Mary between God and the devil: Jurisprudence, theology and satire in Bartolo of Sassoferrato's "Processus Sathane"
AuthorTaylor, Scott Lynn
AdvisorBernstein, Alan E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation analyzes the manuscripts and incunabula of the Processus Sathane, a fourteenth-century text frequently attributed to the famed Italian jurist, Bartolo of Sassoferrato, which portrays Mary as humanity's advocate before the court of Christ, defending humankind against Satan's lawsuit to recover possession of the human species. It concludes that the Urtext is not the version most popular in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but an older version, which dates to the first half of the fourteenth century and was itself translated into low-Norman verse in the mid-fourteenth century; and that the text usually attributed to Bartolo is a fifteenth-century redaction. This work then examines why the original Processus Sathane may have been revised, examining both precursors and progeny of the text to demonstrate how its imagery is part of a larger tendency for metaphor to reify, by charting the transposition of this trope from theological type to legal exemplar to popular exempla. In particular, this dissertation reviews the theological background pertinent to the use of Satan's suit as a vehicle for discussing divine justice and mercy in the redemption, and discusses two direct predecessors of the Processus Sathane. It then provides an extended precis of the Processus Sathane itself, analyzing how the image of Satan's suit, reappropriated by the legal profession, serves the classroom as a sample of courtroom technique; but concludes that the Processus, to make legal sense, necessarily presupposes that humanity is sui juris and the possession neither of Satan nor Christ. It proceeds to locate the text in the history of European drama and comic literature, advancing reasons for the popularity outside theological and legal circles of the text and Mary's breast-baring forensic antics. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of why the Processus and its progeny ultimately lost popularity or were suppressed; and why the vivid imagery was discarded, though like metaphor generally, it survived through reappropriation in new guises.
Degree ProgramGraduate College