The Arma Christi in Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture

Cooper, Lisa H.
Denny-Brown, Andrea
Date published: 
February 2014

This book explores the multiple resonances and representations of the arma Christi, the “instruments of the Passion,” in medieval and early modern culture. From the weapons used to torment and sacrifice the body of Christ sprang a reliquary tradition that produced active and contemplative devotional practices, complex literary narratives, intense lyric poems, striking visual images, and innovative architecture. The verbal and visual representations that accrued from these holiest of relics, and the practices they in turn inspired, are relevant to a wide variety of critical fields and theoretical approaches. This collection capitalizes on recent work on these most central of medieval “objects,” and produces, through its interdisciplinary and intergenerational scholarly collaboration, a fresh view of the multiple intersections of the spiritual and the material in the Middle Ages. It also includes a new edition of the English arma Christi poem known as “O Vernicle” from previously unpublished manuscripts.