Restoration, Repentance, and Reformation: the Sermon's Higher Purpose in the Legend of Theophilus

Update item information
Publication Type honors thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department World Languages and Culture
Faculty Mentor Jerry Root
Creator Fishburn, Laura
Title Restoration, Repentance, and Reformation: the Sermon's Higher Purpose in the Legend of Theophilus
Date 2018
Description "Restoration, Repentance, and Reformation: The Sermon's Higher Purpose in the Legend of Theophilus" seeks to analyze the function of a bishop's sermon at the end of the medieval myth of a man named Theophilus, who lives in France. Theophilus, a good man, commits a grave error and makes a deal with the devil; the legend follows his actions as he repents and is eventually welcomed back into the Christian fold. Though simple, this story struck a chord with its Christian audiences and inspired a plethora of creative works in the decades that followed its inception, from plays to manuscripts to sculpture. Unsurprisingly, these versions tend to follow a similar sequence of events, and they almost all conclude with a sermon given by Theophilus's bishop. What I determine in the analysis that follows is the exact function of this sermon: what purpose does it symbolize, and how is this purpose still represented in works devoid of words? We will find that the sermon serves to complete the religious restoration of Theophilus through putting his story into a communal context, re-establishing him within his Christian community. In various visual versions of the legend, the artists portray this step of his path to salvation through interactions with the bishop - the symbolic intermediary between Theophilus on earth and the celestial beings in heaven. This answer establishes a more complete definition of repentance than one might understand after a first encounter with some of the works we will discuss, but through closer analysis, we are able to better understand the role of the institutional hierarchy in his story, and therefore help display religious mindset of the people during this time.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Laura Fishburn
Format Medium application/pdf
Permissions Reference URL
ARK ark:/87278/s6gf680x
Setname ir_htoa
Date Created 2020-05-28
Date Modified 2020-06-01
ID 1563170
Reference URL
Back to Search Results