A New Theory Concerning the Origin of the Miracle Play

9780217153461: A New Theory Concerning the Origin of the Miracle Play

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.1914 Excerpt: ... CHAPTER IV. St. Nicholas And His Miracle Plays The purpose of this chapter is to show that there is an essential and causal relation between the features of mediaeval life just discussed and the origin of the St. Nicholas Miracle Play. As a preface to this study I review briefly the St. Nicholas legend. According to it, St. Nicholas was bishop of Myra, Asia Minor, during the first half of the fourth century. During his life he was especially noted as a benefactor of the people. As an instance of this, one of his first acts after he had received his inheritance was the bestowal of dowries upon three sisters in the manner represented in our "dowry" drama, in order to save their virtue. After his death1 and burial at Myra, he continued his role of benefactor through his appearance to those praying to him, and through the miraculous power of healing oil which continually flowed from his tomb.2 A historical fact of importance to add here is that in 1087 Italian merchants stole his body from Myra and brought it to Bari, Italy.2 THE CULT OF ST. NICHOLAS Relative to his cult in Western Europe the following table will show his principal loci sancti in that part of the country up to the period of the appearance of his plays. 1 The day of his death, which, of course, fixes that of his feast day in the calendar, was December 6. 'Since the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists is completed only through the opening days of November, that work is of no assistance to one for the study of the St. Nicholas legends. The sources which I have employed for the study of the legends, of his cult, and of the honoring accorded to him on his feast day are principally the following: Analecta Bollandiana (1882 ff.) Vol. I-XXXI; Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina (Bruxelles, 1899), Vol. I--II...

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