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Sisters no longer? Ecclesia and synagoga in late Medieval Europe

You are warmly invited to this CHE/CMEMS Research Seminar:
Date:         Monday 22 February 2016
Time:        11am
Venue:       Philippa Maddern Seminar Room, Arts 1.33, The University of Western Australia
Title:          Sisters no longer? Ecclesia and synagoga in late Medieval Europe
PresenterProfessor Miri Rubin (Queen Mary University of London)

The representation of Christianity and Judaism in the form of two female figures who bear a remarkable ‘family’ resemblance, builds on classical habits prevalent in the early Middle Ages of representing abstractions in female allegorical form. Ecclesia and synagoga emerged at the liturgical heart of religious performance, on objects meant for the altar – bindings for liturgical books, patens, candlesticks, processional crosses – and always within representations of the Crucifixion. During the twelfth century the images spread into the open air, in the form of monumental sculpture on Romanesque and then Gothic facades. This phase is best known, and is often illustrated by the elegant figures adorning Strasbourg Cathedral, made c.1230. What has never been noticed before is that by 1400 this representation had been altogether superseded by one that emphasised not sisterly resemblance, but radical difference.
In this seminar Professor Rubin will discuss these trends and pose some guiding research questions. Discussion will attempt to probe more deeply the nature of this transformation, and its significance.

Miri Rubin is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at Queen Mary University of London. Her research has explored various aspects of European history across the period 1100–1600, and she has introduced new approaches to the study of social relations in the predominantly religious cultures of medieval Europe. Professor Rubin has sought to understand the message of Christian charity as practised in medieval communities; to explore the meanings of the arch-sacrament, the Eucharist; and to explore new narratives about Jews. In her work she seeks to analyse issues of identity, community and gender; the boundaries of cooperation; and the threat of violence.

Synagogue and Ecclesia from BL Royal 3 D VI, f.93| Petrus Comestor (index Peter Comestor, Pierra le Mangeur)

Further information:
Pam Bond (pam.bond@uwa.edu.au)