Reference : The Monk's Guide to the Sacred Remains. Johannes Scheckmann's Heiltumsbücher between ...
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The Monk's Guide to the Sacred Remains. Johannes Scheckmann's Heiltumsbücher between Hagiography and Curiosity
Dubuisson, Bastien mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Humanities (DHUM) >]
III International Congress for Young Researchers in Middle Ages (III ICYRMA): Death
12-11-2020 to 14-11-2020
University of Evorà
online (webinar)
[en] Early modern ; hagiography ; Trier
[en] At the dawn of Reformation and the religious tensions that spread across Europe in the 16th century, the German city of Trier was the theatre of a particular religious craze considered a peak in the development of personal piety.

During his second stay in the Mosellan city in 1512, emperor Maximilian of Habsburg ordered the clergy to excavate the tunica Christi, a relic that had remained buried under the main altar of the eastern choir of the cathedral since the end of the 12th century. This inventio was followed by a series of ostensiones to show the Holy Tunic to the mass of people gathered in front of the cathedral. Being located on the pilgrimage route to Aachen and Cologne, the churches of Trier took advantage of the influx of pilgrims to promote their own places of worship. A real “flood of relics” (“Heiltumsflut”) fell upon the city with all the drifts that went with it such as the digging of bones and a massive consumption of indulgence letters, a lucrative activity heavily criticized by Martin Luther a few years later.

In this context, a whole literature related to these ostensiones reliquiarum as well as to the history of the city and of its churches emerged (so-called Heiltumsschriften), the most notorious example being Johannes Enen’s “Medulla Gestorum Trevirensium”, a vernacular treaty published in 1514, with a second edition in 1515. Two years later, in 1517, a Latin version of the above-mentioned text was released (“Epitome alias medulla Gestorum Trevirorum”). Its author was Johannes Scheckmann, a monk from the Benedictine abbey of St Maximin who had already published four other prints and is believed to be behind a series of hagiographic texts preserved in manuscript form only.

Traditionally, Heilthumsbücher can be defined as printed brochures containing textual and visual information necessary for pilgrims to follow the exhibition ceremony of relics in a particular church. Yet, Scheckmann’s publications intrigue by their prosaic developments that lay far beyond the literary limits of their counterparts.

Acting as a true hagiographer, the monk of Saint-Maximin shaped a new form of compendium by reemploying a classical hagiographical repertory, including one of the two only preserved medieval treaties about the cult of the saints and the worship of their relics: Thiofrid of Echternach’s Flores Epytaphii Sanctorum (ca. 1100).

My paper’s proposal aims to explore to which extend Scheckmann’s work takes place in the context of an increased competition between sanctuaries to attract pilgrims; it also analysis the intended message of his writings in consideration with the past literature about the local saints.
Researchers ; Students
FnR ; FNR13505915 > Bastien Dubuisson > BOSAMEN > Books Saints And Men: For A Revaluation Of Latin Hagiographic Culture In The Diocese Of Trier (13th-16th Centuries) > 15/09/2019 > 14/09/2023 > 2019

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