Book Series Ritus et Artes, vol. 2


Medieval Rituals, the Arts, and the Concept of Creation

Sven Rune Havsteen, Nils Holger Petersen, Heinrich W. Schwab, Eyolf Østrem (eds)

  • Pages: 269 p.
  • Size:160 x 240 mm
  • Illustrations:14 b/w, 2 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2007

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52295-1
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53833-4
  • E-book
  • Available

The essays in this volume, by scholars across a range of disciplines, explore the historical construction of and changes to the concept and experience of creation.


"This book is very rich in suggestions and it is surely a very precious instrument to approach the question about the idea of creation and its conceptual implications in the different fields of knowledge." (A. Doninelli Parisoli, in: The Medieval Review, 08.09.17)


The meaning of the noun 'creation', and the verb 'to create', range from the traditional theological idea of God creating ex nihilo to a more recent sense of the process of artistic conception. This collection of thirteen essays, written by scholars of music, literature, the visual arts, and theology, explores the complicated relationship between medieval rituals and theology, and the development of an idea of human artistic creation, which came to the fore in the sixteenth century.

The volume concentrates on the period from the Carolingians to the Counter-Reformation but also includes some twentieth-century musicians. Each essay is dedicated to a particular topic concerned with ritual or artistic beginnings, inventions, harmony and disharmony, as well as representations or celebrations of creation. Central themes include the interplay of the ideas of God as creator, of God acting and recreating in medieval liturgy, of God as artist – the deus artifex of the Pythagorean cosmology, which was occasionally referred to as recently as the early nineteenth century -  and, finally, of the homo creator, a concept in which man reflected (and eventually replaced) God in his artistic creativity.

This book therefore features new, significant, individual contributions from a range of scholarly disciplines, but, taken as a whole, it also constitutes a complex interdisciplinary study, with large-scale historical constructions.