Voice and Voicelessness

Program Details

“Mary Between Voice and Voicelessness:
The Latin Meditationes from the modern age to the Middle Ages”

Cédric Giraud

Among the most interesting literary creations concerning the Virgin Mary, we must take into account the genre of meditations. Meditation serves as both a stage of spiritual life based primarily on the logos and a transcription of this life, acting as an incitation and a model for this exercice. Several important studies have paved the way from the birth of the genre in Latin at the dawn of the 12th century to its apogee during the classical period and up to its decline in the 18th century. Indeed, we are indebted to the doctoral dissertation of Jean-François Cottier, which highlighted the seminal role played by Anselm of Canterbury in the formalization of a genre that progressively dissociated itself, at the end of the 11th century, from other forms inherited from the high Middle Ages such as prayers borrowed from the Psalms. At the other end of the narrative, the end of the story has been related in detail by Christian Belin: centering his study around meditative texts of the grand siècle in French, the author also offers a panoramic view of meditative practice and the Bible, from Anselm of Canterbury up to the the end of the 17th century.  Belin sees in this moment the end of the story, as the condemnation of quietism by the Roman magisterium simultaneously signaled official recognition of meditation and its apparent decline, at least from the point of view of literary creation. The object of the presentation is to add new elements to this history of meditation, by showing the survival of the meditative corpus of Saint Anselm during the modern period and presenting a little-known witness of the genre of Marian meditations in the 15th century, the archbishop of Toulouse, Bernard de Rosier.


Supporting Materials

Giraud, Mary Between Voice and Voicelessness