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Idealization and subjection at the south façade of Strasbourg Cathedral

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Chapter Summary

The figures of Ecclesia and Synagoga adorning the south façade of Strasbourg cathedral are perhaps the most celebrated exemplars of their genre. Synagoga is broken, but her beauty marks her as an essential component within the ecclesiological scheme at Strasbourg south. This chapter explores how the figures of Strasbourg south, with their dramatic poses and gestures and lifelike forms, collectively constituted a divine audience for the performance of ecclesiastical power. Some of the figures provided models for subjection to this order; while collectively the whole sculpted ensemble held out the promise of the rewards of participation within the divine plan of salvation. As a means to investigate the function of Ecclesia and Synagoga within the network of political, social and ecclesiological ideals prevailing at Strasbourg in the 1230s, the chapter invokes Louis Althusser’s theorization of the mechanics of ideology.

Keywords: Ecclesia; ideology; Louis Althusser; salvation; south façade; Strasbourg cathedral; Synagoga



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