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Sponsa-Sponsus

ecclesia solomon virgin relationship

The Old Testament Song of Solomon was interpreted allegorically by early Christian theologians who explained the text’s dialogue of love in terms of the relationship between *Christ and the *Church (Ecclesia) . A topic taken up by many medieval authors (e.g, *Saint Bernard of Clairvaux), the concept was given pictoral form beginning in the twelfth century with images of the Sponsus (Christ, Bridegroom) approached or embraced by the Sponsa (Ecclesia , Bride). The detailed and physical descriptions of the text were rephrased visually as a mystical and spiritual “marriage” symbolized by the two Page 233 standing or embracing figures. The imagery is found especially in biblical manuscript illustrations and may also be accompanied in typological schemes with the figures of Solomon and the *Queen of Sheba as Old Testament prefigurations. The Virgin *Mary may also be represented as Sponsa-Ecclesia , expressing a tender relationship with her son (perhaps ultimately influenced by Byzantine *Madonna and Child images showing affection between mother and child, e.g., . The Sponsa-Ecclesia figure is also included, along with the Virgin Mary, in Gothic illustrations of the *Crucifixion; she may reach up to embrace Christ’s body on the *cross or press her cheek against his face while holding a chalice to collect blood flowing from his wounds.

[back] Spoken Drama - DETERMINING TEXTS., DRAMATIC RAMESSEUM PAPYRUS., STRUCTURE OF THE RAMESSEUM PAPYRUS., VIGNETTES.

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