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Chapter Summary

In face-to-face encounters and direct communications with visitors from heaven, hell, and purgatory, visionaries were privileged to witness first-hand the efficacy and veracity of Church teachings. Thus, for the historian, the vision highlights medieval conceptions of the otherworld and demonstrates the accepted rules of interaction between human beings and the supernatural. The vision also illustrates the visual emphasis of medieval spirituality and shows the importance of meditation, image, and imagination in the devotion of the period. The numbers of vision accounts and their high proportion amongst the exempla and saints legends makes it almost certain that most laypeople would have been highly familiar with the characters of the visionary stage, the etiquette of visionary relations, and the range of styles of visionary sight. Thus the vision was an important part of the Weltanschauung of the late medieval layperson.

Keywords: Church teachings; late medieval layperson; medieval spirituality; saints; vision; visionary relations; visionary sight; visionary stage



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