Queen of Queens: The Virgin Mary in an anonymous Cistercian sermon collection from early thirteenth-century Sweden

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding

Abstract

The first Cistercian monastery in medieval Sweden was Alvastra, founded in 1143. Its library is almost completely lost, only three manuscripts remain. One of these, ms. C 37 in Uppsala University Library, contains a collection of 32 complete and three incomplete sermons.
The writing in the sermon collection belongs to the first half of the thirteenth century. No direct source has been found. It is a partially ordered collection, running from the Second Sunday of Advent to the Fourth Sunday after Easter, with some displacements. The language is Latin, stylistically good but with many minor errors of spelling and grammar. The impression is of a clean copy that the author never had the opportunity to correct. In terms of contents, the sermons belong in the monastic tradition but seem to be meant for lay people – the emphasis is on doctrine and morals, not prayer and contemplation.
What do the sermons teach about the Virgin Mary? As Mother of Jesus she is a source of all the good that he has bestowed on humankind. As a virgin she is pure and perfect. Her obedience is an example to be imitated. She was a source of knowledge about Jesus for Apostles and Evangelists. Her name means ”star of the sea” or illuminatrix. She is an image of the Church. That she shared in the sufferings of Christ is mentioned but not strongly emphasized. She is extolled as an image of Paradise and a source of mercy. Last but not least, she is closer to God than any other person and therefore a powerful intercessor.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History
  • Religious Studies

Keywords

  • Virgin Mary, Sermons, Middle Ages, Cistercian Order, Alvastra
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedNo
EventMedieval monks, nuns and monastic life: 21st biennial symposium of the International Medieval Sermon Studies Society - Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 2018 Jul 152018 Jul 20
Conference number: 21
https://imsss.net/symposium-2018

Conference

ConferenceMedieval monks, nuns and monastic life
Abbreviated titleIMSSS
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBristol
Period2018/07/152018/07/20
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