Ecclesia and synagoga are familiar to many as part of the facade decoration of some of Europe's finest cathedrals. This representation that captures a visual way of thinking about the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, one without a fixed textual original. This lecture will explore the challenging history of this visual arrangement: from the earliest occurrences known from mid-ninth century Carolingian art for the altar, to the monumental displays of Gothic sculpture, and beyond to a wholly new arrangement in a variety of late medieval media.
Miri Rubin will present new and evolving research, and hopes to elicit questions and suggestions on the visual expression of social relations, and on the nature of representation itself.
Miri Rubin is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History, Queen Mary University of London. She is a historian of Europe with wide interests whose research has ranged across the period 1100-1600. She has introduced new approaches to the study of social relations in the predominantly religious cultures of medieval Europe: the message of Christian charity as practised in medieval communities; the meanings of the arch-sacrament, the Eucharist; and the development of new narratives about Jews, with their public dramatic performances. In addition to her extensive teaching activities, she has acted as Councillor of the Royal Historical Society and of the Medieval Academy of America. She is also Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute, University of Southampton, and Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. Her more recent publications include Emotion and Devotion. The Meaning of Mary in Medieval Religious Cultures (CEU Press, 2009); Mother of God. A History of the Virgin Mary (Alan Lane, 2009); A Very Short Introduction to the Middle Ages (Oxford University Press, 2014); and she translated and edited Thomas of Monmouth, The Life and Passion of William of Norwich (Penguin, 2014).