrs: the tender youth and the delicacy of their forms, the torn and lifeless limbs, and the throats cut by the executioners' rage. (43) She brings the saints' humanity and suffering to vivid life, and her meditation on their wounds invites the reader's compassionate empathy. As she proceeds, the Innocents ("dulces nati" ) transform into a favorite son, of whom she has been deprived ("Cum sim orbata nato" ). Literally, she mourns Joseph, the beloved son persecuted by his brothers, but her final words identify all martyrdom with the death of Jesus on the cross, according to the conventional imitatio Christi elaborated in innumerable saints' lives. She concludes with an antiphon from Good Friday, her words identifying her with Mary, mater dolorosa: "Anxiatus est in me spiritus meus; in me turbatum est cor meum" (my spirit is anxious within me; my heart is troubled within me ). Rachel's intensely emotional response to the suffering of the saints, and her spiritual insight into their union with Jesus, makes her the leading representative of affective piety in the play--and in the Playbook.
Much as the Slaughter of Innocents transforms biblical Jews into idealized devotional models, so too does Lazarus use biblical Jews to represent a profoundly affective faith in Jesus. Throughout the action, the playwright emphasizes characters' loving relations with each other and with Jesus, taking Jesus' words to Mary Magdalene as his central theme:
Dilexisti multum, o femina; tui fletus tua peccamina diluerunt; illud enim oris confessio atque illa cordis compunctio meruerunt. (2:201) (You have loved much, o woman. Your tears have washed away your sins, for the confession of your mouth and the sorrow of your heart have earned that reward.)
All the relationships in the play manifest a similar love. (44) Mary and Martha speak affectionately about their brother Lazarus: "Care frater, dilecte Lazare" (Dear brother, beloved Lazarus ). Lazarus addresses Martha as "Cara soror" (Dear sister ). More tellingly, Jesus and his Jewish circle of friends demonstrate mutual respect and affection. Invited to dine with the Pharisee Simon and his companions, Jesus calls the Jews "amici" (friends ). Simon shows deference when he names Jesus "magister" (master ) and, more fondly, "doctor care" (dear teacher ). The Jewish characters also perceive Jesus as a divine savior. A messenger, bringing word of Lazarus's illness, greets Jesus, "Aue, Ihesu, Redemptor omnium!" (Hail, Jesus, redeemer of all ) A messenger later describes Jesus as "Saluator gencium" (Savior of the people ). The Jews' intimacy with Jesus is thus shaped to emphasize both his loving humanity and his messianic status.
When Lazarus dies, Mary, Martha, and their friends lament their loss and struggle to find consolation:
Care frater, frater carissime, legem mortis Jam passus pessime, nos liquisti. Propter primi peccatum hominis generalis tormentum criminis iam sensisti. (203) (Dear brother, dearest brother, you who have already suffered most painfully the law of death, you have left us. Because of the sin of the first human, you have already felt the agony of our general guilt.)
According to orthodox Christian principles, they view death as the penalty for original sin, and they know no remedy for this state: all must be punished in accordance with the legal contract between humans and God. Even in their grief, however, love draws them to Jesus, and they place their hope in him:
Miserere nostri, te petimus; a te solo nos expectauimus confortari. (207) (Have mercy on us, we beseech you; we have waited to be comforted by you alone.)
Their petition to Jesus--and their trust in his power even before his death and resurrection--establishes their Christian faith. These "Jewish" friends of Jesus are in fact always already Christian. Mary, Martha, and the others are nonetheless crucial witnesses to a historical Jewish (and hence singularly authoritative) acceptance of Christian theology. Their faith invites the reader to identify with them, and thus vicariously to experience a loving friendship with Jesus. As in the Slaughter of Innocents, Jews serve here as lively models of affective piety.
De Sancto Nicolao et de Iudeo (Saint Nicholas and the Jew) presents a nonbiblical Jew in a similar role. According to the play's opening rubric, the Jew daily venerates an image of the saint and after some time decides to test its power--and the truth of Christians' reports about it-by leaving his money in its care. He is immediately robbed and vows to avenge himself on the image. After threatening the image, he rests, allowing Nicholas time to persuade the thieves to return his treasure, which they do. The Jew concludes the play by affirming the saint's power to the Christian congregation:
Congaudete michi, karissimi, restitutis cunctis que perdidi. Gaudeamus! Que mea dispersit incuria, Nicholai resumpsi gracia. Gaudeamus! Conlaudemus hunc Dei famulum ... Gaudeamus! Vt, errore sublato mencium, Nicholai mereamur consorcium. Gaudeamus! (348) (Rejoice with me, dearest ones, for all things that were lost have been restored. Let us rejoice! Those things which my carelessness dispersed I have gathered in again by the grace of Nicholas. Let us rejoice! Let us praise together this servant of God ... Let us rejoice! So that, with the error of our minds taken away, we might merit the company of Nicholas. Let us rejoice!)
The Jew does not confess any key Christian doctrines; he exemplifies nothing more nor less than affective devotion to the saint, the restorer of lost goods. He does not teach the audience about holy living but about the intercessory power of the saint. In its broad outlines, the play offers a supernatural answer to Jewish doubt and integrates a skeptical Jew into the Christian community, or at least into the cult of Nicholas. Above all, this treatment of the legend encourages the audience to believe that the saint is obliged to do his duty by men--both to protect treasure (any treasure, even Jewish) and to punish thieves (even if they are Christian). Saint Nicholas and the Jewis indeed well designed to arouse monks (and, in the event of a performance, the laity) to devotional sentiment and prayers for the saint's patronage.
The pattern of Jewish affective piety in these plays does not, of course, nullify the stereotypically negative portrayal of Jews that we have traced throughout the Playbook. Lazarus tellingly pictures Jews en masse as obstinately thwarting the divine will:
Uirtus Dei, que adhuc tegitur per Iudeos, manifestabitur in Iudeos. (205) (The goodness of God, which until now has been hidden by the Jews, will be made manifest among the Jews.)
The syntax is revealing: the manifestation of God's excellence ("Uirtus Dei manifestabitur") is interrupted by the Jews ("clue adhuc tegitur"), who contrarily hide what he would reveal. In short, the manifestation of God's goodness indicts the Jews who reject Jesus, and who in context appear hardhearted, thanklessly spurning an unfathomable mercy. The Jewish people, the "gens," are bound for damnation. The conversion of the few emphasizes the stubborn resistance of the many rather than their potential for inclusion in the universal Church. The other plays adhere to the same pattern--some Jews convert, but the masses remain in their original confession, and continue to manifest a violent hostility to Christianity.
The Fleury plays treat Jews as models of affective piety and doctrinal authority as well as insisting upon their alterity. The playwrights are not unique in this ambivalence: we encounter the same complicated negotiation of difference and identification in other contemporary discourses. (45) The prominence of this double representation, both in the Playbook and elsewhere, suggests an ingrained habit of seeing Jews as both self and Other. These are not, I would propose, radically different ways of seeing Jews so much as they are mutually dependent perspectives. For the medieval Christian, Jews are paradoxically both the prestigious source of Scripture, and the advocates of rival hermeneutics; both the intimate historical friends of Jesus and his executioners; both exempla of affective piety and signs of a timeless antipathy to all things and people associated with Jesus. The positive images of Jews are an unavoidable part of the biblical narrative, and they are in fact eloquent vehicles for any literary meditation on the life and suffering of Jesus and the saints. To bring them into a text, however, is to come face to face with troubling ambiguities in the historical relations of Christianity and Judaism. The highly negative images function in this context unequivocally to separate Christian from Jew, disambiguating Christian identity and re-establishing Christian superiority. This strategy balances veneration for the historical, scriptural foundations of Christianity, and condemnation of Jews and Judaism. These two perspectives are, indeed, mutually dependent, mutually corrective, and inextricable from each other in the Middle Ages.
The Playbook's representational ambivalence is most provocative when Jesus stands before the congregation at the end of Visit to the Sepulcher. A rubric specifies that he carries a cross in his right hand, signifying his sacrifice for sin, and wears phylacteries on his head, symbolizing his devotion to the Law ("filacteria preciosa in capite" [396-97]). With these attributes, Jesus' body bears both the "Old" Law and the "New"; he is a complete record of Christian salvation history, the ultimate hermeneutic Jew. This use of the phylacteries is, as far as I can discover, unprecedented in medieval art apart from the Playbook. The image presumably carries both its original biblical import and its exegetical meaning. The phylacteries were instituted as a sign of devotion to God:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt tell them to thy children,and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house, and walking on thy journey, sleeping and rising. And thou shalt bind them as a sign on thy hand, and they shall be and shall move between thy eyes. (Deut. 6:5-8)
The Glossa Ordinaria interprets this passage as a command to love God above all things and people, (46) and surely the phylacteries on Jesus' head at the end of Visit to the Sepulcher witness to just such a love of God, much as the cross testifies to a love of humanity. (47) Jesus appears, in short, the supreme model of affective piety--and the founder of a religion based on fervent and wholehearted love of God. His dramatic image would be particularly meaningful for the monastic who, like John of Fecamp, aspired to feel "the soul, full of devotion, animated by extreme love of Christ, inclined toward Christ, sighing for Him, desiring to see Him who is its only love." (48) For such a monastic, "detachment [from this world] is only the reverse of attachment to Christ; it is, henceforth, the condition and proof of love." (49) The phylacteries are a potent sign of this monastic ideal.
The phylacteries are also a sign of Jewish fault. As the Glossa Ordinaria reads Deuteronomy, Jews misinterpret the sign ("Hoc Pharisaei male interpretantes"), understanding it literally and putting on phylacteries to be considered religious before men. (50) On this point, the gloss essentially follows Jesus' scorn for the Pharisees' broad phylacteries and show of religion (Matt. 23:1-34). The Glossa Ordinaria understands Jesus' attitude as an indictment of Jews whose love of this world excludes the love of God. (51) Like so much about Jews in the Playbook, the phylacteries carry a double-edged message, representing both a Jewish law of love and a Jewish failure to love God.
We encounter a similar resolution in Pilgrim on the Road to Emmaus, where Jesus successively transforms from a humble pilgrim, barefoot and holding the traditional palm; to a savior, bearing a golden cross; and finally to a king, wearing a crown and phylacteries on his head ("coronam gestans in capite ex amicto et philacteriis compositam," 474), and carrying a cross and Gospel text. These costume changes suggest a gradual revelation of Jesus as Messiah, a subtle exposition on his human and divine nature. His final appearance in the phylacteries of religious devotion and crown of royal power visualizes the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy. From this perspective, the "old" and "new" Law are the same: the only command is that one love God. The phylacteries represent a law that has been both fulfilled and transcended, and they remind the audience that they owe God not only the external forms of religion but also the love of their hearts, lest they become, like the Pharisees, hypocrites.
III. The Monastic Self and the Other
Herod discloses how the image of the Jew can be further adapted to speak to the spiritual duties of the monastic life. (52) In the big picture, this play's action contrasts the shepherds and Magi, who travel to worship Jesus, with Herod and his son Archelaus, who plot his death. This contrast separates the faithful from the faithless in the performance space, once again creating the illusion of simple, apparent difference. As the shepherds approach Jesus' manger, the women watching over the infant ask the question made famous by the Easter trope, "Whom do you seek?" (Quem queritis, pastores, dicite? [2:84]) This question identifies the women with the angel at Jesus' tomb, and the shepherds with the three Marys; the query announces to the learned audience that the men seek not just the infant but also the risen Lord. The shepherds reinforce this implication by proclaiming the infant both Lord and Savior ("Saluatorem Christum Dominum"), names that likewise anticipate the climax of the salvific narrative. With this question and response, the entire text of Christ's life is simultaneously present--already known, already believed. The women then proclaim the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy ("Ecce uirgo concipiet et pariet filium"), and the shepherds fall prostrate to worship the king of the ages ("Rex seculorum" [84-85]), once again equating the infant with the ruler of all. The shepherds' and women's exchange sets forth key tenets of the orthodox confession: Christ is born of a virgin, dies, is reborn, and rules forever as King. Their verses more subtly insist on the paradoxical unity of the mortal infant and the immortal deity. Throughout this passage, the playwright attributes to the shepherds a highly textual faith, shaped by the "quem queritis" and by a Christocentric interpretation of Hebrew prophecy. The shepherds have become cenobitic scholars.
Throughout the play, Christian faith is similarly defined through hermeneutic acts that depend on literacy; in other words, the broad abstraction of faith is specified as participation in an idealized interpretive community. Like the shepherds, therefore, the Magi assert that Hebrew prophecy has been fulfilled in this newborn King of Kings. (53) The Magi proceed to reference Judaism in further, more complex detail. A rubric indicates that they are to enter the nave from the choir, where they address those standing by as citizens of Jerusalem ("O Ierosolimitani ciues") and ask, "Where is the hope of the nations, where is he who is born king of the Jews?" (Ubi est expectacio gencium; ubi est qui natus est rex Iudeorum ). At this point in a performance, the participants in the nave stand for and replace the Jewish crowd: they signify the new Israel, the Church that supersedes the Synagogue. The triumphalist attitude implicit in this representation is characteristic of discourses and visual arts that contrast Church and Synagogue; for the monks, the familiar contrast would also evoke the differences between new law and old, sight and blindness, spiritual and literal hermeneutics. (54)
The Magi call upon these new citizens of Jerusalem to read the signs of the Messiah's coming (the star, the prophecy). The Magi then elaborate a "correct" reading of these signs. They recognize Jesus' Jewishness as a sign of his Messianic identity--he was born of a Jewish virgin ("Iudaica uirgo" ) and is King of the Jews. The Magi also praise Jesus as King of Kings, ruler of both Jews and gentiles. (55) Their praise makes them the prophets of supersessionism: the extension of the Gospel to the gentiles marks both the beginning of the Church and the end of God's exclusive covenant with Israel. As the first gentile believers, the Magi step over the threshold into a new age. Their faith, like that of the shepherds, depends on standard Christian interpretations of Hebrew prophecy; these conventional hermeneutics ultimately define an idealized interpretive community that includes both the biblical witnesses and the contemporary monastic congregation. The Magi conclude their demonstration of an erudite faith by explicating their three gifts as symbols of Jesus' triune nature.
The Magi's testimony provokes Herod to consult the scribes, who are brought in as experts in the law and custodians of the prophets ("Vos, legis periti, ad regem uocati, cum prophetarum libris properando uenite" ). The law and prophets obviously signify the scribes' Jewishness. Their Jewish identity is, however, utterly erased in the succeeding action, which rewrites them as literate Christians. The scribes' task is to confirm or deny the texts cited by the Magi, and they deliberate with great care:
Tunc Scribe diu reuoluant tibrum, et tandem, inuenta quasi prophetia, dicant "Vidimus, Domine," et ostendentes cum digito, Regi incredulo tradant librum: Vidimus, Domine, in prophetarum lineis nasci Christum in Bethleem Iude, ciuitate Dauid, propheta sic uaticinante. (87; my emphasis) (Then let the scribes go back over the book for a long time, and finally, as if they have found the prophecy, let them say, "Lord, we have seen" and pointing with a finger, let them hand the book to the incredulous king: "Lord, we have seen in the lines of the prophets that Christ is born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the city of David, thus the prophet foretelling.")
Like the shepherds and Magi, the scribes affirm a Christocentric interpretation of Scripture. The agreement of these witnesses implies the inherent truth of their conclusion and suggests that all reasoning men would concur--Jew as well as gentile, eastern kings as well as court scribes and simple shepherds. This gathering of witnesses is crucial to the assertion of a seemingly universal rational truth, and yet all witnesses are not equal. The scribes bear a uniquely authoritative position in this sequence of textual proofs: as Jews, they bear a special relation to the law they interpret, for they are the masters of the original Hebrew text. They denote a singularly authoritative Jewish affirmation of Christian hermeneutics. With their testimony, the playwright consolidates an interpretive community comprising both Jew and gentile, resolving all the challenging real differences between these groups' hermeneutics. In this dramatized fantasy of ecumenical reconciliation, Jews rationally submit to the Christian interpretive community. This fantasy implies, as similar fantasies do elsewhere in the Playbook, a lingering anxiety about rival Jewish hermeneutics, and the presence of troubling doubts in the face of a superior textual authority. This implication might, in fact, account for the popularity of scenes involving Herod and the scribes in contemporary visual arts, which could easily be read as a "defense against doubt," to borrow a phrase from Gavin Langmuir. (56)
Like the shepherds and Magi, however, the scribes are perhaps finally less important as Jews than as idealized images of monastic readers, trained in conventional Christian hermeneutics and arriving at the same interpretations that the monks discovered in their own library. The united testimony of all these witnesses distills the communal scholarly life of a monastery into a few central doctrines of faith: the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, and the Trinity. In short, these Jews (and gentiles) represent monastic hermeneutics and monastic virtue.
The scribes' foils are Herod and his son Archelaus, whose rage is directed against both the text and the body of Jesus. A rubric describes Herod: "uisa prophetia, furore accessus, proiciat librum" (having seen the prophecy, in an access of rage, let him fling down the book ). Miriam Anne Skey argues that" [t]his superbly dramatic action involving the degradation of the holy books of the Jews was the playwright's contribution to the Herodes iratus tradition" (my emphasis). (57) This reading is certainly warranted by preceding descriptions of the scribes as authorities over the prophets and as entering "cum prophetarum libris" (with the books of the prophets ). Yet the scribes do not actually cite the Jewish prophet (Mic. 5:2) so much as paraphrase the gospels (Matt. 2:6, John 7:42):"Lord, we have seen in the lines of the prophets that Christ is born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the city of David, thus the prophet foretelling." The prophet appears only through the hermeneutic filter of the gospels. In view of what the scribes read in their book, we might better view it as a Christian artifact, and this would be consistent with some contemporary iconography. The book (liber), specified in the rubric, commonly signifies Christian revelation, and this import is consistent with the scribes' reported prophecy; by contrast, the Jewish text is typically pictured as a scroll or tablets of the law. (58) I would propose that it is not the Jewish text that is degraded in this scene, but the king who scorns Christian revelation. When Herod throws down the book, he becomes like the many Jews in the visual arts who similarly desecrate Christian symbols (images of the saints, altars, the host). He is, quite simply, blasphemous.
Herod's action separates him from the united hermeneutic community of shepherds, Magi, and scribes. His treatment of the book reverberates powerfully in the play's immediate context, for the Word is not an abstraction in the monastery: Scripture has a material body, its pages shaped from animal hides, its letters slowly, laboriously inscribed in ink. Reading such a text is a somatic experience involving all the senses. (59) Further, monastic life centers on the material reproduction of the Word--on inscribing, illustrating, rubricating, reading, and chanting texts. The materiality of the Word, ever present to the monks, lent complex implications to the first verse in the Gospel of John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The book was the incarnate Word, and to touch Scripture was to touch the body of God. (As the idea develops in the later Middle Ages, Jesus' body was sometimes represented literally as a page, his flesh and blood analogous to parchment and red ink. (60) When Herod discards the book, he rejects the Word in its two incarnations: the sacred text and the body of God. His action makes him the antithesis of monastic virtue: rather than studying and being nourished by the Word, he scorns it.
Herod's interpretive practice similarly contrasts with the ideals of a monastic community. Faced with the prophetic Word, he discerns no spiritual or allegorical meaning, nothing beyond the bare letter of the text: Jesus has come to take the throne of Israel. He reads, in other words, like a stereotypical Jew, devoted to an overly literal hermeneutic. (61) This may seem a strained simile to us, but Herod was traditionally labeled a Jew, and exegetes typically read him as a sign of Jewish "faithlessness," envy, and hatred of Christ and all Christians. (62) By focusing on Herod's relation to the book, the playwright advances a revisionary narrative about Jews and the law. In place of Jews' privileged relation to Scripture, the play pictures a Jew who fails both to preserve the Word and to read it correctly. This implication parallels contemporary critiques of Jewish hermeneutics and, albeit remotely, foretells attacks on the Talmud. (63) The Fleury Herod's apprehension of Scripture leads him only to wrath, competitive envy, desire for worldly power, and, finally, attempted deicide. These motives fit precisely with dominant contemporary theories about Jewish involvement in the crucifixion. By the thirteenth century, the Jewish deicides were supposed to have been motivated by greed, envy, and hatred rather than, as earlier ages had it, ignorance of Jesus' nature or actual disbelief in his Messiahship. (64) In accordance with the dominant conception of the time, the playwright represents Herod as overly emotional, but fully informed about Jesus and believing in .the report of the new King. Even Herod's particular vices--pride, envy, and wrath--mark him as stereotypically Jewish, which is to say uniquely carnal. (65)
It would be easy to read Herod simply as a Jew, as the Other who dwells somewhere securely outside the monastery, but clearly his sins are far too familiar to monks. His Jewishness in fact functions to evoke and stigmatize vices that were well recognized within monastic life. Indeed, reform movements regularly inveighed against Herod's vices: pride, envy, wrath, carnality, improper hermeneutics, and nonconformist reading practices. Herod is, then, a provocative sign of worldly monastic vice, and in him these vices look distinctly unattractive. (66) He is in fact a forceful warning to the monks about the consequences of falling into "Judaizing" errors.
Herod's son Archelaus prompts one final development in the Playbooks treatment of Jews. He matches his father's anger, offering to avenge their potential loss on the Christ child. A rubric notes that he speaks contemptuously of Christ ("despectiue loquens de Christo" ):
Contra ilium regulum, contra nature paruulum iube, pater, filium hoc inire prelium. (88) (Against that little kingling, against that tiny baby, command, O Father, your son to enter into this battle.)
Archelaus scorns his foe, a mere kingling. He appears a bully in his rhymes, which emphasize the gross disparity between the child's tender newborn state ("paruulum") and his own military zeal ("prelium"). The extension of Herod's anger to his son suggests an unusual exegesis. In the biblical account, Mary and Joseph escape Herod's wrath by fleeing to Egypt; they return after Herod's death, assured that the threat to the Christ child dies with him. Medieval exegetes usually understand Herod's death as the end of Jewish antipathy. (67) By contrast, the Fleury Herod is only the first figure in a long line of savage Jews, and his death foretells not the end but the continuity of Jewish malevolence. Archelaus and Herod embody a genealogy of Jewish rage, the continuous transmission of antagonism from one generation to the next, as if the intention to commit deicide were a hereditary trait. Within the Playbook, their mission is continued by the "damned race" of Visit to the Sepulcher, the inhabitants of Judea in Lazarus, and the high priests in Pilgrim on the Road to Emmaus and Conversion of Saul.
Jewishness is a labile sign in Herod, as in the Playbook: it signifies both an authoritative command of Scripture and carnal vice. Jews both reverently worship the newborn Christ and plot to kill him. The figure of the Jew gains new import in this play, for here representations of Jews speak to monastic interests in hermeneutics, in the relations between the "old" and the "new" Israel, in the Word, and in the physical and spiritual dangers of carnality. The Jew is not just, or not securely, the polemicized Other, but a figure for the highest cenobitic aspiration--love of the Word--and for the ever present temptations of individual will and flesh that distract the monk and threaten his relation to the community. In short, the playwright treats Jews as signs of monastic potentiality, for both good and ill: the Jew exemplifies nothing so much as the monks' tendency to translate all texts into spiritual and moral allegories about the Christian life.
IV. Textual Attitudes
The Fleury Playbook's stereotypical representations of evil Jews--killers of Christ, enemies of Christendom, fools--are familiar from many medieval texts and from existing modern scholarship. The point of studying such material is not to discover new, hitherto unsuspected ideas about Jews, but to comprehend the extent to which these stereotypes pervade the culture and define readers' horizon of expectations. By explicating the Jewish Other in the Playbook, we discover an important piece in the discursive puzzle of thirteenth-century anti-Semitism. By fitting many such pieces together, we finally recognize the dominance of the textual attitude. (68) This is to say that these writers and others like them present ideas about Jews derived entirely from the traditional "knowledge" preserved in their libraries. Indeed, the vast medieval network of anti-Semitic writing constitutes a forceful tradition that both shapes readers' expectations and influences how Jews are treated--in texts as in life. The Playbook's conventional stereotypes are therefore significant in that they help advance a scholarly reconstruction of readers' horizon of expectations and of what constitutes authoritative knowledge in this age. The Playbook helps to correct scholars' sometimes too vigorous emphasis on "popular" (lower-class) attitudes, (69) reminding us that the central literary and devotional artifacts of clerical culture also promote hatred of Jews.
The Playbook's treatments of Jews are also significant in that they suggest how context can create new implications for familiar stereotypes. Here the all too common anti-Semitic formulas become a coherent set of negative exempla, epitomizing the disbelief, dissent, doubt, internecine violence, and hermeneutic errors that threaten Christendom from within. Put another way, the Jew signifies what churchmen would exclude (if they could) from their own communities. As significantly, the Jew represents these dangers as inherently limited, for, according to Christian history, he has already been defeated. He appears, then, as a reassuring sign of Christianity's triumph over the forces that menace it both externally and internally.
The Jew is obviously not just a negative exemplum. Purportedly Jewish figures dramatize love of Jesus, enact a profoundly affective piety, and model doctrinal and hermeneutic correctness. Some gender differences are evident within this paradigm. In the plays as in the culture, men characteristically serve as authorities over doctrine and hermeneutics, participate in conspiracies against Christianity, and order others to violent death. Women epitomize emotion, expressing great love of Jesus and the saints and great empathy for their suffering. Hence Visit to the Sepulcher attributes much anger and weeping to the bereft Marys, but presents the apostles Peter and John as coolheaded and immediately cognizant that the empty tomb fulfills Jesus' promise. Gender differences are not inflexible, however: men love God as well as doctrine, and the Marys receive, along with the apostles, Jesus' command to tell the world of the Resurrection. In the Fleury Playbook, love of God, the display of faith, and anti-Semitism transcend gender norms.
Finally, Herod discloses how the Jew can become an allegorical figure about monastic life, helping us to recognize the degree to which all the Playbooks Jews are the products of a textual attitude. Here figures of the Jew are more than anything reminiscent of Christian treatments of the ancient pagan gods. Much as the Jew in Herod stands for monastic virtues and vices, the gods in medieval commentaries on ancient literature signify Christian understandings of the world. Throughout the Middle Ages, mythographers wrote increasingly complex and encyclopedic accounts of the gods, drawing on (often contradictory) historical, etymological, allegorical, philosophical, moral, and natural interpretive paradigms. Saturn, for instance, was understood variously as the ancient human founder of agriculture, an exemplar of prudence, a baleful planet, an evil prelate, and a figure for time. (70) Similarly, Venus was familiar to medieval readers as an ancient prostitute, a beneficent planet, an image of sexual passion, a figure signifying the voluptuous life, and an allegorical narrative about sexual physiology. (71) The ancient gods, like the Jew, presented serious challenges to the Christian understanding of divinity and history. Early churchmen's invention of the hermeneutic Jew made that sign available to equally exuberant figurative appropriation, and for similar purposes: like the pagan gods, the Jew embodies a rival religious system that monks are interested in representing so as to affirm a Christian order. By the twelfth century, the sign of the Jew has clearly gathered an intricate set of semiotic possibilities--all of which deny the contemporary legitimacy of Judaism. The hermeneutical Jew thus ultimately reveals the hand of the hermeneutical monks who shaped him. By reading the Playbooks representations against the grain, we can recover the potent anxieties, fears, and desires that influenced this shaping.
University of Michigan
Translations are my own unless otherwise noted. I am grateful to my colleagues Martin Walsh and Ralph Williams, who read and responded to early drafts of this essay, and to the erudite reader for Comparative Drama, who offered useful suggestions for improvement.
(1) Quoted in translation, Gavin I. Langmuir, Toward a Definition of Antisemitism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 201.
(2) Ibid., 315.
(3) "The Fleury Playbook, the Traditions of Medieval Latin Drama, and Modern Scholarship," in The Fleury "Playbook": Essays and Studies, ed. Thomas P. Campbell and Clifford Davidson (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1985), 1-25.
(4) Hans Robert Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. Timothy Bahti (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), 3-45, 76-109.
(5) I think, for example, of Edward Said's emphasis on a text's affiliation with a complex network of nonliterary, social phenomena (The World, the Text and the Critic [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983]), and of Jerome J. McGann's focus on the interpretive implications of the reception and production history of texts (The Textual Condition [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991]).
(6) For details about the manuscript (Orleans, Bibliotheque Municipale MS. 201), see the Appendix in The Fleury "Playbook," ed. Campbell and Davidson, 161-64. For Fleury holdings, see The Library of Fleury: A Provisional List of Manuscripts (Hilversum: Verloren, 1989), 154.
(7) On the cult of the saint and the abbey's intellectual and artistic reputation, see Thomas Head, Hagiography and the Cult of Saints: The Diocese of Orleans, 800-1200 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), passim. On the question of literary innovation, see Dom lean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture, trans. Catharine Misrahi (New York: Fordham University Press, 1961), 114-15, 159, 180, 191, 294.
(8) To date, the most thorough and, to my way of thinking, the most persuasive reviews of the evidence favor Fleury as the home of the Playbook: Richard B. Donovan, "Two Celebrated Centers of Medieval Liturgical Drama: Fleury and Ripoll," in The Medieval Drama and Its Claudelian Revival, ed. E. Catherine Dunn, Tatiana Fotitch, and Bernard M. Peebles (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1970), 41-47; and Fletcher Collins, Jr., "The Home of the Fleury Playbook," in The Fleury "Playbook," ed. Campbell and Davidson, 26-34. The traditional dating and place of composition have been challenged by Solange Corbin, "Le Manuscrit 201 d'Orleans: Drames liturgiques dits de Fleury," Romania 74 (1953): 1-43. Corbin assumes that the four Nicholas plays indicate that the book was composed at the site of an active cult of Nicholas; she favors St. Laumer at Blois. Clyde W. Brockett has more recently remarked on evidence that suggests a link between the Nicholas plays and a cult of the saint at Angers: "Persona in Cantilena: St. Nicholas in Music in Medieval Drama" in The Saint Play in Medieval Europe, ed. Clifford Davidson (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1986), 23-26. While Corbin's and Brockett's research helps us better understand the veneration of saints, we should not assume that the plays were necessarily written at the site of a Nicholas cult. Recent scholarship demonstrates that cults of saints were celebrated in a region rather than exclusively at a particular site. For instance, the translation of St. Benedict to Fleury was celebrated at both Vezelay and Cluny, and Fleury adopted the feast of Mary Magdalene, observed at Vezelay. (For the regional veneration of saints, see Kirk Ambrose, "Romanesque Vezelay and the Art of Monastic Contemplation" [Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1999].) Monastics regularly wrote for cults elsewhere. Odo of Cluny was devoted to the cult of Saint Benedict (at Fleury) and composed for it; Abbo of Fleury wrote a life of Edmund for the English (for details, see Head, Hagiography and the Cult of Saints, 55, 241-42). In short, Fleury needs no active cult of Nicholas to compose plays in his honor, or to compile texts composed elsewhere, and Nicholas cannot help us ascertain where the plays were composed.
(9) The role of intellectuals in the history of anti-Semitism has proven a controversial issue, largely provoked by R. I. Moore's hypothesis that the twelfth-century clerical and governmental elite consciously developed the machinery of persecution to secure their own hegemony: The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and Deviance in Western Europe, 950-1250 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1987), 136-46. Despite the controversy, most subsequent commentary agrees that we need to seek the causes of anti-Semitism in majority culture. Logically, this inquiry should involve both the literate elite and the uneducated masses. As Sara Lipton cogently remarks, "Intolerance was not the result of a spontaneous welling up of mass hatred, but neither was prejudice imposed on the masses from above" (Images of Intolerance: The Representation of Jews and Judaism in the "Bible moralisee" [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999], 140-41). Lipton's study compellingly proposes that intolerance arises from the interaction of lay and clerical cultures. Although the Fleury Playbook does not offer direct access to this interaction, it remains valuable for the insights it permits into intellectual culture.
(10) Perceptively studied by Michael A. Signer, "The Glossa ordinaria and the Transmission of Medieval Anti-Judaism" in A Distinct Voice: Medieval Studies in Honor of Leonard E. Boyle, O. P., ed. Jacqueline Brown and William P. Stoneman (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997), 591-605; Jeremy Cohen, Living Letters of the Law: Ideas of the Jew in Medieval Christianity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); John Van Engen, "Ralph of Flaix: The Book of Leviticus Interpreted as Christian Community," in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Michael A. Signer and John Van Engen (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001), 150-70.
(11) John Gilchrist, "The Perceptions of Jews in the Canon Law in the Period of the First Two Crusades," Jewish History 3 (1988): 9-24; John A. Watt, "Jews and Christians in the Gregorian Decretals," Studies in Church History 29 (1992): 93-105.
(12) Amos Funkenstein, "Basic Types of Christian anti-Jewish Polemics in the Later Middle Ages," Viator 2 (1971): 373-82; Langmuir, Toward a Definition of Antisemitism, 197-208; Anna Sapir Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), 77-140.
(13) Miri Rubin, Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 1-92.
(14) For valuable studies of this fantasy, see Langmuir, Toward a Definition of Antisemitism, 209-62; Rubin, Gentile Tales, 1-92.
(15) Robert Chazan thoroughly studies these stereotypes: Medieval Stereotypes and Modern Antisemitism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 42-73.
(16) Hence these attitudes become utterly commonplace: see David Berger, "The Attitude of St. Bernard of Clairvaux toward the Jews,' Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 40 (1972): 89-108; Valerie I. J. Flint, "Anti-Jewish Literature and Attitudes in the Twelfth Century," Journal of Jewish Studies 37 (1986): 39-57, 183-205; David E. Timmer, "Biblical Exegesis and the Jewish-Christian Controversy in the Early Twelfth Century," Church History 58 (1989): 309-21; Langmuir, Toward a Definition of Antisemitism, 197-208; Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, 77-93; Van Engen, "Ralph of Flaix: The Book of Leviticus Interpreted as Christian Community," in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Signer and Van Engen, 150-70; Jan M. Ziolkowski, "Put in No-Man's-Land: Guibert of Nogent's Accusations against a Judaizing and Jew-Supporting Christian," in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Signer and Van Engen, 110-22.
(17) Leon Poliakov offers a readable history of this time: The History of AntiSemitism, vol. 1, From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Vanguard Press, 1965), 26-72.
(18) The argument of Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).
(19) The noteworthy exceptions to this trend are Fletcher Collins, Jr., who briefly notes the Playbook's harsh treatment of Jews, The Production of Medieval Church Music-Drama (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1972), 160; and C. Clifford Flanigan, who sensitively explicates anti-Semitic elements in the Interfectio puerorum: "Rachel and Her Children: From Biblical Text to Medieval Music Drama," in Metamorphoses and the Arts, Proceedings of the Second Lilly conference, ed. Breon Mitchell (Bloomington: Indiana University, 1979), 31-52. Most commentators, however, do not remark on the anti-Semitism: see P. R. Vincent, "Jean Bodel and the Fleury Play-Book," Symposium 20 (1966): 367-78; the essays in The Fleury "Playbook," ed. Campbell and Davidson; John Marlin, "Virtual Ritual: History, Drama, and the Spirit of Liturgy in the Fleury Playbooks," American Benedictine Review 48.4 (1997): 412-27; and Susan Boynton, "Performative Exegesis in the Fleury Interfectio puerorum," Viator 29 (1998): 39-61. The play of Nicholas and the Jew has recently been analyzed in the context of Jewish martyrdom: Lee Patterson, "'The Living Witnesses of Our Redemption': Martyrdom and Imitation in Chaucer's Prioress's Tale," Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 31 (2001): 531-34. I find Patterson's argument--the Jew's lament in the play represents "an almost utopian moment of religious harmony between the old religion and its newer offspring" (534)--fascinating but finally unpersuasive as a treatment of textual detail and intellectual context.
(20) Lipton illuminates a comparable pattern in related texts, Images of Intolerance.
(21) Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt, Practicing New Historicism (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2000), 9.
(22) Cohen, Living Letters of the Law, 2-3.
(23) Patristic strategies for legitimating Christianity are analyzed by David Rokeah, "The Church Fathers and the Jews in Writing Designed for Internal and External Use," in Antisemitism Through the Ages, ed. Shmuel Almog, trans. Nathan H. Reisner (Oxford: Pergamon Press for the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, 1988), 39-69. Sarah Pearce insightfully analyzes early changes in Christian-Jewish relations, and the consequences for the later understanding of New Testament hostility toward Jews: "Attitudes of Contempt: Christian Anti-Judaism and the Bible" in Cultures of Ambivalence and Contempt: Studies in Jewish--Non-Jewish Relations, ed. Slim Jones, Tony Kushner, Sarah Pearce (London and Portland, Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 1998), 50-71.
(24) Cohen, Living Letters of the Law, 13.
(25) I borrow the idea from Said, Orientalism, 92-94.
(26) Visitatio sepulchri, in Karl Young, The Drama of the Medieval Church, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1951), 1:393. I cite Young's editions throughout this essay. The first reference to a play refers to volume: page. Subsequent parenthetical references are to page numbers.
(27) I discuss this play and exegesis in detail elsewhere: "Exegesis Reconsidered: The Fleury Slaughter of Innocents and the Myth of Ritual Murder," Journal of English and Germanic Philology 102, no. 2 (2003): 211-43.
(28) He dwells on this theme again: "Christicole/blandis uerbis sue fallacie/gentes huius seducunt patrie" (Christ worshippers, with the persuasive words of their deceit, lead the people of this land astray ).
(29) Chazan offers a very fine analysis of twelfth-century Christian perceptions of active Jewish hostility, the larger context for the Playbook's images: Medieval Stereotypes and Modern Antisemitism, 58-73.
(30) It is instructive to compare the range of positions surveyed by Jeremy Cohen, "The Jews as Killers of Christ in the Latin Tradition, from Augustine to the Friars," Traditio 39 (1983): 13-24; Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, 119-21; and Chazan, Medieval Stereotypes and Modern Antisemitism, 41-57.
(31) My argument is inspired by and parallels Langmuir's analysis of Peter the Venerable, Toward a Definition of Antisemitism, 197-208. I have also found Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, 63-106, and Cohen, Living Letters of the Law, 167-218, invaluable.
(32) Moore's concise history remains useful: Formation of a Persecuting Society, 11-27.
(33) Cohen surveys the historical Paul's complex attitudes: Living Letters of the Law, 6-9.
(34) For evidence of this attitude, see Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, 6. The development of Christian attitudes toward reason is also discussed by Funkenstein, "Basic Types of Christian Anti-Jewish Polemics," 377-79.
(35) Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, 77; for discussion of the debates, see 77-93. Van Engen reinforces this conclusion, "Ralph of Flaix: The Book of Leviticus Interpreted as Christian Community," in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Signer and Van Engen, 150-70.
(36) See Timmer, "Biblical Exegesis and the Jewish-Christian Controversy"; Van Engen, "Ralph of Flaix: The Book of Leviticus Interpreted as Christian Community," in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Signer and Van Engen, 150-70.
(37) On the Glossa Ordinaria and twelfth-century standardization of learning, see: Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1952), ix-xi, 46-66; M. T. Gibson, "The Place of the Glossa ordinaria in Medieval Exegesis;' in Ad litteram: Authoritative Texts and Their Medieval Readers, ed. Mark D. Jordan and Kent Emery, Jr. (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 5-27; Mark A. Zier, "Peter Lombard and the Glossa ordinaria on the Bible," in A Distinct Voice, ed. Brown and Stoneman, 629-41. Van Engen persuasively analyzes Ralph of Flaix's commentary on Leviticus as (in part, at least) a response to the appeal of Jewish hermeneutics: "Ralph of Flaix: The Book of Leviticus Interpreted as Christian Community," in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Signer and Van Engen, 150-70.
(38) See Jeremy Cohen, The Friars and the Jews: A Study in the Development of Medieval Anti-Judaism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982); Cohen addresses critiques of his thesis in Living Letters of the Law, 313-89. For stimulating new research in this area, see Jonathan M. Elukin, "The Discovery of the Self: Jews and Conversion in the Twelfth Century," in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Signer and Van Engen, 63-76; William Chester Jordan, "Adolescence and Conversion in the Middle Ages: A Research Agenda," in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Signer and Van Engen, 77-93.
(39) In Matthaei Evangelium expositio, Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne (Paris, 1844-64), 92, col. 14. Hereafter Patrologia Latina is cited as PL.
(40) Catena Aurea in Quatuor Evangelia, ed. P. Angelici Guarienti, 2 vols. (Turin and Rome: Marietti, 1953), 1:41; Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, ed. John Henry Newman, 4 vols. (Southampton: Saint Austin Press, 1997), 1:82 (English translation first published in 1841).
(41) Glossa Ordinaria, PL 114, col. 77. Ironically, Lee Patterson reads Rachel's tears as evidence of her disbelief, an entirely modern interpretation; see "'The Living Witnesses of Our Redemption'," 534. By "modern" I do not mean "illegitimate;' but rather "not medieval." Medieval exegetes in fact had difficulty understanding Rachel's grief: as Ecclesia; she could be either mourning Christian martyrs or lamenting the babies' eternal deaths. Jerome, Commentaria in Evangelium Matthaei, PL 26, col. 28: Pseudo-Bede, In Matthaeum, PL 92, col. 14; Aquinas, Catena Aurea, 1:42.
(42) See Clyde W. Brockett, "Modal and Motivic Coherence in the Music of the Music Dramas in the Fleury Playbook," in The Fleury "Playbook," ed. Campbell and Davidson, 60 n. 19.
(43) E.g., "laceros artus" "sola rabie iugulati," "mortua membra" (112).
(44) Collins, Production of Music-Drama, 160-62, insightfully analyzes this theme, and Kathleen M. Ashley develops it in relation to monastic ideals of friendship, "Raising of Lazarus," in The Fleury "Playbook," ed. Campbell and Davidson, 103-06.
(45) See Abulafia's study of polemical treatises, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, 63-93; and Lipton's analysis of early-thirteenth-century Bibles moralisees, Images of Intolerance, 72-79.
(46) PL 113, col. 459.
(47) John Marlin suggests a specifically Benedictine understanding of this sign: "[T]he phylacterium, a 'circlet on the forehead' (Dt 6:8) that rememorated the Exodus, connects the deliverance from Egypt with the resurrection--deliverance from sin--effected by the one wearing it" ("Virtual Ritual" 423).
(48) Quoted in Leclercq, Love of Learning and the Desire for God, 76.
(49) Leclercq, ibid., 77.
(50) "Hoc Pharisaei male interpretantes, in membranulis decalogum (id est, decem verba) scribebant, et ligata in fronte portabant. Quod usque hodie faciunt Babylonii, ut putentur religiosi" Glossa Ordinaria, PL 113, col. 459).
(51) PL 114, col. 157.
(52) For a complementary analysis, see Timmer, who argues that Rupert of Deutz uses the image of the Jew to represent the antithesis of monastic virtue ("Biblical Exegesis and the Jewish-Christian Controversy").
(53) "Quem uenturum olim propheta signauerat"; "quia scriptum didicimus: Adorabunt eum omnes reges, omnes genres seruient et" (85).
(54) Margaret Schlauch offers a valuable study of these contrasts: "The Allegory of Church and Synagogue," Speculum 14 (1939): 448-64. Michael Camille refines and extends the image patterns, The Gothic Idol: Ideology and Image-Making in Medieval Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 175-80.
(55) E.g., "regem regum querimus" (85); "Querimus en regem regnantibus imperitantem" (86).
(56) Langmuir, Toward a Definition of Antisemitism, 197. Miriam Anne Skey details "The Iconography of Herod in the Fleury Playbook and in the Visual Arts," in The Fleury "Playbook," ed. Campbell and Davidson, 130-34.
(57) "Iconography of Herod," in The Fleury "Playbook," ed. Campbell and Davidson, 131.
(58) Camille, Gothic Idol 179, 181-82, 192, examines the opposed visual images of scroll (or tablets of the law) and book. Lipton's study of the Jewish scroll in art history offers very similar evidence from the early thirteenth century, Images of Intolerance, 24, 57-66.
(59) Michael Camille explores this experience in exquisite detail: "Sensations of the Page: Imaging Technologies and Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts," in The Iconic Page in Manuscript, Print, and Digital Culture, ed. George Bornstein and Theresa Tinkle (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998), 37-44.
(60) See, e.g., the fifteenth-century Charter of Christ reproduced in Douglas Gray, Themes and Images in the Medieval English Religious Lyric (London and Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972), fig. 5.
(61) Timmer, "Biblical Exegesis and the Jewish-Christian Controversy," 309-21, and Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, 94-106 illuminate the Christian development of this stereotype.
(62) Pseudo-Bede, In Matthaeum Evangelium Expositio, PL 92, col. 13-14; Glossa Ordinaria, PL 114, col. 75.
(63) See Cohen on Peter the Venerable, Living Letters of the Law, 254-63.
(64) This shift is established by Cohen, "Jews as Killers of Christ in the Latin Tradition," 3-27. Abulafia, Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, 119-21, presents new evidence for the twelfth century.
(65) Anna Sapir Abulafia traces the connection between Jewishness and carnality that underlies this characterization of Herod: "Jewish Carnality in Twelfth-Century Renaissance Thought," Studies in Church History 29 (1992): 59-75.
(66) For a similar polemical use of Jewishness, see Timmer, "Biblical Exegesis and the Jewish-Christian Controversy," 313-21.
(67) Pseudo-Bede, In Matthaeum, PL 92, col. 14; Glossa Ordinaria, PL 114, col. 77; Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea in Quatuor Evangelia, 1:41, 43.
(68) For other pieces of this puzzle, see the scholarship cited in notes 10-17.
(69) E.g., Chazan, Medieval Stereotypes and Modern Antisemitism, 82-85.
(70) I study these interpretations in "Saturn of the Several Faces: A Survey of the Medieval Mythographic Traditions," Viator 18 (1987): 289-307.
(71) See my Medieval Venuses and Cupids: Sexuality, Hermeneutics, and English Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), 42-77.
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