- Notre-Dame de Paris, 1163–2013: Actes du colloque scientifique tenu au Collège des Bernardins, à Paris, du 12 au 15 décembre 2012 ed. by Cédric Giraud
In 2013, 850 years after the foundation stone of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was laid, a conference celebrating this illustrious church took place in Paris. The book brings together papers by specialists of intellectual and institutional history, social and religious history, liturgy, paleography, musicology, and history of art. Throughout its history, the cathedral was associated with numerous individuals (poets, musicians, theologians, bishops, scholars), institutions (the Augustinian Abbey of Saint-Victor, the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Denis, the University of Paris), religious orders (Franciscans, Dominicans), and the French monarchy. The book provides readers with various perspectives on these themes, with articles grouped into five main sections. Notwithstanding their different methodologies, disciplines, and priorities—as can be expected in a volume exploring almost a millennium of history—most articles proceed from a thorough examination of primary sources, including a wide variety of service books and archival documents.
The book covers two principal subject matters. One group of articles addresses the cathedral in relation to some of its illustrious episcopal and canonical authorities, from Bishop Maurice of Sully—under whose episcopate most of the construction took place in the twelfth century—and Jean Gerson (canon at Notre Dame, theologian, and chancellor of the University of Paris in the early-fifteenth century) to Jean-Marie Lustiger (archbishop of Paris from 1981 to 2005). A second group of articles is dedicated to broader themes that cut across centuries, including the frivolities sometimes associated with the Feast of Circumcision (the so-called Feast of Fools), music and liturgy, the relationship between the cathedral and other establishments (the university, the hospital, abbeys and churches), and political history.
A closer examination of one of the book’s sections may illustrate the breadth of methodologies and perspectives offered therein. The fourth section of the book (“La cathédrale et la cité de Dieu”) comprises four articles, each dealing with a different aspect of the liturgy at medieval Notre Dame. The section opens with an archaeological excavation in the musical mound that is Notre Dame. Claire Maître sets out to discover archaic musical elements in the chant books of a church that, similarly to many other prominent churches, witnessed numerous changes, reforms, additions, and omissions in all that concerns its musical tradition. An [End Page 894] examination of the antiphons of the ferial office found in a service book copied c. 1300 reveals that eight of them exhibit traits of archaic modality. Moving from monophony to polyphony, Guillaume Gross examines the three- and four-part organa composed for the most solemn feast inscribed in the calendar of Notre Dame. He considers them to be instruments of propaganda in the service of the bishop, and brings to the fore questions of audience and patronage. Remaining in the thirteenth century but moving to Bari, in southern Italy, Maria Gurrado examines some of the service books housed at the archives of the Saint-Nicolas Basilica. The court of Charles I of Anjou (1226–85), the younger brother of Louis IX, adopted the liturgy of the Sainte-Chapelle for the collegiate church of Saint-Nicolas in Bari. In 1296, Charles II (1254–1309), son of Charles of Anjou, officially named the basilica a “Sainte-Chapelle” and endowed it with twenty-three manuscripts that followed the usage of Paris, which thus has relevance to the volume under discussion. Crowning the fourth section of the volume is Jean-Baptiste Lebigue’s article, which brings to light the original Ordo that served for the 1431 coronation of Henri VI of England as king of France at Notre Dame Cathedral, when he was only ten years of age. Lebigue concludes his insightful contribution with a masterful edition of the Ordo.
Finally, a detailed catalog of Notre Dame sources exhibited at the...