Thomas Aquinas and the Rehabilitation of the Image: A Context for the Development of Medieval Drama

  • Theodore K. Lerud
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Rememoratijf or mynding signes” (Pecock’s words)1 were viewed by Reginald Pecock and his contemporaries as aids to the frail memory—aids perhaps even more essential than “devoute writings.” As such, fourteenth- and fifteenth-century defenses of both images and drama frequently turn on the Aristotelian notion of the necessity of sensibilia, especially “seable signer,”2 to the process of understanding (and devotion). Plays, especially the Corpus Christi plays of Christ’s Passion, were viewed as “quick images” or “quick books” uniquely able to jog the mind to spiritual understanding.


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  1. 3.
    For further discussion of the manuscript context of the “tretise,” see “tretise,” ed. Davidson, p. 1, and Rosemary Woolf, The English Mystery Plays (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1972), p. 85.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    David Knowles, “The Historical Context of the Philosophical Works of St. Thomas Aquinas,” in Aquinas: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Anthony Kenny (Garden City, NY: Doubleday/Anchor Books, 1969), p. 23.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    James A. Weisheipl, Friar Thomas D’Aquino (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974), p. 176.Google Scholar
  4. 24.
    Eugene Vance, “The Apple as Feather: Toward a Poetics of Dialogue in Early French Medieval Theater,” Mervelous Signals: Poetics and Sign Theory in the Middle Ages (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), p. 184.Google Scholar

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© Theodore K. Lerud 2008

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  • Theodore K. Lerud

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