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Eucharistic Theology And Episcopal Signature

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Chapter Summary

This chapter involves the novel recourse to the written and sealed word by the lay aristocracy of northern France during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. At this time, French nobles were not yet literate; they lacked Latin beyond the modest requirements of liturgy, and as yet neither participated in modes of textual and iconic representation nor controlled the spheres of scribal and iconographic practice. The author believes that the process of the French nobility's acculturation to such modes of representation as the sealed charter commenced in writing bureaus staffed by prescholastic clerics, who were actively involved in discussion on semiotics even as they wrestled with questions in sacramental theology. The chapter examines the action of seals as an innovative semiotic trope that, both in theory and in social practice, re-figured the categories of person, presence, identity, and authority.

Keywords:aristocracy; eleventh centuries; iconographic practice; personal identity; stereotype; twelfth centuries



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