The Symbolism of Medieval Churches: An Introduction explores the ways in which the medieval church building and key features of it were used as symbols, particularly to represent different relationships within the Church and the virtues of the Christian life.
This book introduces the reader to the definition, form, and use of medieval symbols, and the significance that they held and still hold for some people, exploring the context in which church symbolism developed, and examining the major influences that shaped it. Among the topics discussed are allegory, typology, moral interpretation, and anagogy. Further chapters also consider the work of key figures, including Hugh and Richard of St Victor and Abbot Suger at St-Denis. Finally, the book contrasts the Eastern world with the Western world, taking a look at the late Middle Ages and what happened to church symbolism once Aristotle had ousted Plato from the schools.
Entering into the medieval mind and placing church symbolism in its context, The Symbolism of Medieval Churches will be of great interest to upper-level undergraduates, postgraduates, and scholars working on Architectural History, Medieval Art, Church History, and Medieval History more widely.
Mark Spurrell is an independent scholar, and has been interested in medieval chuches since he was a boy. He took his degree in modern history at Corpus Christi College Oxford and gained the diploma in theology. After his retirement Dr Spurrell took a D.Phil, the title of his thesis being 'The development of the medieval chancel and its use by the laity.' He has edited a number of texts for record societies, and contributed articles to learned journals. He now concentrates on how medieval people used and thought about their churches.
Ch. 1. Visual allegories and verbal symbols
Ch. 2. Recent symbolism
Ch. 3. Symbol and meaning
Ch. 4. Allegory
Ch. 5. Typology
Ch. 6. The moral interpretation
Ch. 7. Anagogy
Ch. 8. Hugh and Richard of St Victor
Ch. 9. Simplified symbols
Ch. 10. Buildings as symbols
Ch. 11. Numbers as symbols
Ch. 12. Suger and Saint-Denis: a case study
Ch. 13. The East
Ch. 14. The triumph of literalism
Ch. 15. Images
Ch. 16. In conclusion
Appx 1. A poem contemplating the new church at Edessa
Appx 2. The dedication of Church in the East
Appx 3. A hymn for the Feast of Dedication in the West
Appx 4. Icelandic homily for the festival of the dedication of a church
Appx 5. Anon; Speculum de mysteriis ecclesiae
Appx 6. Honorius Augustodunensis: Gemma animae
Appx 7. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a sermon
Appx 8. From Sicardus' Mitralis
Appx 9. Augustinus de Dacia, Rotulus pugillaris
Appx 10. Pelbartus, Sermon 104
Appx 11. Claritas: Light and dark churches