Abstract

summary:

This article examines late medieval English representations of the startling and apocryphal story of Salome, the skeptical midwife who dares to touch, or at least attempt to touch, the Virgin Mary “in sexu secreto” during a postpartum examination at the nativity. Salome’s story originated in the second century, but its late medieval iterations are inflected by a culture interested in evaluating and examining sensory evidence, in both medicine and religion. The story appears in sermon collections, devotional texts, the cycle nativity plays, and John Lydgate’s Life of Our Lady, and these variations demonstrate the intersection of gender and experience-based knowledge in medical and devotional contexts. Salome’s story provides a unique opportunity to study late medieval interpretations of female medicine, materialism, and spirituality.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3176
Print ISSN
0007-5140
Pages
pp. 1-24
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-23
Open Access
No
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