Week 7 ~ Hannah

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I have always thought Gothic cathedrals looked ominous and slightly horrific (in the most beautiful sense of course). It was interesting to read that these cathedrals were actually built to emphasize and show the light of Jesus. These cathedrals, with the influence of Suger, were constructed with an art and a science to showcase the light that was coming through their angles. There is unity in how all of the different supports work together to not only make this building stand, but also to look beautiful. The stained-glass windows depict the life of the saints and Jesus with light shining through them. The importance of Jesus as the light brings to this age a sense of hope and holiness. These builders wanted to show the grandeur of God through their architecture. Their windows, supports, and angles are all symbolic of Jesus in the way that they maneuver and showcase light.

I found it fascinating that these cathedrals were not just for church, be they actually helped the economy. My business minded brain was soaking in how the economy would have been improved with the building of these cathedrals. They created numerous jobs as they were not just one-year projects. They were typically built in urban areas which created urbanization, jobs and people moving to cities. These cathedrals not only created jobs, but they also encouraged education. A more education population also allows for a more developed economy. It truly is amazing that these cathedrals were able to create and sustain economic growth.

One of the things I found most interesting about these chapters was the prominence of the Virgin Mary cult. Many of the cathedrals built were in honor or dedicated to Mary the Virgin. I have always been fascinated with cults and sects of Christianity and I wanted to learn more about this cult. I had never really thought of this pagan cult of the Virgin Mary. During the Middle Ages Mary was thought of as the perfect, pure, and sinless mother of God (World History, 2017). There were shrines on the side of the road for people to pray to her and men even held banners with her image during jousting tournaments. Though this cult took worshipping Mary to the extreme, it did raise respect and esteem for women of the time. Women were more respected because of the prominence that Mary had in everyday life (World History, 2017).

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Coming from a non-denominational background, Mary was seen as the mother of Jesus who underwent a miraculous conception. She was never taught as if she was perfect or without sin. She was a woman who raised the savior of the world, but she had her flaws as well. It is interesting to read about a time where she was revered almost as highly as Jesus. She was the Queen of Heaven in their eyes. It makes me wonder about other people in my life, either from the Bible or not, that I place in the same realm as Jesus. It can be easy to want people to be perfect and to worship those that you respect. We can also fall into the trap of our own personal cults without even realizing it.

 

Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. “The Cult of the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/virg/hd_virg.htm (October 2001)

World History. (2017, June 3). The Cult of the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages. Retrieved from Medieval History: https://worldhistory.us/medieval-history/the-cult-of-the-virgin-mary-in-the-middle-ages.php

4 thoughts on “Week 7 ~ Hannah”

  1. I like how you described Gothic cathedrals as ominous and horrific. It is a very accurate description. The amount of background history about the structure of these cathedrals was great! I think it is amazing how the building of these churches helped the communities where they were located. The importance and love for the Virgin Mary is very interesting. I like how you mentioned how her role in society helped raise the esteem for women during this time. I also come from a non-denominational background. I agree that it is a different outlook on her. It is so interesting to learn about topics like this and how they differ depending on what branch of Christianity you are a part of. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I learned a lot from reading your section about the Virgin Mary cults. It’s strange to me that they thought she was “pure and sinless” because she was the mother of Jesus. I’m pretty sure Mary sinned and was not perfect even though she did give birth to Jesus.. It just takes one person hyping others up to start a cult, even if they are following false information. It’s cool how women were more respected from these Virgin Mary cults though, because women needed that esteem. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I grew up thinking Gothic buildings were so scary and dark too, it was so interesting to leanr that they were made ot point upward and glorify the light of Jesus. I also had no idea there was a pagan cult dedicated to Mother Mary up until this week. Growing up wit. a simsilar non-denominational background makes it hard to understand Mary as a flawless figure to be prayed to.

    Liked by 1 person

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