Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from P-T

Theophilus, Legend of

virgin popular tale parchment

the tale of the greedy and ambitious vicar Theophilus is one of several hundred accounts of *miracles performed by the Virgin *Mary that were extremely popular in medieval art and literature. Known by the eighth century, the story was used in sermons in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, included in collections of miracle tales, and became a popular mystery play of the thirteenth century. Depictions of the tale may be found especially in Romanesque and Gothic sculpture and stained glass. A forerunner of the later Faust, Theophilus sold his *soul to the *Devil and denied *Christ and the Virgin in return for power and wealth. The contract was made on a piece of parchment that Theophilus signed and the Devil took away. Theophilus eventually repented and prayed to the Virgin, who finally appeared to him in a dream and pardoned him. He awoke to discover the parchment in his hand, publicly confessed his sins to the bishop and, not much later, he died, after distributing his goods to the poor. The popularity of the Theophilus legend is reflective also of the growing devotion to the Virgin in the High Middle Ages.

Theophrastus [next] [back] Theology - EVIL., BOOK OF THE HEAVENLY COW., FATE., EVIL IN INSTRUCTION FOR MERYKARE, SOURCES

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or