Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

Article of the Month

Indexers select an article or essay at the beginning of each month that is outstanding in its line of argument, wealth of significances, and writing style. We particularly look for pieces that will be useful as course readings.

May 2016 [Posted June 2017]

Christ Crucified on the Letter T
Christ Crucified on the Letter T, c. 800, Gellone Sacramentary. (Source: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Cod. lat. 12048, fol. 143 verso. Public domain.)

Coon, Lynda. "Gendering Dark Age Jesus." Gender & History 28, 1 (2016): 8-33.

Abstract: "Jesus's body was visualised in strikingly gendered ways in the Carolingian world. The Jesus of the Carolingian Empire could move deftly between gendered styles, from feminised victim to hyper-masculinised victor; at the same time, he could delicately dance between these two modes of gendered existence and do so within the space of one manuscript page. Three manuscripts produced in the ninth century contain bold images of a fleshly Jesus: the Stuttgart Psalter (c.820s), the Sacramentary of Gellone (c.800) and the acrostic poem produced at the abbey of Fulda, In Honour of the Holy Cross (c.810/830s). These codices are associated with a period of cultural flourishing known as the Carolingian renovation, or the renewal of classical and patristic culture within the reforming agenda of the Frankish church. Each manuscript presents a Dark Age Jesus within distinct, interpretative backdrops – tortured, fecund and imperial – a divergence in style underscoring how the evangelical portrait of Jesus's body and its fluctuating gender were staged in the pastoral North for different audiences. The Carolingians did impart a series of images that defy the stereotypes of early medieval Christianity, including the idea that intimacy with a human saviour is the spiritual legacy of subsequent eras." [Reproduced from the journal page on the Wiley Online Library website.]