Memoria, meditatio, and the margins : marginalia as loci of ethical cultivation in the Macclesfield Psalter

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Zepeda, Christine James

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In this paper, I argue that the marginal hybrids in the Macclesfield Psalter functioned as loci of ethical cultivation. The marginal hybrids, I contend, functioned on three levels. On the practical level, they served as aides-mémoire, playing a critical role in the overall visual system of the manuscript and its design in fulfillment of the basic principles of medieval mnemotechnique. On the spiritual level, they served as sites for and aids to meditatio, the second step in the process of lectio divina. As facilitators of meditatio, the marginal hybrids assisted the reader in his quest to discover the deeper significance of the Scriptures and, by so doing, to strive for what French scholar Jacques Hourlier called connaturalness with God. Because of their roles in both memorization and meditation, the marginal hybrids also operated on an ethical level as loci and machinae of moral cultivation. They were the means by which the reader domesticated the text in his mind and heart and confronted his inner self in order to reshape himself in the image of God.



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