By Clare Costley King'oo
In Miserere Mei, Clare Costley King'oo examines the severe value of the Penitential Psalms in England among the tip of the fourteenth and the start of the 17th century. in this interval, the Penitential Psalms encouraged an incredible volume of inventive and highbrow paintings: as well as being copied and illustrated in Books of Hours and different prayer books, they have been expounded in commentaries, imitated in vernacular translations and paraphrases, rendered into lyric poetry, or even transformed for making a song. Miserere Mei explores those a number of differences in materiality and style. Combining the assets of shut literary research with these of the historical past of the ebook, it finds not just that the Penitential Psalms lay on the middle of Reformation-age debates over the character of repentance, but additionally, and extra considerably, that they constituted a domain of theological, political, creative, and poetic engagementacross the numerous polarities which are frequently acknowledged to split past due medieval from early smooth culture.
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Extra resources for Miserere mei : the penitential Psalms in late medieval and early modern England
21 This psalm, then, leaves open the rather terrifying possibility that the psalmist suffers at the indiscriminate (or, at least, the inscrutable) whim of the divine. In sum, an analysis of the seven Penitential Psalms based on formcritical methods unearths the rather uneven, perhaps even inorganic quality of the grouping. Such an analysis, that is, does a very good job of underscoring that these psalms may never have been held together by a common emphasis on sin, confession, or repentance. What form criticism fails to explain, though, is precisely how, given their unequally penitential status (in formal terms, and thus also in the worship of ancient Israel), these seven psalms became and remained so thoroughly 8 M I S E R E R E M E I penitential in the Western Church.
54 According to the canon, all sinners who were to embark on public penance at the beginning of Lent had to present themselves to the bishop at the doors of the church, barefoot and wearing only 16 M I S E R E R E M E I sackcloth. Having enjoined penance “according to the measure of [each penitent’s] guilt,” the bishop led them all “into the church and, prostrate upon the floor . . 57 But it does not represent the only way that the laity interacted with the Penitential Psalms in the Middle Ages.
Throughout the Middle Ages, indeed, the seven psalms were repeated frequently by the religious as a solemn penitential devotion. This was particularly the case during the time of fasting and self-reflection leading up to Easter every year, though the act of praying the Penitential Psalms in repentance was by no means confined to the Lenten season. 49 The Winchester Regularis concordia Introduction 15 (Monastic Agreement), which dates from about 970 and provides a snapshot of monastic practices in England in the second half of the tenth century, suggests that in the majority of English monasteries at that time the Penitential Psalms were said year-round.
Miserere mei : the penitential Psalms in late medieval and early modern England by Clare Costley King'oo