Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

‘Faith Then Cometh by Hearing’: Latin Orality and the Typological Framework of the Milagros de Nuestra Señora

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2019), 96, (10), 1031–1042.

Abstract

This study examines Latin phrases that are inserted throughout the Milagros de Nuestra Señora, and work in conjunction with vernacular formulations that critics have often identified as examples of orality. My investigation draws on recent approaches to medieval culture like that of John Miles Foley and Peter Ramey who understand orality and literacy as categories that are simultaneous rather than contrary. In some cases, I find that Berceo’s Latin interjections are elliptical, insofar as missing words and phrases from inserted fragments appear to be meaningful in new vernacularized contexts. In other cases, however, these insertions are more completely recontextualized, and can take on very distinct, even paradoxical senses in their new settings. In this way, this essay not only sheds light on the Latin orality that Berceo expected his audience to possess or be familiar with, but also considers how this evidence might relate to the efforts of ecclesiastical reformers as well as the experiences of pilgrims on the road to Santiago.

Este estudio examina frases latinas que se insertan a lo largo de los Milagros de Nuestra Señora, y funcionan en conjunto con fórmulas vernáculas que los críticos a menudo han identificado como ejemplos de oralidad. Mi investigación se aprovecha de aproximaciones a la cultura medieval como la de John Miles Foley y Peter Ramey que entienden la oralidad y el alfabetismo como categorías que son simultáneas en lugar de contrarias. En algunos casos, concluyo que las interjecciones latinas de Berceo son elípticas, en la medida en que palabras y frases que faltan en los fragmentos insertados parecen ser significantes en contextos vernáculos. Sin embargo, en otros casos estas inserciones se recontextualizan completamente, y pueden llegar a tener sentidos muy distintos y aún paradójicas en sus nuevos marcos. De esta manera, este ensayo no sólo arroja luz sobre la oralidad latina que Berceo esperaba que su público tuviera o encontrara familiar, sino también considera cómo esta evidencia se puede relacionar con los esfuerzos de reformadores eclesiásticos además de las experiencias de peregrinos en el camino de Santiago.

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Works cited

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Ong, Walter, 1984. ‘Orality, Literacy, and Medieval Textualization’, New Literary History, 16.1: 1–12. Google Scholar

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Thurston, Herbert, 1910. ‘Hail Mary’, in The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company), VII, pp. 110–12. Google Scholar

Voragine, Jacobus, 2012. The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints. Rev. ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Google Scholar

Weiss, Julian, 2006. The ‘Mester de Clerecía’: Intellectuals and Ideologies in Thirteenth-Century Castile (Woodbridge: Tamesis). Google Scholar

Wright, Roger, 2010. ‘Bilingualism and Diglossia in Medieval Iberia (350–1350)’, in A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula, Vol. 1, ed. Fernando Cabo Aseguinolaza, Anxo Abuín González and César Domínguez (Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins), pp. 333–50. Google Scholar

Ziolkowski, 1991. ‘Cultural Diglossia and the Nature of Medieval Latin Literature’, in The Ballad and Oral Literature, ed. Joseph Harris (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), pp. 193–213. Google Scholar

Zumthor, Paul, 1994. ‘Poésie et vocalité au Moyen Age’, Cahiers de Littérature Orale, 36: 23–34. Google Scholar

Ancos, Pablo, 2008. ‘The Primary Audience and Contexts of Reception of Thirteenth-Century Castilian cuaderna vía Poetry’, in Medieval Iberia: Changing Societies and Cultures in Contact and Transition, ed. Ivy A. Corfis and Ray Harris-Northall (Woodbridge: Tamesis), pp. 120–35. Google Scholar

Bamford, Heather, 2018. Cultures of the Fragment: Uses of the Iberian Manuscript, 1100–1600 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press). Google Scholar

Barrau, Julie, 2011. ‘Did Medieval Monks Actually Speak Latin?’, in Understanding Monastic Practices of Oral Communication (Western Europe, Tenth–Thirteenth Centuries), ed. S. Vanderputten (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols), pp. 293–317. Google Scholar

Berceo, Gonzalo de, 1992. Del sacrificio de la misa, ed. Pedro M. Cátedra, in Gonzalo de Berceo, Obra completa, ed. Isabel Uría (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe). Google Scholar

Berceo, Gonzalo de, 1996. Milagros de Nuestra Señora (Madrid: Cátedra). Google Scholar

Bible, Parallel Vulgate Latin and Douay-Rheims, n. d. Available at: >www.latinvulgate.com/> [accessed 21 October 2019]. Google Scholar

Boreland, Helen, 1983. ‘Typology in Berceo’s Milagros: the “Judïezno” and the “Abadesa preñada”’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 60.1: 15–29. Google Scholar

Burke, James F., 1998. ‘Carnival and May: The Milagros of Berceo’, in Desire Against the Law: The Juxtaposition of Contraries in Early Medieval Spanish Literature (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press), pp. 117–42. Google Scholar

Cantus Index 2012. Online Catalogue for Mass and Office Chants. Available at: >http://cantusindex.org/id/601925a> [accessed 21 October 2019]. Google Scholar

Carruthers, Mary, 2008. Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Literature. 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Google Scholar

Chinca, Mark, and Christopher Young, 2005. ‘Orality and Literacy in the Middle Ages: A Conjunction and its Consequences’, in Essays on a Conjuction and its Consequences in Honour of D. H. Green (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols), pp. 1–15. Google Scholar

Comestor, Petrus, 1855. Historia Libri Genesis, in Patrologiae cursus completus 198, by Jaques Paul Migne (Paris: J. P. Migne). Google Scholar

Creager, Nuri, 2010. ‘The Anxiety of Clerical Celibacy: From Guibert of Nogent’s “De quodam Galiciae peregrino a diabolo decepto” to Gonzalo de Berceo’s “El romero engañado por el diablo”’, La Corónica, 38.2: 43–69. Google Scholar

Dutton, Brian, 1967. ‘Berceo’s Milagros de Nuestra Señora and the Virgin of Yuso’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 44: 81–87. Google Scholar

Foley, John Miles, and Peter Ramey, 2016. ‘Oral Theory and Medieval Literature’, in Medieval Oral Literature, ed. Karl Reichl (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter), pp. 71–102. Google Scholar

Fortescue, Adrian, 1910. ‘Ite Missa Est’, in The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company), VIII, pp. 253–54. Google Scholar

Gerli, E. Michael, 1992. ‘Poet and Pilgrim: Discourse, Language, Imagery, and Audience in Berceo’s Milagros de Nuestra Señora’, in Hispanic Medieval Studies in Honor of Samuel G. Armistead, ed. E. Michael Gerli and Harvey L. Sharrer (Madison, WI: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies), pp. 139–51. Google Scholar

Gerli, E. Michael, 1996. ‘Introducción’, in Milagros de Nuestra Señora (Cátedra: Madrid). Google Scholar

Grier, James, 2002. The Musical World of a Medieval Monk: Adémar de Chabannes in Eleventh-Century Aquitaine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Google Scholar

Guéranger, Prosper, 1903. The Liturgical Year: The Time after Pentecost (London: Burns and Oats), V–VI. Google Scholar

Harwood, Britton J., 1990. ‘Dame Study and the Place of Orality in Piers Plowman’, English Literary History, 57.1: 1–17. Google Scholar

Henry, Hugh, 1912. ‘Salve Regina’, in The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company), XIII, pp. 409–10. Google Scholar

Lappin, Anthony, 2008. Gonzalo de Berceo: The Poet and His Verses (Woodbridge: Tamesis). Google Scholar

Lappin, Anthony, 2015. ‘Fire and the Statue: An Insight into the Miracles of the Virgin’, unpublished lecture, ‘The Cleric’s Craft: Crossroads of Medieval Spanish Literature and Modern Critique’, University of Texas, El Paso, 22 October, 1–48. Google Scholar

Matter, E. Ann, 1990. The Voice of My Beloved the ‘Song of Songs’ in Western Medieval Christianity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania). Google Scholar

Mount, Richard Terry, and Annette Grant Cash (ed. and trans.), 1997. Gonzalo de Berceo, Miracles of Our Lady (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press). Google Scholar

Myers, W. Miles (ed.), 1886. The Book of Common Prayer (London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden and Welsh). Google Scholar

Ong, Walter, 1984. ‘Orality, Literacy, and Medieval Textualization’, New Literary History, 16.1: 1–12. Google Scholar

Rundle Charles, Elizabeth, 1897. ‘Te Deum Laudamus’, in Christian Life in Song (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge). Google Scholar

Sánchez Jiménez, Antonio, 2001. ‘Milagros fronterizos: ignorancia y libertinaje clericales y el público de los Milagros de Nuestra Señora’, Neophilologus, 85.4: 535–53. Google Scholar

Steinbacher, Lisa, 2015. Collection of Catholic Prayers (Chicago, IL: Eternity). Google Scholar

Timmons, Patricia, and Robert Boenig (eds), 2012. Gonzalo de Berceo and the Latin ‘Miracles of the Virgin’ (Burlington, VT: Ashgate). Google Scholar

Thurston, Herbert, 1910. ‘Hail Mary’, in The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company), VII, pp. 110–12. Google Scholar

Voragine, Jacobus, 2012. The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints. Rev. ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Google Scholar

Weiss, Julian, 2006. The ‘Mester de Clerecía’: Intellectuals and Ideologies in Thirteenth-Century Castile (Woodbridge: Tamesis). Google Scholar

Wright, Roger, 2010. ‘Bilingualism and Diglossia in Medieval Iberia (350–1350)’, in A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula, Vol. 1, ed. Fernando Cabo Aseguinolaza, Anxo Abuín González and César Domínguez (Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins), pp. 333–50. Google Scholar

Ziolkowski, 1991. ‘Cultural Diglossia and the Nature of Medieval Latin Literature’, in The Ballad and Oral Literature, ed. Joseph Harris (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), pp. 193–213. Google Scholar

Zumthor, Paul, 1994. ‘Poésie et vocalité au Moyen Age’, Cahiers de Littérature Orale, 36: 23–34. Google Scholar

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Author details

Giles, Ryan