Cross and Culture in Anglo-Norman England

August 2016
12 colour, 61 black and white illustrations
360 pages
24x17 cm
Bristol Studies in Medieval Cultures
ISBN: 9781783271269
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC ART015030, ART035000, HIS037010

Cross and Culture in Anglo-Norman England

Theology, Imagery, Devotion

John Munns

An examination of the passion and crucifixion of Christ as depicted in the visual and religious culture of Anglo-Norman England.
The twelfth century has long been recognised as a period of unusual vibrancy and importance, witnessing seminal changes in the inter-related spheres of theology, devotional practice, and iconography, especially with regard to the cross and the crucifixion of Christ. However, the visual arts of the period have been somewhat neglected, scholarly activity tending to concentrate on its textual and intellectual heritage.
This book explores this extraordinarily rich and vibrant visual and religious culture, offering new and exciting insights into its significance, and studying the dynamic relationships between ideas and images in England between 1066 and the first decades of the thirteenth century. In addition to providing the first extensive survey of surviving Passion imagery from the period, it explores those images' contexts: intellectual, cultural, religious, and art-historical. It thus not only enhances our understanding of the place of the cross in Anglo-Norman culture; it also demonstrates how new image theories and patterns of agency shaped the life of the later medieval church.

John Munns is a Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Theology of the Cross, c. 1066-c. 1170
St Anselm, Affect, and the Site of Salvation
The Cross, the Trinity, and the Sacrifice of the Mass
The Art of Imitation
Part II: The Image of the Cross
In ecclesio media: The Public Image
Ecce homo: Liturgy and Exposition
Narrative and Contemplation in Manuscript Illumination
Part III: The Way of the Cross, c. 1170-c. 1215
Pilgrimage and Relics: Proximity to the Holy
Cross, Councils, and Crusade


[Munns] demonstrates clearly the interdependence of theology, artistic production, devotion, philosophy, individual agency, and religious institutions that characterize the development of human thought. In doing so, he also demonstrates his own magisterial grasp of them. SPECULUM

Beautifully produced .. Munns has complied a remarkably comprehensive overview of the centrality of the Cross in English society. [His] lavishly illustrated study opens a window onto the rich and vibrant visual culture of post-Conquest England, shedding new light on contemporary expressions of devotion and of individual spiritual practices. ART AND CHRISTIANITY

Both a good read and an original contribution to its complex subject. CHURCH TIMES

[A] truly impressive interdisciplinary study of a period of art history that has long merited more scholarly attention. . . . Cross and Culture in Anglo-Norman England is a monumental work of scholarship that will long be a primary point of reference for medievalists in a variety of fields. CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW

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