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Rhetoric of the Heart: Figuring the Body in Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

David Morgan

in Things

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239450
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823239498 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.003.0006

Series: Future of the Religious Past (FUP)

Rhetoric of the Heart: Figuring the Body in Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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This chapter addresses modern Catholic devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, originating in the appearances of Jesus experienced by nun Margaret-Mary Alacoque (1647–90). Since the seventeenth century, understandings of the Heart of Jesus have shifted from visceral to symbolic registers: from a fetish (a concealing object standing in for something else) to an icon (an image) and, finally, to a mere symbol (a sign). Yet from the eighteenth century up to the present day, the status of the Sacred Heart has remained a source of theological contestation between Jesuits and orthodox Catholics, who emphasize its viscerality, and Jansenist Protestants and Catholic reformers, who treat it as a symbol.

Keywords: Sacred heart; Fetish; Icon; Symbol; Metaphor; Body; Devotion; Penance; Jansenism; Jesuits

Chapter.  10020 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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