Chapter

The Mother Stood at the Foot of the Cross

Susan C. Karant-Nunn

in Reformation of Feeling

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195399738
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777198 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195399738.003.0005
The Mother Stood at the Foot of the Cross

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This chapter focuses on sermons about the Virgin Mary by Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinist preachers. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, preachers spoke to their human flocks again and again about the swords through Mary's heart. Catholic homileticians virtually seamlessly attached their pulpit-rhetoric to this well-established precedent. As in their treatment of the Passion as a whole, they sought to enable their hearers so acutely to envision the painful events of the Crucifixion that they could be said to be present at it. A striking difference between Catholic and Protestant Passion homiletics is the diminution of attention in the latter toward the mother of Jesus. Luther wrote in connection with the celebration of Christ's nativity that it is certain that if there is a birth, a mother is there. But we want to give our notice to the Christ child and not to the mother. He nevertheless did deal with her in every suitable context, praising her for undergoing ritual purification even though she was not impure, or criticizing her for pressing Jesus prematurely to perform a miracle at Cana. In common with their Lutheran brethren, Zwinglian and Calvinist preachers reduce the Virgin to a peripheral figure. Indeed, she is barely a presence in their excursus on the Passion.

Keywords: Virgin Mary; emotion; feelings; sermons; Catholics; Protestants

Chapter.  14056 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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