The Storie of Asneth and its literary relations: the Bride of Christ tradition in late Medieval England.

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dc.contributor.author Reid, Heather A.
dc.date.accessioned 2011-08-29T22:12:12Z
dc.date.available 2011-08-29T22:12:12Z
dc.date.copyright 2011 en_US
dc.date.issued 2011-08-29
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/3518
dc.description.abstract This is a study of the fifteenth-century, “Storie of Asneth,” a late-medieval English translation of a Jewish Hellenistic romance about the Patriarch, Joseph, and his Egyptian wife, Asneth (also spelled Aseneth, Asenath). Belonging to the collection of stories known as The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and derived from Jewish Midrash, the story was widely read among medieval religious in England in Latin before being translated into the vernacular for devotional purposes. Part of this study considers and identifies the aristocratic female patron (Elizabeth Berkeley) and author (John Walton) of the fifteenth-century Middle English text, based on literary, historical, and manuscript evidence from the sole surviving copy of the text in Huntington Library EL.26.A.13, a manuscript once owned by John Shirley. Also explored is the ritualistic pattern of events in the text (original to its Hellenistic origins) that coincides with ancient female initiation rites as we understand them from recent studies of Greek mythology. Centred in the narrative, culminating Asneth’s liminal seclusion, is her sacred marriage with a heavenly being. The argument suggests that in the Middle Ages this sacred consummation would have been interpreted as the union of God with the soul, similar to the love union in the Song of Songs. In the Christian tradition it is referred to as mystical marriage. Early Christian exegesis supports that Joseph was considered a prefigurement of Christ in the Middle Ages. In her role as divine consort and Joseph’s wife, Asneth would also have been identified as a type of Ecclesia in the Middle Ages—the symbolic bride of Christ. Patterns of female initiation in the story are also reflected in the hagiographical accounts of female saints, female mystics, and the ritual consecration of nuns to their orders, especially where they focus on marriage to Christ. The similarity of Asneth with Ecclesia, and therefore Asneth’s identity as a type of the church in the Middle Ages, is then explored in the context of the theology of the twelfth-century Cistercian prophet, Joachim of Fiore. The thirteenth-century Canterbury manuscript, Cambridge Corpus Christi College MS 288 (CCCC MS 288), which holds a Latin copy of Asneth also contains one of the earliest Joachite prophecies in England, known as Fata Monent. The study suggests Asneth may have held theological currency for early followers of Joachim of Fiore in England. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Joseph and Aseneth en_US
dc.subject Bride of Christ Tradition en_US
dc.subject Huntington Library EL.26.A.13 en_US
dc.subject CCCC MS 288 en_US
dc.subject Joachim of Fiore en_US
dc.subject Female Initiation en_US
dc.subject Female Mystics en_US
dc.subject Medieval Female Religious en_US
dc.subject Elizabeth Berkeley en_US
dc.subject John Walton en_US
dc.subject John Shirley en_US
dc.subject Storie of Asneth en_US
dc.title The Storie of Asneth and its literary relations: the Bride of Christ tradition in late Medieval England. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Kerby-Fulton, Kathryn
dc.contributor.supervisor Rippin, Andrew
dc.degree.department Interdisciplinary Graduate Program en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.rights.temp Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation Reid, Heather A. “Patroness of Orthodoxy: Elizabeth Berkeley, John Walton, and The Middle English 'Storie of Asneth,' a West Midlands Devotional Text.” ‘Diuerse Imaginaciouns of Cristes Life': Devotional Culture in England and Beyond, 1300-1560. Eds. Stephen Kelley and Ryan Perry. Brepols, 2012. Forthcoming. en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation Reid, Heather A. “Female Initiation Rites and Women Visionaries: Mystical Marriage in the Middle English Translation of The Storie of Asneth. Women and the Divine in Literature Before 1700. Ed. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton. ELS Editions. Victoria: University of Victoria, 2009. 137-152. en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US

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