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Before the Gregorian ReformThe Latin Church at the Turn of the First Millennium$
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John Howe

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452895

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452895.001.0001

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“To Rouse Devotion in a Carnal People”

“To Rouse Devotion in a Carnal People”

(p.112) Chapter 4 “To Rouse Devotion in a Carnal People”
Before the Gregorian Reform

John Howe

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the role of art in the tenth and eleventh centuries in helping lead simple souls to God. According to Bernard of Clairvaux, the “bishops have a duty toward both wise and foolish. They have to make use of material ornamentation to inspire devotion in a carnal people, incapable of spiritual things.” Conscientious churchmen debated about the merits and demerits of ecclesiastical luxury. In the medieval Latin West, however, a consensus gradually emerged that rich and splendid art had a role to play in helping lead simple souls to God. This chapter discusses the proliferation of altars and reliquaries in crypts, side chapels, and shrines from the Carolingian period forward and their influence on ecclesiastical architecture. It also considers the use of crosses and crucifixes on altars and the reappearance of three-dimensional religious statues in the tenth-century Latin West. Finally, it describes the sorts of ecclesiastical paraphernalia such as books, vestments, and liturgical equipment that were crafted to help bring simple souls to God.

Keywords:   ecclesiastical luxury, Latin West, altars and reliquaries, shrines, ecclesiastical architecture, crosses and crucifixes, religious statues, ecclesiastical paraphernalia, vestments, liturgical equipment

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