Communicating the Passion in the Late Middle Ages: Socio-Religious Function of an Emotional Narrative

Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Friday, May 31, 2019 - 9:30am
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Friday, May 31, 2019 - 9:30am to 6:00pm

The vivid and emotionally intense commemoration of the Passion of Christ was a key element in late medieval religious communication across Western and Central Europe. However, still too often, the paramount importance of this socio-religious phenomenon has been asserted by scholars without really investigating the different media involved in this process and how the Passion was presented to, and interiorized, by the faithful. By means of a close analysis of sources and a comparative approach, the workshop will have a twofold goal. First, by gathering researchers working on different media of religious instruction, namely preaching, devotional texts, religious theatre, and visual arts, the workshop will foster an interdisciplinary conversation on what it meant to “communicate” the Passion in the late Middle Ages and will start to explore its socio-religious function. Key questions will concern the communicative strategies to present the Passion, the interplay between different media, the ways to discuss theological ideas and to arouse affection in the audience, the presence or absence of anti-Jewish topoi. Second, the workshop will devote particular attention to Good Friday sermons, as a means to investigate how an emotionally characterized theological discourse reached a vast and diversified audience. Notwithstanding the general lack of scholarship on this type of text, Passion sermons were indeed cultural products of crucial importance, since they supported what was by far the most demanding preaching performance of the year, when the preacher had to stir up the audience’s emotional involvement by means of a long and compelling representation of Christ’s sacrifice.  


9.30 – 10.45      First session

Chair: Pietro Delcorno (IAS CEU)

Michael Neumaier (University of Tübingen)

The Passion Starts in Heaven. The 'Dispute among the Daughters of God' as Explanatory Element of the Passion in German Religious Plays

Gabor Klaniczay (CEU)

Stigmata and Passion Ecstasy in Medieval and Modern Times

10.45 – 11.15    Coffee break

11.15 – 13.00    Second session

Chair: Ottó Gecser (ELTE)

Jan Odstrcilik (ÖAW, Vienna)

Sermons on the Passion Written by Henry Totting of Oyta

Olga Kalashnikova (CEU)

Iohannes Milicius de Cremsir’s Good Friday Sermon: Structure and Rhetorical Devices

Stanislava Kuzmova (Comelius University, Bratislava)

Communicating the Passion and Sainthood: Patterns of Passion in Preaching in Krakow

13.00 - 14.30    Lunch break

14.30 - 16.15    Third session

Chair: Tamás Kárath (PPKE / CEU)

Katrin Janz-Wenig (ÖAW, Vienna)

Explaining the Passion of Christ: Three Different Examples to Evoke Compassion

Dávid Falvay (ELTE)

The Passion Narrative in the Meditationes Vitae Christi

Ágnes Korondi (Hungarian Academy of Sciences – National Széchényi Library)

Meditational and Narrative Techniques in Two Passion Texts of a Hungarian-Language Dominican Manuscript

16.15 – 16.45    Coffee break

16.45 – 18.00    Fourth session

Chair:  Farkas Kiss (ELTE)

Pietro Delcorno (IAS, CEU)

Emotions and Theology in a Blockbuster: Conrad Grütsch’s Good Friday Sermon

Giacomo Mariani (CEU / Collegio San Carlo)

Roberto Caracciolo’s Good Friday Preaching: Performance, Religious Drama, and Poetry


The event is open to the public but please RSVP until May 30 via e-mail: