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Cenodoxus in Latin[edit]

The article "Cenodoxus in Latin" should not be merged into the parent article "Cenodoxus" even though one is completely in English and the other is partly in Latin and partly in English. For one thing, the glosses in the latter are in English, and, where suitable, glosses in other languages ought to be permitted.

Interested readers should not have to click their way over to a different language area just because sentences in different languages might exist in the same article.

The companion article "Cenodoxus in Latin" is not a strict copy of an original source document because it has chapter headings in English, and original English commentary occurs at regular intervals, something not seen anywhere else than here at Wikipedia. The original play had no English in it, and had but a minimal description of what was going on. Descriptions of scenery, or of props, or wardrobe, or of the attitudes or bearings of the characters, or of intricate stage directions, were all lacking in the original. Any or all of the commentary - editorial surplusage, in effect - ought to be freely editable by anyone feeling the need to improve upon it. Similarly, readers will benefit from having a mix of languages in the very same article. For instance, if someone adds some French sentences here and there, assuming they are reasonably relevant, the value of the article is correspondingly increased, not diminished.

"Cenodoxus in Latin" could end up with a list of words that students of Latin may wish to learn. This could make it a study aid that is useful for students of Classical Latin. As more and more classrooms become "paperless" in favor of electronic communication, the existence of a more scholarly examination of "Cenodoxus in Latin" becomes more desirable.

Unlike the article "Cenodoxus" - an article that's almost entirely in English - the companion article "Cenodoxus in Latin" is predominantly in Latin. Locating "Cenodoxus in Latin" into a Latin language area over at Wiki-Sources is a good compromise if the English glosses and headings can be preserved somehow.

If "Cenodoxus in Latin" is moved to Wiki-Source, is it possible to preserve the English glosses and commentary? <unsigned>.

Please sigh your posts. Please read carefully the policy wikipedia:no original research. Wikipedia is not a place for essays or for detailed literary analyses of works. If someone had already analyzed the work, this analysis may be presented here, but with clear attribution and with keeping wikipedia:Copyrights policy in mind. Thank you. mikka (t) 18:08, 6 October 2005 (UTC).

"The Legend dates back to the 11th Century."[edit]

No it does not. The legend is set in the lifetime of Bruno; it does not "date back to the 11th Century". Missing this essential, one loses the point of the legend, as an insistently presented exemplum—a moral anecdote, brief or extended, real or fictitious, used to illustrate a point— of the doctrine of Justification by Faith alone sola fides, a point of doctrine that was urgently debated between Protestants and Catholics during the 16th century. This sermonizing article would benefit from a dash of cultural history. --Wetman 13:13, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Jacob Bidermann may have been a creative genius, but originality was not necessarily one of his virtues. Like the latecomer Goethe, he took earlier literary sources and worked them together in such a way as to have them come out and appear original. Goethe, for instance, took the idea of making a Pact with the Devil - already a popular theme, dramatized somewhat earlier, for instance, in a play of the 1580s Theophilus - and fashioned it into a nearly endless, longwinded, plodding epic, Faust. Bidermann appears to have done the same thing with materials commonly available in the year 1600. Unfortunately, those materials - if they existed - are not preserved. The likelihood of their existence can be implied, however, by the other literary works dealing with a nearly identical theme - a tragic hero or anti-hero, that meets up with the Devil and has a row or two with him, flying fists and words, and all. (At least in the 20th century, it is hard to imagine someone growing up not exposed to these kinds of stories as a child, where a hero does battle with the Devil.) As a writer, sure, Bidermann places Cenodoxus in the 11th century. But I don't think he was original enough to have dreamed up the idea by himself.

We would know that the purported legend was among "materials commonly available", because there would be some passing reference to Cenodoxus in other surviving materials before Biderman's sacred drama. Some brief mention in a vita of St. Bruno especially. Some representation of the "legend" in ms illumination or sculpture. Is there anything at all? There is nothing about Biderman's product that suggests a written source. Personal conflict with the Devil is a very general Christian theme, which shouldn't obscure the particularity of Cenodoxus' failure to be saved by his works— and his scientia or doxus, for the implicit "moral" is as anti-intellectual as as it is theological, don't we all agree?. --Wetman 07:34, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

The play wasn't about sola fide. It was about pride, and how the good works weren't good because they were done vainly. There is no implication that good works mean nothing. Perhaps Cenodoxus did good works without faith in the story, and because of that his good works weren't good. That still doen't mean faith without action is good either. I do not believe the play was about sola fide. The play may condemn faithless good works, but still that does not mean that it condones faith alone. (talk) 20:14, 1 November 2011 (UTC)


What does the very choice of a name for this imaginary "doctor of Paris" tell the alert hearer of his expected role in the brief moral anecdote? in other words, what did Coenodoxus connote to hearers whose Greek might be limited but knew the Greek of "coenobite" and "orthodoxy"? What does the symbolic name tell of of the alleged historicity of the anecdote? What is the parallel with Saint Stephen protomartyr, whose name also simply denotes his role? --Wetman 13:21, 6 October 2005 (UTC)--Wetman

Even as the audience views the play for the first time, first-timers would have been informed at the outset that the Greek word for "vainglory" is coenadoxia. Maybe they were informed that it was both a comedy and a tragedy. The contributor responsible for the Cenodoxus article refrains from telling us this. It may not be self-evident to us what his name means, but would it have been self-evident to the people coming to see the play? Would they have thought the play was nothing but another take on a braggart who is given some kind of a comeuppance at the hands of devils from Hell?

The passage in which Cenodoxus' name is thus explained to first-timers should be quoted, translated and remarked upon. The usual Greek for "vainglory" is hubris; on the contrary, coenadoxia, glossed as "uana gloria", is among the highly unusual words in Altus Prosator, which Biderman's contemporaries attributed to Saint Columba, as I find by Googling Coenadoxia. Altus Prosator is reckoned the greatest of the early medieval Hiberno-Latin hymns— see Jane Stevenson, "Altus Prosator" at note 169 —an unexpected source, if it is such, for Biderman's naming of his "doctor of Paris", however, no? --Wetman 08:14, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

The Speaking Corpse[edit]

I have made Speaking corpse a redirect here. The Speaking Corpse is a trope that was well established in Hellenistic and Roman fictions and passed into hagiographic traditions. Where a corpse did not speak outright, it often gave unmistakable signs, bleeding in the presence of its murderer for instance, or refusing to decay. Cenodoxus might be the most outstanding example, but the trope needs to be discussed here, even if it eventually gets its own "Main article". Has anyone read Jean-Claude Schmitt, Les Revenants: les vivants et les morts dans la société médiévale (Gallimard, 1994)? I haven't seen it, but there's your context, assessed by an outstanding historian. --Wetman 14:09, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Another (perhaps more famous) instance of a speaking corpse is given in the Metamorphoses of Apulejus when the slain man is compelled to speak, and identify his killer.

Stories about Speaking Skulls or Speaking Skeletons, on the other hand, appear to have been employed to great rhetorical effect in various documents in Arabic dating back to times prior to the 12th century. For instance, The Muslim Jesus, by Tarif Khalidi, ISBN 0-674-00477-9 (Harvard University Press, 2001) contains, among others, stories about Jesus encountering a skull or a skeleton, and conversing with it. Here are a couple of short passages from that work. The first, on page 189, constitutes a warning about the dangers of worldly glory, and the second constitutes a warning that achieving solitude would have been preferable to achieving glory:

While on his travels, Jesus passed by a rotting skull. He commanded it to speak. The skull said, "Spirit of God, my name is Balwan ibn Hafs, king of Yemen. I lived a thousand years, begat a thousand sons, deflowered a thousand virgins, routed a thousand armies, killed a thousand tyrants, and conquered a thousand cities. Let him who hears my tale not be tempted by the world, for it was like nothing so much as the dream of a sleeper." Jesus wept. Page 189 (Attributed to the historian Ibn Abi Randaqa al-Turtushi (died circa 1126 CE), and attested to or compiled in various documents in Arabic, including Siraj al-Muluk, p. 82, and al-Mustatraf, 2:264, with a suggestion that we compare page 423 of Asin's works, an analysis of no. 102).
It is related that Jesus passed by a skull, which he kicked with his foot and addressed with the words, "Speak, by God's leave!" The skull answered, "Spirit of God, I am the king of such-and-such time. As I was sitting on my throne, with the crown on my head and surrounded by my soldiers and courtiers, the angel of death appeared before me. All of my limbs fell away from me one by one, and then my spirit came out to him. Would that all those crowds had been replaced with solitude! Would that all that joy had been replaced with gloom! Page 181 Attributed to the historian Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (died 1111 CE) in his work Ihya Ulum al-Din with reference to various other, similarly related items.

Needs More Research[edit]

In light of the policies stated in wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:verifiability, it might appear that the works currently available for reference, being foreign language documents resistant to translation, are for that same reason inappropriate for popular consumption. More sources are necessary, and additional independent authorities should be cited.

Although book reviews, like movie reviews, are inherently original works, they seem to be governed by different standards than those in place here. Claiming to rehash inscrutable literary sources, or otherwise put a new spin on them, makes the article as a whole hard to verify.

While technically none of the glosses or commentaries, nor any of the Latin text in Cenodoxus in Latin taken together or apart constitute a copyright violation, there does seem to be a lack of neutrality in the article overall, and a template along those lines should be added, warning the reader as to that.

Proto edit[edit]

Overall, a real improvement. I think some of the section about Faust could be retained, however--that would seem to be the most notable thing about Cenodoxus, and to delete it entirely seems excessive. Nareek 15:28, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Reading the following is disconcerting, if the article concerns Biderman's Cenodoxus: "(Jacob Bidermann's poetic account in Latin verse, following a perfect iambic meter, constitutes a slight departure from the account below.)" Why? And why does the text assert "It is based on a legend from the 11th century." No 11th century source is being obliquely invoked here, I surmise; this is simply a naive confusion of the date of the play's persona based on Bruno of Cologne, with the historical individual living in the eleventh century. Cutting out the Faust connection is not called for: I've restored it right in the opening: this is the primary significance of Cenodoxus in the larger scheme of the history of culture. --Wetman 16:38, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Is Cenodoxus not fictional then? (Bruno)[edit]

In the section titled "Bruno" it says that Bruno was a friend of Cenodoxus's. I became confused because reading the article I thought Cenodoxus was only the name of a play and of a fictional character in that play. But the Carthusians order of monks that St. Bruno founded is real as it seems according to the Carthusians article, and so is St. Bruno himself (Bruno of Cologne). 16:48, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

He's fictional. I did find a book that explains the connection on Google Books. "The New Science and Jesuit Science: Seventeenth Century Perspectives" by Mordechai Feingold. -- (talk) 19:54, 27 April 2012 (UTC)