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13. Cathars And The Representation Of The Divine: Christians Of The Invisible

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Chapter Summary

Is it possible to consider the Cathar Bible of Lyon in context of other potentially heterodox bibles of middle Ages? In fact, besides this Cathar New Testament, some examples of Occitan New Testaments with a heterodox origin have come down to us. They are less ancient than the Cathar one, since they are dated to the end of middle Ages. Cathars apparently were the only medieval Christians who refused all figurative representation of material creation. Two kinds of figurative representations are to be found in the manuscript, either as decoration of a large capital, or as a marginal mark. Why did the Cathar copyist use it? At present, the author does not see any other way to answer this question but to look at the significance of lily in Christian tradition, where it symbolizes pure love, as in the lily held by archangel Gabriel at the moment of the Annunciation.

Keywords: archangel Gabriel; Cathar Bible; Christian tradition; divine; figurative representation; heterodox bibles; lily; Occitan New Testaments



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