Don’t you think it’s about time you were free to respond in any way you would like to the readings for class? As it’s our LAST DAY OF NEW READINGS for class, this is literally your last chance. Let’s see how you can make your final blog comment shimmer.
All four of today’s texts present the story of a sinner–committing adultery, despair, anger, everything possible (in the case of Incestuous Daughter)–who is, in most cases, redeemed. Consider the way the sinner’s situation is presented in these different narratives: how might you see each as a participant in a sin-assemblage (and, later, a redemption-assemblage)? And what might the fact that the sinner is not simply acting autonomously suggest?
Bad joke, I apologize. In class last time, we touched on the idea of “matter that isn’t matter”. Think back to when Bynum discussed the paradox of Jesus’ body (material) ascending to heaven (divine). Consider the devils’ chains in The Incestuous Daughter. Does a similar paradox exist here? The chains change how the woman behaves. Does this make them “real”? Does it make them material?
Bynum concludes this chapter with the following statement:
The Christianity of the later Middle ages was. . .a matter of matter. It entailed both a radical awareness of the corruption and transience of all that is not God and a radical conviction that God, immanent and immediate in the stuff of the world, might for a moment lift that stuff to exactly the eternity and transcendence it could by definition never be. (265)
Explain Bynum’s claim here (in a sentence or two) and then offer a response grounded in what you encountered in the rest of the chapter and/or in readings (literary or theoretical) we’ve encountered this semester.
One point Bynum continually makes in this chapter is that the mysterious occurrences (real or imagined) elicited reactions from people. In the section “Change as Threat and Opportunity”, what sorts of questions do miracles raise? How can you relate this to the concept of “thing power” that we discussed in “Vibrant Matter”?
What is the genre that the text “Dame Courtesy”? And who is it’s audience suppose to be? At some points it seems like it is religious text, sometimes it’s instructional, and sometimes it feels like it isn’t talking to women at all. As an object document what is it trying to do?
Today’s readings all offer the reader guidance on (among other things) how to interact with household objects. How would you describe the relationship among humans and nonhumans that these texts attempt to remedy? And how do they attempt to do so?
On page 175, Bynum states that matter, while being “locatable, divisible, temporal, changeable”, can be, in the medieval mind, redeemed by God so that “corruptible matter must be-impossibly, inconceivably, paradoxically-capable of incorruption”. How does this idea fit in with some of our earlier views on materiality, such as hybridity? What is your sense of how Bynum’s evidence in the chapter supports or complicates our ideas of the power of objects?