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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  April 2006

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION April 2006

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Subject:

Re: ''Palpitam miri decoris construxit''? <''Ad augmentandam tabulam altaris...C modii vini''

From:

Jim Bugslag <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 26 Apr 2006 10:47:37 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

> Nobody addresses the "congregation" from the choir screen in a medieval 
> cathedral.   In English secular cathedrals it is not at all clear where the 
> rood was.  It seems to be generally accepted that it was over the choir 
> screen at Salisbury, but as that was at the eastern arch of the crossing the 
> rood could just as easily have been in the western arch.

John,

I am happy to stand corrected, at least partially, about the direction of 
preaching, etc., from the pulpitum.  In any case, it still seems clear to me that 
the congregation was often addressed from the pulpitum.  I quote from Jean 
Mallion, Chartres. Le jubé de la cathédrale (Chartres, 1964), who cites as a 
reference here the Abbé J.-B. Thiers (a 17th-century canon of the cathedral), 
Dissertation sur les jubés (1688): 

"Le jubé est souvent mentionné dans l'histoire ecclésiastique de la cathédrale 
et il joue un rôle important dans de nombreuses cérémonies liturgiques.  Il 
servait tout d'abord à la lecture de l'évangile.  Les chantres y chantaient aussi 
divers psaumes: des antiennes, des répons, des versets.  On y prechait à 
certaines fêtes de l'année.  Le sous-diacre y faisait lecture au peuple [italics 
mine] des nouvelles ecclesiastiques importantes: jeûnes à observer, fêtes à 
célébrer, etc.  On y publiait les miracles, et les nouveaux convertis venaient y 
faire leur profession de foi.  L'absoute y était donnée le mercredi des cendres 
et le jeudi saint.  On y bénissait les rameaux et les cierges, le jour de la 
Purification et des Cendres.  On y exposait aussi les reliques des saints." (p. 
17)  

This clearly shows that it was the people in the nave who were addressed, and 
this is also claimed by Fabienne Joubert, Le jubé de Bourges (Paris, 1994), p. 
17: "Dans les cathédrales, une nombreuse assemblée de chanoines ... 
participait ainsi au culte divin dans le sanctuaire, tandis que seules les lectures 
de l'Epître et de l'Evangile étaient destinée aux fidèles.  La clôture devait, pour 
le temps de ces lectures, servir de chaire à prêcher: ainsi, sur toute la largeur 
de la nef, se transformait-elle en une véritable tribune, le jubé, dont le nom fut 
d'ailleurs inspiré par les premiers mots de Jube, domine, benedicere (Ordonne, 
Seigneur, de bénir), prière par laquelle les diacres et les lecteurs demandent à 
l'évêque ou aux prêtres leur bénédiction avant de chanter l'Evangile."  She also 
cites Thiers.

But Mallion also cites the 17th-century account of Souchet, another canon, of 
the election of a new bishop in 1507: "Les heuriers et habitués de l'église 
estant venus avec la croix levée, le doïen et tous les chanoines s'en allèrent en 
la nef d'icelle, où ils chantèrent le Te Deum, alternativement avec l'orge [sic] et 
firent sonner toutes les cloches, et tandis ledit de Gannais publia ladite élection 
au pulpitre, premièrement du côté du choeur au clergé, puis au peuple vers la 
nef."  He also cites Nicolas de Thou's account of the coronation of Henri IV in 
Chartres Cathedral, in 1594, for which a platform was erected on the jubé: 
"Sur cette plate-forme fut posée la chaise du Roy, en telle sorte que lui estant 
assis, pouvait estre veu depuis l'estomach en haut par ceux que seroient en 
choeur et depuis la ceinture par ceux que seroient en la nef de l'église."

From instances such as these, it would appear that we were both partly right.  
My perspective here, obviously, is French, while yours is English, but can 
practices really have been that different between England and France?  I 
wouldn't have thought so but am open to the possibility.
Cheers,
Jim Bugslag

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