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Bernward and Eve at Hildesheim
Author(s): Adam S.Cohen and Anne Derbes
Source: Gesta, Vol.40, No.1 (2001), pp.19-38
Published by: on behalf of the University of Chicago Press International Center of Medieval Art
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This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions Bernward and Eve at Hildesheim*
The College of William & Mary
Hood College
The bronze doors of Hildesheim (ca.1007-1015), commis- sioned by Bishop Bernward, are famous for their sophisticated typological program, which conveys a message about the Fall of humanity and the opposition of Eve and Mary.Divergences from the door's pictorial models indicate that the program at Hildesheim innovatively represents Eve as a sexually provoc- ative woman.Although grounded in patristic theology, Bern- ward's presentation reflects contemporary clerical concerns.At the time the doors were executed, the bishop was locked in a
struggle with Sophia, abbess of Gandersheim.Bernward's biog- raphers describe her as malevolent and dissolute; the doors themselves constitute a subtle polemical argument against the
dangers posed by seductive and insolent women.
The bronze doors in the cathedral at Hildesheim are well
known to students of early medieval art (Fig.1).Commissioned
by Bishop Bernward, they are generally thought to have been
intended for the monastery of St.Michael's, founded by Bern-
ward himself.An inscription on the doors states that Bernward
had them made "for the fagade of the temple of the angels" and gives a date of 1015.They are assumed to have been in
place when Bernward consecrated the crypt in 1015 and were
probably begun sometime after 1007.1 The fame of the doors
derives in part from the technological feat of casting each in
a single piece with narrative panels in relief; they are the first
historiated bronze doors so cast since antiquity.The narra-
tive scenes, sixteen in all, form a sophisticated typological se-
quence, juxtaposing Genesis scenes on the left wing with New
Testament scenes on the right to convey a message primarily about the Fall and Redemption of humanity, with an emphasis on the opposition between Eve and Mary.2
The complex typology of the program is surely the work
of a scholarly cleric, and arguably Bernward himself was
closely involved with the doors' design and production.Much
about the doors can be explained with reference to works that
he almost certainly encountered in his travels.Juxtaposed narratives of the Old and New Testaments appear in such early
examples as the wooden doors of Sta.Sabina in Rome, which
Bernward visited several times.Moreover, he would have been
familiar with the undecorated bronze doors at Charlemagne's Palatine Chapel in Aachen and at Archbishop Willigis's cathe-
dral in Mainz, completed by 1009.3 Bernward's doors combine
the format of the Early Christian type with the medium of the
Carolingian and Ottonian examples.
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FIGURE 1.Hildesheim, Dom, Bronze Doors (photo: Marburg/Art Resource,
GESTA XL/1 @ The International Center of Medieval Art 2001 19
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FIGURE 2.Moutier-Grandval Bible, London, British Library, Add.MS 10546, fol.5v, Genesis frontispiece (photo: British Library).
Bernward could play a greater role than the usual eccle-
siastical patron, for he himself was well trained in the arts.As
described in his vita, Bernward excelled in the "mechanical
arts," including painting and metalwork: "Truly in writing he
especially exerted himself, and he practiced the art of painting
with precision, and he distinguished himself remarkably in the
science of metalwork and the whole art of building..."4 An
inscription on the cover of a deluxe gospel book that Bernward
presented to St.Michael's in 1015 refers to the work as "made
through the skill of Bishop Bernward," attesting to his direct
involvement with artistic production.Given this expertise, it
seems likely that Bernward would have offered extensive di-
rection to the craftsmen responsible for the doors and may
even have provided them with designs for the scenes to be
Best known of all the narratives at Hildesheim are the
scenes from the opening chapters of Genesis.These narratives
are particularly celebrated for their vivid characterizations of
sacred drama; the Temptation and Fall (Fig.7) and the Denial
of Blame (Fig.9) are frequently reproduced as models of the
expressive power of Ottonian images.Despite their familiarity,
the Genesis scenes are startling in ways that previous scholar-
ship has overlooked.We will argue that they present a distinc-
tive interpretation of the Fall as a sexually charged encounter,
with the locus of blame squarely placed on Eve.Theologians
had, of course, long ascribed the Fall to Eve's sexuality, and
the eroticized Eve would become a topos in later medieval art,
as in the lintel at Autun, or the mosaics at San Marco.7 But de-
spite the early texts and the later visual tradition, there are few
analogues in the visual imagery of early medieval Europe for
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FIGURE 3.San Paolo Bible, S.Paolo fuori le mura, fol.8v, Genesis frontispiece (photo: H.Kessler).
this interpretation of the Fall: Eve is far more explicitly defined
as temptress in the Hildesheim doors than in the bibles from
Tours that are universally accepted as their model.Finally, we
will consider possible contexts for understanding the newly las-
civious Eve at Hildesheim, arguing that central issues and
events in the life of Bishop Bernward himself provide a frame
for interpreting these singular images and support the reading
we propose here.
Tours and Hildesheim: Eroticizing Eve
It has long been recognized that the primary model for
the Genesis scenes of the Hildesheim doors was a ninth-
century Carolingian bible from the scriptorium of Tours, which
produced a number of illustrated full bibles.8 Surviving Gene-
sis frontispieces comprise those in the Moutier-Grandval Bible
(Fig.2; London, British Library, Add.MS 10546); the Bam-
berg Bible (Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Msc.Bibl.1); and the
First Bible of Charles the Bald (Paris, Bibliothbque nationale,
MS Lat.1, also called the Vivian Bible).An important wit-
ness to the tradition is the related frontispiece that appears in
a fourth Carolingian work, the Bible of San Paolo fuori le
mura in Rome (Fig.3), which was itself based on a Touronian
bible.9 It is generally agreed that the Genesis scenes in the Tou-
ronian frontispieces were selected from and reflect early Chris-
tian pictures that were part of the so-called Cotton Genesis
The presence of a Touronian bible in eleventh-century
Hildesheim is confirmed by the text of the Bernward Bible, a
pandect copied after a Touronian exemplar." Carl Nordenfalk,
who made this important discovery, remarked on the strange
This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions fact that this Touronian bible, certainly illustrated, left no trace
in Hildesheim manuscript illumination itself, even as it pro- vided the pictorial model for the bronze doors.12 The rectan-
gular format of the scenes, the narrow strip of landscape on
which the drama unfolds, the trees that punctuate the narra-
tive, and a number of common iconographic details all estab-
lish the dependence of Bernward's imagery on an illustrated
Touronian manuscript.The narratives on the Hildesheim doors are not, however,
identical to those in any surviving Touronian manuscript.The
most obvious difference is the appearance of New Testament
scenes, absent from the Touronian bibles, and the direct jux-
taposition of the Old and New Testament imagery on the two
wings of the doors.13 Yet even where the Old Testament epi-
sodes on the doors match those of the Touronian models, a
comparison of the Ottonian and Carolingian pictures reveals
important differences.
The subject of the first panel (Fig.4) has long been a
matter of scholarly debate.The most common interpretations
include the Creation or Animation of Adam, the Enlivening
of Adam, and the Creation of Eve.14 In the center of the panel
God, represented as the Christ Logos,15 bends over a semi-
reclining nude figure whose arms are straight at its sides while
the legs are crossed at the ankle.Hovering at the top left of
the panel is an angel, and at the right, separated by a tree, is
a standing nude figure who looks toward the central action.
The semi-reclining figure, whose shoulder and upper arm are
being grasped by the Creator, finds its closest parallel in the
figure of Adam in the San Paolo Bible (Fig.3); in the Caro-
lingian manuscript, Adam leans against a small hillock, which
has been omitted in the bronze door.But if the semi-prostrate
figure in the Hildesheim panel is Adam, then the figure on the
right would also have to be Adam, since Eve was not yet
created: the second Adam would then be construed as con-
templating or worshiping his Creator in an elided version of
what was originally two scenes.16 But, as Soren Kaspersen has
rightly pointed out, such an interpretation would mean that
on the Hildesheim doors Adam is essentially represented view-
ing his own creation, a rendering of the scene without prece-
dent or any theological grounding.17 The same reasoning would
also preclude the suggestion that the image depicts the cre-
ation of Eve with the created Eve contemplating God.18 The
fact that no rib is being drawn from the side of the recumbent
figure further rules out the possibility that this is the Creation
of Eve, since this iconographic motif is typically a prominent
feature in the scene.
The most likely interpretation of the first panel of the
Hildesheim doors, then, is that the scene depicts not the cre-
ation but the formation of Eve, as described in Genesis 2:22:
"And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam
into a woman, and brought her to Adam." The Formation of
Eve as an episode distinct from her Creation appears not only
in the Touronian San Paolo Bible (Fig.3) but also in the mo-
saics of San Marco, which, copied in the thirteenth century
from the late fifth-century Cotton Genesis, confirm that the
scene was already present in the Early Christian model of the
Touronian cycles.19 In the Hildesheim panel, then, the central
action shows the Creator forming Eve in the presence of an
angel, while Adam witnesses the event with a gesture of accla-
mation or acceptance.20Although the image has occasionally been identified in the scholarly literature as the Formation of
Eve, this idea has not been universally accepted, nor have the
consequences for the program been fully recognized.21
By beginning with the Formation of Eve, the Hildesheim
doors departed from their Carolingian model.The extant Tou-
ronian frontispieces all begin with a scene representing a
moment in the story of the Creation of Adam.The absence of
this scene has implications for the reading of the door's first
two panels, which reveal a balanced harmony in both narrative
and composition.Following upon Eve's formation, the second
panel depicts the Introduction of Eve to Adam (Fig.5).Were
the first scene the Creation of Adam, then the Creation of Eve
would be entirely absent from the doors.Not only is that
scene one of the few included in all of the Touronian frontis-
pieces,22 but it more logically precedes the Introduction than
does the Creation of Adam.Finally, in both panels, God is on
the left, Eve in the center, and Adam on the right.The content
of the first two panels thus shifts the emphasis of the program
decidedly toward Eve and creates a tight narrative focus on
her that is sustained throughout the first six panels.
In the Introduction of Eve, Adam and Eve approach each
other with extended arms and open hands.This detail is not
found in the Touronian bibles or other members of the Cotton
Genesis recension and so appears to be a novel interpolation
by Bernward.The warmth of the scene would seem to be due
less to the Ottonian predilection for expressive gesture than
to a desire to portray the idyllic closeness of Adam and Eve
before the Fall, which is the subject of the next panel.The
meaning of the gesture is underscored by the trees that frame
the scene; perfectly symmetrical, they reflect the couple's pre-
lapsarian concord.
The difference between the Hildesheim panels and the
Touronian model is even more striking in the case of the
Temptation and Fall.In the Grandval Bible, for example, Eve
takes the apple from the serpent, and she and Adam then share
the forbidden fruit (Fig.6).As they eat, they stand inches
apart-literally toe to toe-and exchange glances, suggesting
joint responsibility for the decision to defy God.To further
underscore their shared purpose, little attempt is made to dis-
tinguish between the two.Adam and Eve are notably akin in
size and gesture; it is even difficult to perceive any anatomi-
cal differences.23 The other three Touronian bibles interpret
the Fall similarly, with Adam and Eve resembling each other
closely in size, gesture, and anatomy.24
At Hildesheim, the Temptation and Fall (Fig.7) has been
considerably reinterpreted.Adam and Eve are placed at some
distance from each other; Eve is now half a head shorter than
Adam, in part because he stands on higher ground; and she is
now obviously female, with her breasts clearly indicated.Most
important, the image is charged with sexual tension.Though
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FIGURE 4.Hildesheim, Bronze Doors, panel one: Formation of Eve (photo: Marburg/Art Resource, NY).
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VIM.< NO,: 10A ff'Z& Now iK a Is R.X"T V-1 HT A ................swill low se$?z.k:.w ?13, R, - I 4 00 WWI M- 13 1.07 10 ilk P5 INS Owl M 4W zvl?ONO -0, `RF EWA .TP P, a ..........ANNE& FIGURE 5.Hildesheim, Bronze Doors, panel two: Eve introduced to Adam (photo: Marburg/Art Resource, NY).23 This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions we have little direct evidence about the Ottonian visual code for representing seduction, much about the Hildesheim Temp- tation would appear to cast Eve as an aggressive and sexually provocative figure.In contrast to her simple, relatively static pose in the Grandval Bible, here her stance is far more com- plex.She walks to the right-in the direction of the serpent- and simultaneously turns and beckons to Adam; as she turns, her body twists sinuously, and her right hip is thrust in Adam's direction.Her very motion, in contrast to Adam's stillness, marks Eve as suspect; in early medieval and Ottonian art, such motion often conveys imbalance, falseness, or vice.25 On Bernward's Column, another bronze work cast in Hildesheim, for example, the wickedness of Salome is conveyed through her dramatic dance movements.26 Although representing motion would alone probably be enough to signal Eve's negative character, the Hildesheim im- age goes further in constructing Eve as specifically sexual in nature.Eve's outstretched arm, offering the apple, echoes the placement of the snake, offering another apple, and the curve of her hip echoes the coil of the serpent's body as it wraps around the tree.As she extends her arm in invitation, further- more, the apple in her left hand obscures and thereby replaces her breast.The image recalls Isidore of Seville's comparison of breasts to apples in his influential Etymologiae: "The breasts, mamilla, are so called from their apple-like round- ness, mala, by diminution."27 But the substitution of breast for apple makes a statement, too, about the nature of Eve's offer- ing.That breasts were understood sexually in Ottonian Ger- many is made clear in a penitential by Burchard of Worms (965-1025): in a canon "Concerning those who touch girls and women libidinously," Burchard sternly warns men against touching or groping the breast or genitalia ("shameful part," turpitudinem) of girls and women.28 The sinister portent of Eve's act is further indicated by the surrounding vegetation, which here as elsewhere serves to reinforce the narrative.The central tree, while in general echoing the shape of the cross in the Crucifixion panel opposite, has a prominent leafy branch that droops just at the level of Eve's hip and genitals.All of these visual elements, then, underscore the sexual nature of the encounter between Adam and Eve, signaling an eroticism that is far more tentative in the Touronian images.The next scene, the Denial of Blame, in which God con- fronts the pair, again differs substantially from the Carolin- gian images from which it derives.In all three Touronian bible frontispieces Adam and Eve stand together, resembling each other strongly in height, gesture, and even hairstyle-similar- ities that once again suggest their shared culpability for the sin.The images in the Grandval (Fig.8) and Vivian Bibles are especially graphic: shoulders touching, the two sinners huddle together as God confronts them, pointedly sepa;ated from him by the Tree of Knowledge.29 At Hildesheim, the composition differs notably (Fig.9).The carefully considered changes are especially apparent in the expressive use of the trees.Here, the Tree of Knowledge sep- arates not Adam and Eve from God, but God and Adam from Eve, and one branch juts out over Adam with particular asser- tiveness, suggesting again the sexual nature of the Fall.Fur- ther, in contrast to the Touronian manuscripts, Eve has been displaced to the right of the tree, a space that she shares, signifi- cantly, with the serpent.The change suggests a moral as well as compositional realignment, emphasizing Eve's separateness from Adam and her kinship with the serpent.Moreover, in contrast to the Carolingian manuscript, where Eve stands up- right, here she crouches, her position implying an abased state and thus her affinity with the serpent.Even so, she boldly stares at God while Adam lowers his eyes in shame; her proud defiance will become more explicit in the next episode.The plant life highlights Eve's guilt: the lower branch of the Tree of Knowledge and the vegetation on the right point to, and perhaps evoke, her genitals, again connecting the Fall with Eve's sexuality.Perhaps the most explicit signal of the eroti- cized nature of the Fall is the placement of the serpent's tail, which coils between Eve's legs-an unmistakable reference to the locus of the problem, her turpitudinem.In the scene of the Expulsion, finally, meaningful depar- tures from the Carolingian model can also be observed.Once again the Touronian bibles do not draw great distinctions be- tween Adam and Eve: in the Grandval Bible, for instance, the two are similarly dressed, and both turn back as if to plead with the angel who expels them from paradise (Fig.10).Nor do the Bamberg, Vivian, or San Paolo Bibles distinguish sig- nificantly between the two.At Hildesheim, however, Eve's actions contrast sharply with those of Adam (Fig.11).Once again she is cast as the more aggressive of the pair: in a significant display of motion, she turns back as if to challenge the angel as Adam meekly tiptoes out without a murmur of protest.Eve's dominant role asserts again that she bears pri- mary responsibility for the Fall.The designer of the doors, clearly drawing upon a Tou- ronian bible, seems to have deliberately reworked his sources to stress Eve's culpability.She is consistently constructed as the aggressor, the provocateuse, the challenger of God and his agent, Michael.No extant Carolingian miniature approaches the Hildesheim images in their insistence on the sexual nature of Eve's sin.Though we may never know with certainty what might have motivated these changes, some possibilities emerge.Junius 11 and Hildesheim: "One in her hand, the other at her heart" A hitherto overlooked source, which would have been used in addition to the Touronian bible, may have influenced Bernward in his representation of Eve.William Tronzo, in his study of the Hildesheim doors, first suggested that certain iconographic features were drawn from the Anglo-Saxon tra- dition, as manifested specifically in the so-called Caedmon Genesis, more properly known as Junius 11 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11).30 The manuscript, executed in the first quarter of the eleventh century, possibly in Canterbury, is a 24 This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 4:-?g R.g, ax ..........1 1", ................?k:,.-?w Wv N"m R Pw iN A.P- im .................................-W, ................& R FIGURE 6.Moutier-Grandval Bible, fol.8v, detail: Temptation and Fall (photo: British Library).7 Riil i?`& .......................z.-we ..............X .......................i.V MEN 0 1 11?` ..........01 INNU 50i , phow-..............diwK M?.JEW; = P,,.50121, " I ..15 iffl: _WS iaR OF In k I INN, ..........IF ...........S ............M i;io, R.IN w :X; :iisgii::::i:::?ii yii: g m.a I Mwa R.?Ni: V., all M Me _M Rol CX A ...........................................I Bill" Ow -A r.w.Ri;-%, A ?Oi 21M e.ww, q ME~ V!&AA 01.R" "Mir z'gpv: gmizu 5.g tAz.W1 .........................MEN 31-40glyns a 1NEI~ ..06 41 Ems..................iM RN M ?74 ,e5 A GA 771 vast, M.2i ................vil l as w D" -a i1xi 'ng.-W.H4 ?i!?if q x/ Wa, pP* W, Z: too-, MR; M W E NO .................................::A E....................:A ..:X:: i?.......................FIGURE 7.Hildesheim, Bronze Doors, panel three: Temptation and Fall (photo: Marburg/Art Resource, NY).25 This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions large collection of vernacular biblical poetry comprising Gen- esis, Exodus, Daniel, and Christ and Satan; the first ninety-six of the book's 229 pages contain illustrations.31 The Genesis portion of Junius 11, in fact, consists of two texts.Genesis A, the longer of the two, is essentially an Anglo-Saxon verse para- phrase of the Bible.Genesis B is a fragment of an older Saxon poem on Genesis that was translated and interpolated into Genesis A; it is a freer rendering of the Genesis story that offers a dramatic, psychological reading of the Fall of the Rebel Angels and the Fall of Humankind.32 Tronzo plausibly connected the essentially contempo- raneous Junius 11 drawings and Hildesheim doors, for the monuments have important thematic affinities.Both focus to a remarkable degree on the role of Eve in the narrative of the Fall.The evidence for Hildesheim has been presented above.In the case of the Junius manuscript, scholarly opinion about the portrayal of Eve's actions ranges from seeing her as com- pletely responsible for the Fall to deserving of almost com- plete exoneration; most interpretations end up somewhere in between, which is probably an accurate reflection of the poet's view of Eve.33 The illustrations in Junius 11 do not clarify the program designer's stand on the issue of Eve's culpability, al- though, like the Touronian frontispieces, the narrative images depict her as the agent of the Fall.What is important to note is that the section of Junius 11 that relates most directly to Eve and the Fall is the illustrated text of Genesis B.This West Saxon poem was written around the middle of the ninth cen- tury, perhaps in Fulda or Werden; A.N.Doane has argued that it was developed in the context of Gottschalk's theological teachings, deemed heretical, on the question of grace and free will.34 The textual, philological, and manuscript evidence in- dicates that the West Saxon Genesis had a fairly wide distri- bution in the ninth and tenth centuries, both on the continent, where it was refined more than once, and in England, when it was first interpolated into the text of Genesis A, that is, in a lost manuscript that was the model for Junius 11.35 There is ample reason to believe that the early eleventh- century illustrations in Junius 11 reflect a pictorial cycle that was already part of the West Saxon Genesis B during the ninth century.36 It is thus possible that in the early eleventh century there was available in Saxon Hildesheim an illustrated copy of this older Saxon poem.Such a manuscript would account for various elements in the Hildesheim panels, including the focus on Eve.While the full-page illustration of the Creation of Eve in Junius 11 (Fig.12) is not similar in its details to the first Hildesheim panel (Fig.4), such an image, if it existed in the proposed Saxon manuscript, might have given Bern- ward the idea for the beginning of his own Genesis cycle; the presence of an angel, unattested in the Touronian frontispieces but part of the Junius image, might well be due to such a pic- ture.37 Similarly, the appearance of the dragon-like tempter and the snake in the Temptation scene, while not exactly like those in either the Touronian frontispieces or the Junius manu- script, nevertheless would seem most likely to derive from a manuscript of Genesis B, with its dramatic emphasis on the malevolent creatures of temptation.Other elements derived from Genesis B present in the Hildesheim doors may include the angel in the Expulsion and, later in the cycle, the instructing angel in the Labor of Adam.38 Furthermore, while the Cain and Abel narrative is represented in abbreviated form in two Touronian frontispieces (those in the Bamberg and Grandval Bibles), the somewhat more elab- orate rendering in Junius 11 might suggest that Bernward, as he chose the subjects for the final two Old Testament panels, was motivated at least in part by an illustrated Genesis B manuscript.39 One telling detail strongly suggests Bernward's familiarity with the text of Genesis B.After Eve eats of the apple, she approaches Adam.The poem continues: One she bore in her hand, the other she bore at her heart, the cursed apple, the fruit of the tree of death.40 This text certainly reflects the Augustinian concept of Eve's internalized guilt-a staple of medieval exegesis on original sin.41 But the particularly vivid passage anticipates the un- usual depiction of the Temptation in the Hildesheim doors and might in part have motivated it.In sum, it appears pos- sible that a number of details on the Hildesheim doors derive not from the previously recognized Touronian exemplar, but rather from an illustrated copy of the West Saxon Genesis B.One copy of that work served as the model for the text and images of the eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon Junius 11, while another, perhaps, remained in Saxony to be used by Bern- ward as he developed the ideas and images to be represented on his bronze doors.The Impact of Reform and the Cult of the Virgin Genesis B presents a multifaceted picture of Eve, into which a reader could project his or her negative, positive, or neutral views of Eve.Presumably Bernward did so as well, conditioned by his own background and historical circum- stances.To be sure, a ninth- or tenth-century manuscript of Genesis B was not the only text available to Bernward that stressed Eve's culpability, nor was it either the earliest or the most important.A number of patristic writers-among them Tertullian, Ambrose, and Augustine-had assigned primary responsibility for original sin to Eve and, at times, implicated all women in the Fall.42 Why then did Bernward choose, so in- novatively, to emphasize visually this interpretation of the Fall in his bronze doors?Just as the original text of Genesis B was perhaps conceived in response to contemporary ninth-century debates about the question of grace and free will, so too elev- enth-century concerns likely influenced Bernward.Condemna- tions of Eve grew more virulent during the course of the eleventh century-the era that gave birth to the reform move- ment that only intensified during the papacy of Gregory VII (1073-1085).43 Reformers had a number of aims, but one important con- cern was clerical morality, and the perceived threat posed by 26 This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions VIP` ...........Np, AM.40: lot ............4w 10 111 Ra ggS 10F EA 4 A- ARM .W ..........................MAT MM WIN sit Eno ............04 ...................M mop VMS!........FIGURE 8.Moutier-Grandval Bible, fol.8v, detail: Denial of blame (photo: British Library).zX.: lm: X V '14 ................FIGURE 9.Hildesheim, Bronze Doors, panel four: Denial of blame (photo: Marburg/Art Resource, NY).27 This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 19- ?l :4-4 AW' $4 -Ale ell'i ............JAII FIGURE 10.Moutier-Grandval Bible, fol.8v, detail: Expulsion (photo: British Library).K- 0 ............................................J ......................o r : ...............................em 77 M so.....................afto ..................4'.n ..............W IM .........................'3w-fn- p ......................x;44-;, IN .ff?' ............iR g ME: ONA p"-g ..............M ?M.sgrp ..........Mk.lip ?Fffl M M, AIIV A j, IF AF ............FIGURE 11.Hildesheim, Bronze Doors, panel five: Expulsion (photo: Marburg/Art Resource, NY).28 This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions women stirred particular anxiety.Marriage of parish priests had been, at times, tolerated; strict celibacy was not always expected.Reforming churchmen, however, took a dim view of the practice and gradually moved to extirpate it.Still more worrisome were the lapses of monks, some of whom lived with wives and children in their monasteries.44 Not surpris- ingly, tenth- and eleventh-century reformers often pointed to the Fall, and specifically to Eve, as the cause of the concupi- scence plaguing the clergy.For instance, Abbot Odo of Cluny (926-944) wrote at length about the Fall in a treatise on cler- ical celibacy.In a sermon on the same subject, Ademar of Cha- bannes (989-1034) reminded his audience that it was a woman who caused sin to enter the world, and that women remained, for the clergy, "the door of the devil, the way of iniquity, the sting of a scorpion."45 Peter Damian (1007-1072) similarly ful- minated against women, warning priests and monks against these "charmers of the clergy, flesh of the devil" and expos- ing their purported ties to the Fall, sin, and death.46 There is some evidence that Bernward shared these sen- timents.As Francis Tschan has shown, the bishop was a zeal- ous reformer, and he was particularly alert to the evils of clerical unchastity.47 Perhaps his fervor was partially inspired by that of the emperor, Henry II, an important benefactor to Hildesheim and a vigorous supporter of reform.48 In any event, in 1019, four years after the completion of the doors of Hildesheim, Bernward issued a strong challenge to clerical liaisons; he presided over the Synod of Goslar, which denied to children of such marriages the rights that they sought.The synod was one of three that convened between 1019 and 1023, each a significant step in condemning clerical marriage and concubinage.49 Thus the depiction of Eve as afemmefatale on the Hildesheim doors is understandable in the context of this discourse; the Genesis narratives seem intended to define the first woman and, by extension, all women as temptresses who embody a threat to clerical virtue.The reform movement of the eleventh century was also an important stimulus to the cult of Mary, the virginal antith- esis of Eve.50 The juxtaposition of Eve and Mary is a central theme on the Hildesheim doors; very rare in medieval visual culture before the Hildesheim doors, this particular typology cannot be explained by the Touronian frontispieces, which depict only Genesis scenes.51 However, a textual tradition linking the two was long established.Irenaeus (d.202) wrote: "And even as she [Eve], having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin ...having become disobe- dient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedi- ence, became the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole world."52 Irenaeus's contemporary, Tertullian, in his own discussion of the Fall (ca.210), likewise contrasted Eve and Mary: For it was while Eve was yet a virgin, that the ensnaring word had crept into her ear which was to build the edifice of death.Into a virgin's soul, in like manner, must be intro- duced that Word of God which was to raise the fabric of life; so that what had been reduced to ruin by this sex, might by the selfsame sex be recovered to salvation.As Eve had believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel.53 The opposition between Mary and Eve became a topos in the Carolingian period as a result of the wide distribution of the popular hymn, Ave maris stella, composed ca.800.54 The contrast was further elaborated in Ottonian Germany.Of par- ticular interest is Maria, a life of Mary written by Hrotswitha (ca.932-ca.1001/3), a canoness at Gandersheim.Based largely on the apocryphal Pseudo-Matthew, the text draws the parallel as follows: "Hail, Sole Hope of the World, Illustrious Queen of the Heavens, Holy Mother of the King, Resplendent Star of the Sea, Who, O sweet Virgin, hast by obedience restored to the world that life which the virgin of old forfeited."55 Ernst Guldan has argued that Bernward was familiar with the work of Hrotswitha, and he is no doubt correct.56 Gandersheim (Fig.13) was only a few miles distant from Hildesheim, and the two foundations were in frequent contact.During the 990s, Bernward consecrated several churches attached to Gan- dersheim and presided over a synod there; further, Hrotswitha's writings are thought to have been read at court, where Bern- ward spent much time as the tutor to Otto III.57 Moreover, Bernward's vita expressed admiration for Hrotswitha, referring to her as "venerabilem feminam."58 Bernward versus Sophia: The Temptation at Gandersheim Gandersheim also supplied Bernward with an Eve-like anti-exemplar, a powerful reminder of the threat posed by as- sertive and allegedly unchaste women.Not long after he was consecrated bishop in 993, Bernward became enmeshed in a protracted, highly public power struggle against a formidable female.His antagonist was Sophia (975-1039), daughter of Emperor Otto II and Theophano, and sister of Otto III.The young princess entered the abbey of Gandersheim, which was closely aligned with the imperial house, in 979, and took the veil in 987.Gandersheim must have been a hospitable environ- ment for independent women, for several flourished there- among them Hrotswitha, who described the abbey as "blissful" and referred to herself as the "strong voice of Gandersheim."59 Indeed, the abbey enjoyed considerable autonomy in the later tenth century; for example, its abbess issued her own coinage and controlled her own army.60 Moreover, Gandersheim was a critical locus of the liturgical and historical consciousness for the Ottonian house-and was the recipient of much im- perial largesse; particularly lucrative were toll rights granted by Otto III in 990, for the abbey had an enviable location at the junction of two major thoroughfares.61 When Sophia entered Gandersheim, the abbess was Gerberga II (959-1001), a niece of Otto I.The princess soon became identified as Gerberga's heir apparent, and when the abbess fell ill in the later 990s, Sophia became de facto leader 29 This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions of the convent; she was consecrated abbess formally after Ger- berga's death and ruled for 37 years.Modern historians gen- erally characterize Sophia as a dynamic and capable leader.62 But contemporary Hildesheim authors portray her much dif- ferently.Three texts, the vita of Bernward, purportedly by Thangmar, and the two vitae of Bernward's successor, Gode- hard, written by Wolfher, present a highly partisan account of the struggle between Bernward and Sophia.63 Thangmar's text paints an unflattering picture of the nuns at Gandersheim, who, it claims, had fallen into irreverent ways and were given to excess ("superfluitas") and perhaps debauchery ("luxus").64 The Hildesheim author singles out Sophia, in particular, for her unseemly behavior, referring to her repeatedly as inso- lent, disobedient, and dissolute.He is particularly incensed that she once left the convent to return to court, probably in 994-though the canonesses were allowed to come and go and Sophia did so with approval of Archbishop Willigis.65 There, the text tells us, she followed "the course of a dissolute life" ("dissolubilis vitae tramitem").Rumors soon were flying and Bernward, "not bearing" ("non ferens") the scandal, decided to rebuke Sophia, urging her to return to the convent.66 Of course, this scathing treatment of Sophia, and the account of the unfolding conflict between her and Bernward, cannot be considered a disinterested recounting of the events; Thangmar's text, an unabashed apology for Bernward, does not even attempt to conceal contempt for the princess.In fact, the invective against Sophia participates in a larger dis- course; similarly polemical language was used to characterize other Byzantine princesses in the West, specifically Sophia's mother, Theophano, and the dogaressa Maria Argyropoulina (d.1006).67 Even if we accept at face value the description of Bernward's moral outrage at conditions in neighboring Gan- dersheim, the bishop likely had other, less lofty reasons to try to assert his authority over the convent-a privilege also claimed by Archbishop Willigis of Mainz, the chancellor of Ottonian Germany.Controlling Sophia was tantamount to con- trolling the wealthy abbey; the financial advantages could not have escaped Bernward, a canny fiscal strategist with ambi- tious building plans, though, of course, Thangmar's text does not mention this possibility.68 Sophia stalwartly resisted the bishop's maneuvers.She appealed first to Willigis, gained his support, and then returned to Gandersheim, where she rallied the nuns to her side and ordered Bernward banned from the abbey: "by this effort she could expel him from the place and order him to separate from it."69 The confrontation between the two soon escalated dra- matically.The crisis was precipitated by the completion of the third church at Gandersheim in the year 1000.The ailing abbess, Gerberga, invited Bernward to come to the new con- vent at Gandersheim to consecrate it.According to Thangmar's text, the bishop took the opportunity during mass to admon- ish the canonesses for their defiance and to claim the church as his own.The women were reportedly so enraged by Bern- ward's words that they responded with "savage curses" ("saeva /II ana-q: :l:xt -rt fm St an -'ht'- rrT't' yrnr 4-- My:JsTycr-Tu ag~yten coeyy WnrTs co" re-l"0,P14 nr o 'hmblva w tco lo t ne hol in" a tto cevdshbo o *Oebe" ,:::::::::::: - _ I'MI::::: :-:~s FIGURE 12.Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p.9, Creation of Eve (photo: Bodleian Library).maledicta"), hurling the oblations intended for the offertory at the bishop.Shocked by this "insolent tumult," Bernward deplored the "malevolence of the raving women." The bishop managed to finish the mass, but left without consecrating the church.70 Sophia's victory was, however, short-lived.In January 1001, Bernward traveled to Rome to make a personal appeal to the pope, Sylvester II; the pope convened a synod of bishops, who ruled in Bernward's favor, and the pope then granted him control over Gandersheim.But the dispute wore on.In the summer of 1001, Bernward decided to visit Gandersheim, but Sophia, expecting such a visit, had assembled a throng of sol- diers, who bolted the doors and packed the church towers with munitions to drive the bishop away.71 Bernward, hearing reports of these preparations, soon thought better of the trip.30 This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .:x:x 0, "NOW; ....................M .........."o/ bx p ?i?i ......................i>x
'aligr SIVA
W/W Al: ..........
, 7.'r
FIGURE 13.Gandersheim, Stiftkirche, west fagade (photo: A.S.Cohen).
The long struggle was not resolved until January 1007,
on the day before Epiphany, when Bernward, with the support of Emperor Henry II, finally succeeded in consecrating the
church.Just after the ceremony, Archbishop Willigis, stand-
ing at the door of the church, publicly renounced his claim and
the claim of any of his successors to Gandersheim.Sophia made one last attempt to assert her independence from Bern-
ward.In 1021 she appealed to the new archbishop of Mainz,
Aribo, who then raised the question with Bernward.Bernward
immediately responded, reiterating Willigis's public renunci-
ation at the door of Gandersheim on the day before Epiphany, 1007.72
The struggle with the nuns of Gandersheim thus domi-
nated Bernward's life for many years; Tschan noted that this
dispute "occupied Bernward's mind for nearly half of his
pontificate and was a frequent source of worry to him much
of the other half."73 The stakes could not have been higher, for
the conflict engaged the most powerful political and ecclesi-
astical figures in Ottonian Germany: the princess, Sophia; her
brother, the emperor Otto III; and her ally, Willigis-not only the empire's spiritual leader but, as chancellor, perhaps its
strongest political power after the emperor himself.The strug-
gle was most heated in the years immediately preceding the
design and production of the doors of St.Michael's.The tem-
pestuous sequence of events, as recounted by Bernward's par-
tisans, offers a lens through which to view the strikingly new
presentation of Eve at Hildesheim.Ideologically, Thangmar's vita seems closely akin to the Hildesheim reliefs: both text
and images present narratives of wanton, willful women.In-
deed, the very language the Hildesheim author uses to condemn
the canonesses and especially Sophia-"dissolute," "malevo-
lent," "insolent"-might equally apply to the depiction of Eve,
featured on the doors as a sexual aggressor, agent of the devil,
and challenger of God's will.
Bernward and Hildesheim: Opening the Door of Paradise
Bernward's choice of a pair of doors as the site to display his interpretation of Eve was carefully considered.This is
confirmed by the iconography of the two-page presentation scene in Bernward's "Precious" Gospels, which he gave to St.
Michael's in 1015 (Fig.14).74 On the left, Bernward stands
before an altar, holding his Gospels; the detailed architectural
setting includes the arched faqade of a church, its triangular
pediment supported by two spiral columns.On the right, two
angels crown the Virgin, the patron of the diocese of Hildes-
heim, while both she and the Child on her lap extend a hand
to the bishop; three arches supported by spiral columns echo
the architecture of the preceding image, and a large arch spans the entire scene.This arch terminates at each end with a small
roundel enclosing a female head, identified by inscription- the Virgin appears to the left and Eve to the right, well sepa-
rated from Bernward.There is an open portal with a cross just to the lower right of the Mary roundel; it is mirrored by a pair of firmly latched doors adjacent to Eve.
Lengthy inscriptions explain the meaning of the images.On the closed doors, beneath Eve, is written:
Porta paradisi primeva[m] clausa per Aevam
[The door of paradise, closed by the first Eve]
The inscription continues below the roundel of Mary, next to
the open door:
Nunc est per s[an]c[t]am cunctis patefacta Maria[m]
[Now is open to all through the holy Mary]75
A third inscription, seen on the small arch closest to the roun-
del of Eve, explicitly identifies Mary with the door:
Ave porta D[e]i post partu[m] clausa p[er] evu[m] [Hail, door of God, closed forever after the birth]
Although emphasizing Mary's perpetual virginity, the
wordplay between "aevum" and "Aevam" in the inscription's
This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ...........
s ?:ix
eft 7p ?A ki.!i
4-,?- 4,
slis s'.w l?"Im
FIGURE 14."Precious" Gospels of Bernward, Hildesheim, Dom-Museum, MS 18, fols.16v-17, Presentation frontispieces (photo: Dom-Museum).
final clause could also suggest a second reading: "Hail, door of
God, closed by Eve after her creation." Thus both visually and
verbally, the miniature seems almost obsessively to stress the
closing of doors by Eve and their opening by Mary.
Many scholars have rightly connected the miniature to the
Hildesheim doors, where Eve and Mary are similarly placed in opposition.76 Theologically, the inscriptions on the presen- tation pages clearly refer to Mary's crucial role in redemption,
opening the gates of paradise to all.But in the context of
Bernward's bitter struggle against Sophia, the references to
the "door closed by Eve" and the image of the closed door just
beneath the image of Eve take on additional significance.The
doors of Gandersheim had been literally closed to Bernward
by Sophia, who banned him from the convent; her soldiers
actually bolted the doors: "portis obseratis."77 And when Arch-
bishop Willigis finally surrendered in 1007, it was at the door-
way of the church of Gandersheim: "ad ianuam."78 Thus, on
the eve of the feast of Epiphany, the doors of the church, for
many years barred to Bernward, were finally opened to him.
The insistent references on the presentation pages to
doors closed by a female and to doors opening through divine
intervention must have resonated powerfully for Bernward,
who arguably worked them into the program himself.The
Genesis scenes, with their unambiguous construction of Eve's
culpability and assertion of her defiance, disobedience, and
seductiveness, might even be seen as containing a veiled ref-
erence to the bishop's view of Sophia, whose challenge to his
authority had such dire results.Unusual features in other
scenes on the doors may corroborate this reading.Bernhard
Gallistl and Rainer Kahsnitz noted that, very exceptionally,
Mary stands before a conspicuously open door in the Annun-
ciation scene on the lower right (Fig.1).79Though this motif
signifies primarily the opening of paradise through the Incar-
nation, as Gallistl and Kahsnitz recognized, it may simulta-
neously allude to Bernward's 1007 triumph over Sophia at the
newly opened door of Gandersheim.A second, still odder,
detail in the Annunciation may be similarly interpreted: the
Virgin holds a palm branch.Kahsnitz considers this unusual
motif to be a sign of Mary's virginity.80 But the palm is an an-
cient symbol of victory, a meaning particularly apt in the con-
text of the Gandersheim dispute.The linking of this signifier
of victory with the open door behind Mary may thus be more
than coincidental.Moreover, the prominent placement of the
Three Magi in the door-they appear just above the door han-
dle on the right wing-may also be significant, as it was on
the eve of their feast day, Epiphany, that Willigis finally con-
ceded Gandersheim to Bernward.In this context, Bernward's
choice of historiated bronze doors seems especially pointed:
This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions the unadorned bronze doors at the cathedral of Mainz must
have seemed humble precursors to the Hildesheim doors, a
technological and visual tour-de-force.Just as Bernward bested
Willigis at Gandersheim, so too did Bemrnward's doors best
those of Willigis.
Commencing the series of New Testament scenes with
the Annunciation had broader theological import.According to
the long exegetical tradition inaugurated by Irenaeus and Ter-
tullian, at the moment Mary heeded the words of the angel
she became the vessel for the redemption that was necessi-
tated by Eve, who listened instead to the evil words of the
tempter.This opposition strengthens the identification of the
first Old Testament scene as the Formation of Eve: the two
panels that open the Old and New Testament narratives thus
focus attention on the two virgins who occupy opposite ends
of the spectrum extending from sin to redemption.81 And Eve
was an antitype not only for the Virgin Mary but also for
Mary Magdalene, who appears in the door's final panel on the
upper right.The two had already been compared by Augus-
tine, who drew a stark contrast between the ready belief Adam
extended to Eve and the apostle's disbelief at Mary Magdalene's
report about Christ's resurrection.82 In the program of the
Hildesheim doors, the depiction of "Noli Me Tangere" in the
final panel symbolizes the establishment of Christ's church on
earth;83 it is, of course, a fitting conclusion to a cycle created
to adorn monumental doors opening into a church.But the
prostrate figure of Mary Magdalene in the garden also counter-
balances the recumbent figure of Eve being formed in the
garden of paradise.Adam's witnessing of Eve's formation
may thus indeed be understood as a reference to his ecstatic
vision of unification with Eve, evoked by the intertwined tree
between them.As expounded by Augustine, Adam's vision
was to be interpreted as a symbol of the union between Christ
and the Church-the "magnum sacramentum" referred to by .84 Paul in Ephesians 5:29-32.84 The narrative of the doors thus
turns on three key women: it begins with the formation and
sin of Eve, progresses with the Virgin Mary, the vessel of
redemption, and ends with Mary Magdalene, the symbol of
the Church and its union with Christ.
The doors at Hildesheim, created with Bishop Bernm- ward's direct involvement, can therefore be read on more than
one level.Their primary function was to present a sophisti- cated typological juxtaposition of Fall and Redemption.But,
with the unusual emphasis on Eve's transgressions, they also
served to warn a clerical audience about the perils of seduc-
tive women-a topical theme in this era of reform.Finally, the doors subtly celebrated Bernward's ultimate triumph over
a woman condemned by his supporters for her allegedly disso-
lute behavior.As in the presentation miniature of his deluxe
gospel book, the imagery of closed and open doors was used
to make a programmatic statement about the positive and
negative roles of women within the celestial and ecclesiastic
hierarchy.But they were, in addition to all else, a reminder of
the doors once closed to Bemward by a defiant woman, finally
securely restored to his control.
* Earlier versions of this article were presented at the Thirty-first Interna-
tional Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 1996, and at the Sixth International Seminar on Jewish Art, Jerusalem, 1999; many thanks to
Elisheva Revel-Neher and the Center for Jewish Art for making the pre- sentation in Jerusalem possible.We are grateful to Genevra Kornbluth
for her astute comments on an early draft of this article; our thanks as well to Emilie Amt, Kurt Barstow, Sharon Gerstel, Julia Miller, Haila
Ochs, Linda Safran, Mark Sandona, Robert Schwab, and Diane Wolfthal for their help and thoughtful suggestions, and to Marina Freeman for
excellent research assistance.This article has greatly benefited from the
help and insights of Elizabeth Sears, Lisa Bessette, and the anonymous readers for Gesta.Funding from the Hood College Faculty Development Committee supported the initial research and cost of photographs for this article.Unless otherwise indicated, translations are ours.
1.The inscription, which spans both wings of the door, reads (left wing): AN[NO] DOM[INICAE] INC[ARNATIONIS] MXV B[ERNWARDUS] EP[ISCOPUS] DIVE MEM[ORIAE] HAS VALVAS FUSILES, and con- tinues (right wing): IN FACIE[M] ANGEL[I]CI TE[M]PLI OB MONIM-
[EN]T[UM] SUI FEC[IT] SUSPENDI.R.Kahsnitz lists essential bibli-
ography in "Bronzettiren im Dom" in Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen, 2 vols.(Hildesheim, 1993), II, 503-512 (VII-33).He questions the traditional belief that the doors were intended for St.Michael's and argues instead that they were for the westwork of the
cathedral.For a subsequent restatement of the traditional view that the doors were made for St.Michael's, see B.Schtitz, "Zur urspriinglichen Anbringungsort der Bronzetir Bischof Bernwards von Hildesheim,"
ZfKg, LVII (1994), 569-599.On the inscription itself, which identifies Bernward as being "of blessed memory," see the essays by D.von der
Nahmer, "Die Inschrift auf der Bernwardsttir in Hildesheim im Rahmen Bernwardinischer Texte," and H.Drescher, "Einige technische Beobach-
tungen zur Inschrift auf der Hildesheimer Bernwardsttir," in Bernwardi- nische Kunst.Bericht iiber ein wissenschaftliches Symposium in Hildes- heim vom 10.10 bis 13.10.1984, ed.M.Gosebruch and F N.Steigerwald (Gbttingen, 1988), 51-70, 71-75.It is argued in these essays that the
inscription was written by Bernward himself for inclusion on the doors at the time of their creation and was not added after his death.
2.E.Guldan, Eva und Maria: Eine Antithese als Bildmotiv (Graz, 1966), 13-20; W.Tronzo, "The Hildesheim Doors: An Iconographic Source and its Implications," ZfKg, XLVI (1983), 357-366, esp.366.The New Tes- tament scenes on the right wing of the door are as follows, reading from bottom to top: Annunciation, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, Presenta- tion in the Temple, Christ before Pilate, Crucifixion, Women at the Tomb, Noli me Tangere.For explication of these narratives and their relation to the Old Testament scenes, see, among others, B.Gallistl, "Die Tutir des Bischofs Bernward und ihr ikonographisches Programm," in Le porte di
bronzo dall'antichitct al secolo XIII, ed.S.Salomi (Rome, 1990), 145-181.
3.E E Tschan, Saint Bernward of Hildesheim, 3 vols.(Notre Dame, 1942-
51), II, 141-143.Bronze doors with separate figural panels were also be-
ing cast for the cathedral of Augsburg, built between 995 and 1065.Their
precise date is uncertain; they are generally dated to the early eleventh
century.It is thus difficult to assess their relationship to Bernward's doors in Hildesheim.On the Mainz and Augsburg doors, see U.Mende, Die
Bronzetiiren des Mittelalters, 800-1200, 2nd ed.(Munich, 1994), 25-27, 133-134, and Pls.6-7 [Mainz]; 34-40, 137-139, and Pls.28-39 [Augs- burg].Bernward, in commissioning for St.Michael's a bronze column modeled on Trajan's Column, similarly drew inspiration from an object he had seen in Rome.See Bernward von Hildesheim, II, 540-548 (VIII-17), with further literature and photographs.
4.Thangmar, Vita Bernwardi episcopi Hildesheimensis, MGH Scriptores, IV (Hannover, 1841; rpt.New York, 1963), 754-786.The passage in which Thangmar describes Bernward's skill reads: "In scribendo vero
adprime enituit, picturam etiam limate exercuit, fabrili quoque scientia et arte clusoria omnique structura mirifice excelluit ..." (758).See
This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions Tschan, Saint Bernward, I, 19-21, for a discussion of this portion of the text.On Thangmar's reliability as a source for Bernward's life, see below, n.63.
script (Hildesheim, Domschatz, MS 18), sometimes referred to as the "Precious" Gospels of Bernward, see Das Kostbare Evangeliar des
Heiligen Bernward, ed.M.Brandt (Munich, 1993), with further bibliog- raphy, and esp.56 for the full inscription.
6.In his discussion of the Hildesheim doors, A.Goldschmidt, Die deutschen
Bronzetiiren desfriihen Mittelalters (Marburg, 1926), 20, proposed that,
despite slight variations from panel to panel, a single artistic design for the doors can be discerned.Whether Bernward himself actually drew these designs, or, like so many medieval patrons, instructed his artisans on how to use and adapt the models available, cannot be determined.
Nevertheless, given the other evidence for Bernward's artistic activity, it is likely that he was more directly involved than most patrons in guiding the artistic production.For Bernward's artistic endeavors, see G.Binding, "Bischof Bernward von Hildesheim-architectus et artifex," in Bernwar- dinische Kunst, 27-47.Schitz, "Ursprunglichen Anbringungsort," 597-
599, argued that artistic responsibility for the doors lay with Goderamnus of St.Pantaleon, Cologne, with Bernward acting in a more traditional
patron's role.
7.For the lintel at Autun, see O.K.Werckmeister, "The Lintel Fragment Representing Eve from Saint-Lazare, Autun," JWCI, XXXV (1972), 1-30.For the mosaics of San Marco, see P H.Jolly, Made in God's Image?Eve and Adam in the Genesis Mosaics at San Marco, Venice (Berkeley, 1997).
Jolly convincingly interprets the images of Eve in the mosaics as a pic- torial construction of misogynistic Venetian attitudes toward women-a
reading closely analogous to our interpretation of the Hildesheim doors.The two monuments, however, present their negative views of Eve in a
very different manner, responding to very different cultural conditions.The original Cotton Genesis cycle-which was a principal source for the
Touronian bible illumination that served as a main source at Hildesheim was itself altered when the Cotton Genesis was used as the direct model for the thirteenth-century mosaics at San Marco in Venice.
8.Noted already by E Dibelius, Die Bernwardstiir zu Hildesheim (Stras-
bourg, 1907).On the Touronian Bibles in general, see H.L.Kessler, The
Illustrated Bibles from Tours (Princeton, 1977).
9.On the four manuscripts, see Kessler, Illustrated Bibles, 5-8; for a com-
parison to Hildesheim, 14-28.See, for more recent evaluations of the
Touronian bibles, D.Ganz, "Mass Production of Early Medieval Manu-
scripts: the Carolingian Bibles from Tours," and R.McKitterick, "Caro-
lingian Bible Production: the Tours Anomaly," both in The Early Medieval
Bible: Its Production, Decoration, and Use, ed.R.Gameson (Cambridge, 1994), 53-62, 63-77; and P.E.Dutton and H.L.Kessler, The Poetry and Painting of the First Bible of Charles the Bald (Ann Arbor, 1997).
10.See, in general, Kessler, Illustrated Bibles.The Cotton Genesis recension
takes its name from the densely illustrated late fifth-century Genesis
manuscript probably from Egypt; the book was once owned by Robert
Cotton and damaged in the famous Ashburnham House fire of 1731.The
manuscript has been reconstructed and analyzed by K.Weitzmann and
H.L.Kessler, The Cotton Genesis (Princeton, 1986).
11.C.Nordenfalk, "Noch eine turonische Bilderbibel," in Festschrift Bern-
hard Bischoff zu seinem 65.Geburtstag, ed.J.Autenrieth and E Brun-
hilzl (Stuttgart, 1971), 153-163.The exemplar was textually closest to
the Grandval Bible, but was probably manufactured somewhat earlier.It
may be that extant fragments in Wolfenbuttel and Braunschweig belonged to this Touronian manuscript.For a description of the Bernward Bible
(Hildesheim, Domschatz, MS 61), see M.Stihli, Die Handschriften im
Domschatz zu Hildesheim, ed.H.H~irtel (Wiesbaden, 1984), 147-166,
and, more recently, E.Scholz in Buch und Bild im Mittelalter (Hildes- heim, 1999), 33-37, with complete bibliography.
12.The grounds for this may lie in the fact that the Hildesheim monks, being in possession of an illustrated full bible from Tours, had no need to create another such book.In manufacturing the Hildesheim doors, Bernward and his craftsmen thus evince a typical medieval approach to artistic cre- ation: they marry the pictorial narratives from an available source (a Tou- ronian bible) to a venerable, though unusual, medium (bronze doors) to create an innovative and remarkable object.For a similar, contemporane- ous example, note the eleventh-century frescoes in the church of St.Julien in Tours, which were copied after illuminations in the so-called Ash- burnham Pentateuch of the sixth century-as discussed by A.Grabar,
"Fresques romanes copies sur la miniatures du Pentateuque de Tours," CA, IX (1957), 329-341.
13.This is not to imply that the Touronian bibles do not include juxtaposi- tions of Old and New Testament imagery.In these cases, however, typo- logical exegesis is either embedded in individual compositions through the introduction of specific iconographical motifs or created through iconographic, compositional, or physical relationships among illustrated
pages scattered throughout the manuscript.See H.L.Kessler, "Facies Bibliothecae Revelata: Carolingian Art as Spiritual Seeing," in Testo e
immagine nell'alto medioevo, Settimane di Studio del Centro Italiano di Studi sull'alto Medioevo, XLI (Spoleto, 1994), II, 533-594.The Hildes- heim doors, because all its scenes can be apprehended at once, can present the juxtaposition between Old and New Testaments in an essentially different fashion.
14.The possibilities, with arguments both for and against, are carefully rehearsed by S.Kaspersen, "Cotton-Genesis, die Toursbibeln und die
Bronzettiren-Vorlage und Aktualitit," in Bernwardinische Kunst, 79-
103, esp.81 ff.For a detailed discussion of the different phases in the Creation story and their illustration in the Carolingian manuscripts, see
Kessler, Illustrated Bibles, 14-28.
15.On the interpolation of Christ into the Creation narrative, see Weitzmann and Kessler, Cotton Genesis, 37.
16.See, for example, Kahsnitz, "Bronzettiren," 506.
17.Kaspersen, "Cotton-Genesis," 81-84.
18.This solution was suggested by Tronzo, "Hildesheim Doors," 363.
19.For the relationship of the San Marco mosaics and the Touronian bibles to the Cotton Genesis, see in general Weitzmann and Kessler, Cotton Gen-
esis, 18-22, with further literature.
20.While no angel appears in the Creation or Formation of Eve in the Tou-
ronian bibles or in other members of the Cotton Genesis recension, angels are present at the Formation in the early eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon Caedmon Genesis (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p.9).This
was one reason why Tronzo, "Hildesheim Doors," grounded the iconog-
raphy of the doors in Anglo-Saxon art.It should be pointed out, however, that the highly idiosyncratic Junius manuscript is very much concerned
with issues of angelology in a way that the Hildesheim doors decidedly are not, and that the representation of the angels in the two monuments, as Tronzo acknowledged, are visually quite different.On the Junius
manuscript, see further below.We are grateful to Michael Kauffmann for
guidance on this point in specific and on the Junius manuscript in gen- eral.The presence of the angel in the Hildesheim panel may be a trans-
position of the angel from the Creation of Adam scene, as seen in the Grandval and Vivian Bibles.It is thus tempting to adopt Kaspersen's sug-
gestion, "Cotton-Genesis," 84, that the first Hildesheim panel actually de-
picts the Formation of Eve and, elliptically, the Creation of Adam as well, so that both creations are condensed into one compact image.Adam's wit-
nessing Eve's creation is perhaps a reference to his ecstatic vision of Eve
at that moment as a symbol of the unification of Christ and the Church, a notion expounded by Augustine and considered further below.
21.Advocates of this hypothesis include Goldschmidt, Die deutschen Bronze-
tiiren, 16, and Kaspersen, "Cotton-Genesis," 81-84.Kaspersen explicates
This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions the idea more fully than Goldschmidt, crediting it to J.M.Kratz, Der Dom
zu Hildesheim, 3 vols.(Hildesheim, 1840), II, 49-50-a publication that we have not been able to consult.
22.For the different scenes in the frontispieces, representing fourteen to sev- enteen separate episodes (depending on interpretation), see A.A.Schmid, in Die Bibel von Moutier-Grandval (Bern, 1971), 165-174; Kessler, Illus- trated Bibles, esp.25-28; and K.Koshi, "Der Adam-und-Eva-Zyklus in der sogenannten Cottongenesis-Rezension: eine Ubersicht iuber m6gliche Mitglieder der verzweigten Cottongenesis-Familie," Bulletin annuel du
Musde National dArt Occidental, IX (1975), 46-85.
23.The sole exception is the San Paolo Bible, where Eve has conspicuous breasts.
24.There are, of course, certain differences between the four Touronian bible renderings, as indicated by Kessler, Illustrated Bibles, 18-19, and
Figs.2-3, for the Bamberg and Vivian Bibles.The four Touronian ver-
sions, are, however, closer to one another than they are to the Hildesheim door panel.
25.See, in general, M.Caviness, "Images of Divine Order and the Third Mode of Seeing," Gesta, XXII (1983), 99-120, and, for examples around the year 1000, A.S.Cohen, The Uta Codex: Art, Philosophy, and Reform in Eleventh-Century Germany (University Park, PA, 2000), 57-58.
26.Bernward von Hildesheim, II, 540-548 (VIII-17).Another image of Salome is found in the Aachen Gospels of Otto III, p.92; see E.G.
Grimme, Das Evangeliar Kaiser Ottos IlL im Domschatz zu Aachen
(Freiburg im Breisgau, 1984).
27.Etymologiae, XI, 1, 75-77, ed.W.M.Lindsay, in Isidori Hispalensis Episcopi Etymologiarum sive Originum Libri XX (Oxford, 1911); trans.W.D.Sharpe, in Isidore of Seville: The Medical Writings.An English Translation with an Introduction and Commentary, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s., XLIII.For medieval medical discourse on the breast and reproductive organs, see D.Jacquart and C.Thomasset, Sexuality and Medicine in the Middle Ages (Princeton, 1988); for their discussion of Isidore, see esp.chap.1, "Anatomy, or the
Quest for Words."
28.Decretum, XIX, 137, ed.Migne, PL, CXL, 1010: "Si quis obtrectaverit
puellae aut mulieres pectus, vel turpitudinem earum: si clericus est,
quinque dies: si laicus, tres dies poeniteat.Monachus vel sacerdos, a ministerio divino suspensi si aliquid tale fecerint, viginti dies poeniteant.Scriptum est enim: neque tetigeritis neque obtrectaveritis turpitudinem feminarum." Burchard's canon was derived from the ninth-century Pen- itential of St.Hubert.See H.Hoffmann and R.Pokorny, Das Dekret des
Bischofs Burchard von Worm: Textstufen-friihe Verbreitung-Vorlagen (Munich, 1991), 238.On penitentials in general, see P.Payer, Sex and the Penitentials: The Development of a Sexual Code, 550-1150 (Toronto, 1984), esp.60-62, 105; and J.McNeill and H.Gardner, Medieval Hand- books of Penance: A Translation of the Principal 'Libri Poenitentiales' and Selections from Related Documents (New York, 1990), esp.292-
293, 321-323.
29.The four Touronian bibles each selected slightly different episodes from the Early Christian model.Closest to the Hildesheim panel is the Grand- val Bible, which shows the Reproval of Adam and Eve as an element of the Denial of Blame.In the Bamberg Bible, two distinct scenes show Adam and Eve hiding and God reproving them as they deny blame.In the Vivian Bible, Adam and Eve hide from the approaching Creator; except for slightly different hand gestures, the scene looks very much like the
Reproval/Denial in the Grandval Bible.In the San Paolo Bible, finally, the Reproval is conflated with the Fall itself, so that Adam and Eve are not represented interacting with God as he reproves them.In general, however, the three bibles from Tours itself (that is, excluding San Paolo) all include some comparable scene between the Fall and the Expulsion.For detailed considerations of the different scenes, see Kessler, Illustrated
Bibles, 19-20; Koshi, "Adam-und-Eva-Zyklus," 77-79; and Weitzmann and Kessler, Cotton Genesis, 56.
30.Tronzo, "Hildesheim Doors."
31.There are many unanswered and contentious questions about this unusual
manuscript, which has long been the subject of scholarly interest and debate ranging across multiple academic disciplines; the bibliography on the manuscript is vast.For a facsimile, see I.Gollancz, The Caedmon
Manuscript of Anglo-Saxon Biblical Poetry, Junius XI in the Bodleian
Library (Oxford, 1927).For an overview, see A.N.Doane, The Saxon Genesis: An Edition of the West Saxon Genesis B and the Old Saxon Vat- ican Genesis (Madison, 1991), esp.28 ff., with further literature.
32.Other fragments of this lost poem are preserved in Vatican, the Vatican manuscript and for the relationship of Genesis A and Genesis B in the Junius manuscript, see ibid., 13 ff., 28 ff., and 55 ff.
33.Ibid., 139-153, for a critical essay on Adam and Eve with an overview of previous scholarship.To cite and explicate these various views of Eve would be well beyond the scope of the present study, but see in general S.Burchmore, "Traditional Exegesis and the Question of Guilt in the Old
English Genesis B," Traditio, XLI (1985), 117-144.
34.Doane, Saxon Genesis, 93-107.
35.Ibid., 43-54.According to Doane, Genesis B had already been translated into Anglo-Saxon and incorporated into Genesis A before the early elev- enth century; the text of Junius 11 is thus two steps removed from the
original Saxon poem.
36.See especially the arguments in B.Raw, "The Construction of Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 11," Anglo-Saxon England, XIII (1984), 187-
210, and "The Probable Derivation of Most of the Illustrations in Junius 11 from an Illustrated Old Saxon Genesis," Anglo-Saxon England, V
(1976), 133-148.H.Broderick, in "The Iconographic and Compositional Sources of the Drawings in Oxford Bodleian Library MS Junius 11," (Dissertation, Columbia University, 1978), arguing instead that the chief sources for the Junius drawings were an illustrated Early Christian Genesis manuscript, together with the Utrecht Psalter and tenth-century Anglo-Saxon works, did correctly point out some problems in Raw's the-
ory of an Old Saxon illustrated Genesis; P Lucas, "MS Junius 11 and
Malmesbury (II)," Scriptorium, XXXV (1981), 3-22, advanced further
arguments against Raw's thesis.Nevertheless, in view of certain problems in Broderick's and Lucas's own analyses (again beyond the scope of this work to describe in detail), and keeping in mind the recent work of Doane cited above, it is possible to support Raw's conclusions as a whole.The most compelling evidence of the existence of an earlier pictorial cycle is the image of Enoch standing on a dragon (p.60), which is a reference to his defeat of the Antichrist.Because this episode is not in the text of Gen- esis A as it appears in Junius 11, but does appear in the Vatican fragment of Genesis B, it is clear that the picture must derive from an illustrated text of Genesis B.The second illustration of the Ascension of Enoch on
p.61 of Junius 11 was, on the other hand, the innovation of an Anglo- Saxon artist.On this image, see R.Deshman, "Another Look at the
Disappearing Christ: Corporeal and Spiritual Vision in Early Medieval
Images," AB, LXXIX (1997), 518-546, esp.521 ff.
37.A theological grounding for the appearance of angels at the Creation of Eve is, in any event, clearly provided by Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim, IX, 15, ed.J.Zycha, CSEL XXVIII (Vienna, 1894), 286- 288; trans.J.H.Taylor, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Ancient Chris- tian Writers, XLI-XLII (New York, 1982), II, 88-90.The connection was made by Gallistl, "Ttir des Bischofs Bernward," 149-150.
38.Both iconographic elements were derived ultimately from the apocryphal Vita Adae et Evae, to which Genesis B was deeply indebted.In his examination of the Touronian frontispieces, Kessler, Illustrated Bibles, 28 ff., demonstrated the reliance of certain details on the Vita Adae et Evae, notably the presence of the angels at the Creation of Adam, the
This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions presence of Eve at the Admonition, and the angel as the expeller from
paradise.Tronzo, "Hildesheim Doors," esp.360-362, linked the instruct-
ing angel to the Vita, and adduced various (later) English examples of the
iconography to suggest that the Hildesheim representation stemmed spe- cifically from an Anglo-Saxon source.While the expelling angel could have been derived from either a Touronian frontispiece or an Anglo- Saxon manuscript as reflected in Junius 11, the instructing angel appears in neither the Touronian bibles nor the Junius manuscript.Because Gen-
esis B itself was influenced by the Vita Adae et Evae, it is logical to sup-
pose that both elements were already assimilated into the original Saxon
poem with its illustrations, which would have provided the model for the
instructing angel.For the apocryphal text, and an introduction by M.D.
Johnson, see J.Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Garden City, NY, 1983-85), II, 249-295.For the close relationship be-
tween Genesis B and the Vita, see Doane, Saxon Genesis, 96-97.
39.The lowest register of the Bamberg Bible frontispiece is devoted to the
murder of Abel, and Kessler demonstrated that the episode may also be
found as a tiny detail in the Grandval Bible; in any event, the scenes were
certainly part of the original Cotton Genesis tradition that the Touronian
manuscripts reflect, as witnessed in the mosaics of San Marco.See H.L.
Kessler, "An Unnoticed Scene in the Grandval Bible," CA, XVII (1967), 113-119; Weitzmann and Kessler, Cotton Genesis, 59-60.
40.Line 636, ed.Doane, Saxon Genesis, 223; trans.R.K.Gordon, Anglo- Saxon Poetry (1926; rpt.London, 1977), 107.Our thanks to Mark San-
dona for his assistance with this text.
41.For the Augustinian notion, expressed in The City of God and De Genesi
ad litteram, see Gallistl, "Tiir des Bischofs Bernward," 153.
42.For a single example, consider Tertullian's often-quoted statement, ad-
dressed to women (ca.200 C.E.): "Do you not know that you, too, are
Eve?...You are the Devil's gateway.You are the unsealer of that for-
bidden tree.You are the first deserter of the divine law ...On account
of your desert, that is death, even the Son of God had to die." De cultu
feminarum, I, 12, trans.R.Ruether, "Misogynism and Virginal Feminism
in the Fathers of the Church," in Religion and Sexism: Images of Women
in the Jewish and Christian Traditions, ed.R.Ruether (New York, 1974), 150-183, at 157.
43.The impact of reform, the rise of a Marian cult, and the concomitant
attention to Eve in Ottonian Germany have yet to receive proper atten-
tion.These issues will be addressed in a forthcoming dissertation, "Re-
deemer, Mother, and Ruler: The Uses of the Image of the Virgin in
Ottonian Germany," by Kristen Collins at the University of Texas at
Austin.For the roots of Gregorian reform, see A.Fliche, La Reforme
grdgorienne, I.La Formation des idjes grigoriennes (Louvain, 1924).For hostility to women among reformers, see J.Delarun, "The Clerical
Gaze," inA History of Women in the West, II.Silences of the Middle Ages, ed.C.Klapisch-Zuber (Cambridge, MA, 1992), 15-24.See also L.Sei-
del, "Salome and the Canons," Women's Studies, XI (1984), 29-66; and
P.Loos-Noji, "Temptation and Reform: A Monastic Life in Stone," in
Equally in God's Image: Women in the Middle Ages, ed.J.Holloway, C.Wright, and J.Bechtold (New York, 1990), 220-232; both associate
reform with eroticized images in Romanesque art.
44.Tschan, Saint Bernward, I, 38; Fliche, Reforme grdgorienne, I, passim.
45.For Odo's treatise, the Collationes, see P.G.Jester, "Why Celibacy?Odo
of Cluny and the Development of a New Sexual Morality," in Medieval
Purity and Piety: Essays on Medieval Clerical Celibacy and Religious
Reform, ed.M.Frassetto (New York, 1998), 81-115, esp.91-93.For
Ademar, see M.Frassetto, "Heresy, Celibacy, and Reform in the Ser-
mons of Ademar of Chabannes," in ibid., 131-148, esp.138.
46.Contra intemperantes clericos, II, 7, ed.Migne, PL, CXLV, 410.The sev-
enth chapter opens: "Interea vos alloquor, o lepores clericorum, pulpa- menta diaboli, projectio paradisi...materia peccandi, occasio periundi." He goes on to describe women as harpies, sirens, and furious vipers,
among other epithets ("vos harpyiae ...vos sirenae...vos viperae furiosae").See also Delarun, "Clerical Gaze," 23.
47.For Bernward's roots as a reformer, see Tschan, Saint Bernward, I, 37.On reform in Ottonian Germany in general, see K.Hallinger, Gorze-
Kluny: Studien zu den monastischen Lebensformen und Gegensditzen im
Hochmittelalter, Studia Anselmiana, XXII-XXIII (Rome, 1950).
48.For Henry as Bernward's benefactor, see Tschan, Saint Bernward, I, 72- 80 and passim; for Henry's support of reform, see Fliche, Reforme grd- gorienne, I, 97-99 and H.Hoffmann, Manchskanig und "rex idiota ": Stu- dien zur Kirchenpolitik Heinrichs II.und Konrads II.(Hannover, 1993).
49.On Bernward's participation at the synod of Goslar, see Tschan, Saint
Bernward, I, 151-152.For Goslar and the other two councils, held at
Pavia and Seligenstadt, see K.J.Hefele, Histoire des Conciles, trans.D.H.Leclerq, IV, pt.2 (Paris, 1911), 918-924; Fliche, Reforme gregori- enne, I, 98.
50.See, for instance, Delarun, "Clerical Gaze," 29-30.
51.Guldan, Eva und Maria, 13-20, esp.16, describes the Hildesheim doors, and the closely related dedication image in Bernward's "Precious" Gos-
pels, as unique documents.He cites as precedents a few works of Early Christian art, but, as he notes, these offer only rudiments of an idea that is fully developed only in the works from Hildesheim.For Eve and Mary, see also B.Bagatti, "L'iconografia della tentazione di Adamo ed Eva," Studium Biblicum Franciscanum.Liber Annuus, XXXI (1981), 217-230.
52.Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, III, 22, 4, ed.Migne, PG, VII, 959-960; trans.A.Robert and W.H.Rambaut, Ante-Nicene Fathers, I (New York,
1885; rpt.Peabody, MA, 1994), 455; cited in the useful study by K.J.Glaeske, "The Image of Eve in Anglo-Saxon, Middle English, and
Old Irish Literature" (Dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1997), 108.
53.Tertullian, De came Christi, XVII, 5-6, trans.P.Holmes, Ante-Nicene
Fathers, III (New York, 1885; rpt.Peabody, MA, 1994), 536; cited in
Glaeske, "Image of Eve," 120.
54.The first two stanzas of the hymn read: "Ave, maris stella / Dei mater
alma, /Atque semper virgo / Felix caeli porta.// Sumens illud Ave / Gab-
rielis ore / Funda nos in pace / Mutans nomen Evae." (Hail, star of the sea
/ Gracious mother of God, / Ever virgin / Noble gate of heaven.// Ac-
cepting that "Ave" / From the mouth of Gabriel / Bring us forth in peace / Changing the name of Eve.) For the hymn, see J.Szbverffy, Marianische
Motivik der Hymnen: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der marianischen Lyrik im Mittelalter (Leiden, 1985), 14 ff.; for the full text, see Analecta hym- nica medii aevi, ed.G.Dreves and C.Blume (Leipzig, 1886-1922), LI, 141-142.
55.This contrast appears at the very beginning of Maria (lines 1-4): "Unica
spes Mundi Dominatrix Inclita Caeli / Sancta parens regis, lucida stella
maris / Quae parens mundo restaurasti, pia virgo, / Vitam, quam virgo
perdiderat vetula." Ed.P von Winterfeld, Hrotsvithae opera, Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum (Berlin, 1905), 5; trans.Sister
M.Gonsalva Wiegand, The Non-dramatic Works of Hrosvitha: Text,
Translation, Introduction and Commentary (St.Louis, 1936), 14-73, esp.15.The name has several alternate spellings in modern scholarship, among them Hrotsvitha, Hrotsvit, Roswitha, Rotsvita.See also A.L.Haight, Hroswitha of Gandersheim: Her Life, Times and Work (New York, 1965).
56.Guldan, Eva und Maria, 17-18.
57.For Bernward's presence at Gandersheim in the 990s, see Tschan, Saint
Bernward, I, 164.For Hrotswitha's ties with the Saxon court, see
P.Dronke, Women Writers of the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1984), 57-59.
58.Thangmar, Vita, 763.
59.For the reference to "blissful" ("felicis") Gandersheim, used at the begin-
ning of the Primordia Coenobii Gandeshemensis, the history of the foun-
dation, see Winterfeld, Hrotsvithae opera, 229; trans.Dronke, Women
Writers, 80."Clamor Validus [Gandersheimensis]," which is the Latin
This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions equivalent of her Saxon name, appears in the preface to Hrotswitha's
dramas; see Winterfeld, Hrotsvithae opera, 106; Haight, Hroswitha, 11; and Dronke, Women Writers, 70.For the cultural norms for elite Otton- ian women, who enjoyed a relative amount of autonomy within Ottonian
society, see K.J.Leyser, Rule and Conflict in an Early Medieval Society: Ottonian Saxony (Bloomington, 1979), esp.part 2, "The Women of the Saxon Aristocracy," 49-74.
60.On the history of Gandersheim, see Haight, Hrotswitha, 9-11; H.Goet-
ting, Das Bistum Hildesheim, I.Das Reichsunmittelbare Kanonissenstift Gandersheim, Germania Sacra, N.E VII (Berlin, 1973); J.W.Bernhardt, Itinerant Kingship and Royal Monasteries in Early Medieval Germany, c.936-1075 (Cambridge, 1993), 149-161.
61.For the importance of Gandersheim as an intellectual center of the Otton- ian rulers, see G.Althoff, "Gandersheim und Quedlinburg: Ottonische Frauenkldster als Herrschafts- und Uberlieferungszentren," FS, XXV
(1991), 123-144.On the toll rights, see Bernhardt, Itinerant Kingship, 151-154.For Gandersheim as a contested site well before Sophia became
abbess, see J.McNamara, Sisters in Arms: Catholic Nuns through Two Millennia (Cambridge, MA, 1996), 188-190.
62.See, for instance, O.Perst, "Die Kaisertochter Sophie Abtissin von Gan- dersheim und Essen (975-1039)," Braunschweigisches Jahrbuch, XXX- VIII (1957), 5-46, esp.8-10; Leyser, Rule and Conflict, 49; Bernhardt, Itinerant Kingship, 150-151.
63.Although long regarded as an essential and reliable source for recovering information about Bernward's life, the vita by Thangmar, who in the text is purported to be Bernward's teacher and friend, has come under suspi- cion as a twelfth-century text with little or no connection to the actual
Thangmar, who is independently attested as a deacon in Hildesheim around the year 1000.The vita manuscript (Hanover, Niedersichsiches
Staatsarchiv, MS F 5), to be sure, is of mid- or late twelfth-century date.There is, however, a second manuscript, of eleventh-century date, that contains a text corresponding to some twenty-two chapters in the Hanover vita.This manuscript (Dresden, Sichsische Landesbibliothek, MS J 206) is often referred to as the "Denkschrift" of Thangmar, that is, Thangmar's working copy of the material that was later incorporated into the twelfth-
century Hanover vita.What is important for the purposes of this article is that the events recounted in the "Denkschrift" concern the conflict with
Sophia and Willigis over Gandersheim.Therefore, whether or not either the "Denkshrift" or the vita were actually written by Thangmar himself is of less consequence for our argument than the fact that the eleventh-
century account most certainly records in authentic fashion a view of the
struggle sympathetic to Bernward and presumably close to his own view of the Gandersheim conflict.Furthermore, Wolfher's lives of Godehard, the Vita prior and Vita posterior, written in 1034 and 1054 respectively, corroborate the basic outline and views of the "Thangmar" text.For an overview of the implications of the dating issues and manuscript evi-
dence, with indications in the text of the material covered by the Denk-
schrift, see H.Kallfelz, Lebensbeschreibungen einiger Bischbfe des 10.- 12.Jahrhunderts (Darmstadt, 1973), 265-271.For an extensive treatment of the reliability, or lack thereof, of the Thangmar text, see K.Gorich and
H.-H.Kortim, "Otto III., Thangmar und die Vita Bernwardi," Mitteilun-
gen des Instituts fiir Osterreichische Geschichtsforschung, XCVIII
(1990), 1-57 (particular thanks to Elizabeth Teviotdale for supplying this
important reference).For an opposing view, see the entry on the "Denk- schrift" manuscript in Bernward von Hildesheim, II, 489-491 (VII-28).Without being able to decide this matter here, we have decided to refer in our account to "Thangmar's text," which, despite a certain awkward-
ness, preserves the traditional identification while leaving open the pos- sibility that the text was not, in fact, written by Thangmar.
64.Thangmar, Vita, 765.
65.Haight, Hroswitha, 11.Thangmar does not mention that the canonesses had this right, which had been ratified at the Synod of Aachen in 816.He does note that Sophia sought Willigis's approval (Vita, 765).
66.Thangmar, Vita, 765.
67.For Peter Damian's condemnation of Maria-he notes her "luxury," her
"nauseating" incense and perfumes, and her "vanity"-and for similar denunciations of Theophano, see A.Davids, "Marriage Negotiations between Byzantium and the West and the Name of Theophano in Byz- antium (Eighth to Tenth Centuries)," in The Empress Theophano: Byz- antium and the West at the Turn of the First Millennium, ed.A.Davids
(Cambridge, 1995), 99-120, esp.110-111.
68.Though the see of Hildesheim was not wealthy, Bernward amassed a sizable estate while bishop; see Tschan, Saint Bernward, 70-75.
69.Thangmar, Vita, 765.The sentence reads: "Post haec Gandenesheim
repetit, varia de episcopo inter sorores disseminavit, nisu quo poterat illum loco expellere atque abalienare parabat."
70.The passage reads: "Quo insolito tumultu perculsus, lacrimis perfusus an-
tistes, non suam iniuriam, quam parvi ducebat, pensans, sed veri pastoris pro persecutoribus orantis exemplo, ignorantiam seu potius malivoltiam furentium feminarium deplorans, ad altare rediit ..." (Thangmar, Vita, 766).For an overview of the entire conflict, see H.Goetting, "Bernward und der groBe Gandersheimer Streit," in Bernward von Hildesheim, I, 275-282.
71.Wolfher, Vita Godehardi Episcopi Hildenesheimensis, MGH SS, XI
(Hannover, 1854; rpt.New York, 1963), 167-196: "Quod ubi Sophia praescivit, omnes quos undecumque poterat ob favorem metropolitani concivit, qui postis obseratis, turribusque et aliis munitioribus locis armatura repletis, episcopo resisterunt..." (184).
72.Thangmar, Vita, 778-779; Wolfher, Vita, 185-186, 205; Tschan, Saint
Bernward, I, 196-199.
73.Tschan, Saint Bernward, I, 157.
74.For a discussion, with further bibliography, and color reproductions of fols.16v-17, see R.Kahsnitz, "Die Bilder," in Kostbare Evangeliar, 27-
30, and Pls.5-6.Like the doors themselves, the manuscript has been ascribed to the cathedral, rather than to St.Michael's, although the tra- ditional interpretation of the manuscript as a gift from Bernward to the cloister for the dedication of the crypt and altar of the Virgin in 1015 remains most likely.See, in general, Stihli, Handschriften, 17-50, and Bernward von Hildesheim, II, 570-578 (VIII-30).
75.The verse is almost a verbatim quote from an antiphon sung for the feast of the Assumption of Mary: "Paradisi porta per Evam cunctis clausa est
per Marian Virginem iterum patefacta est, alleluia." See R.-J.Hesbert, Corpus antiphonalium officii, 6 vols.(Rome, 1963-79), IV, no.4214.See also Glaeske, "Image of Eve," 205-206.
76.The connection has been stressed in particular by Guldan, Eva und Maria, 13-20; Tronzo, "Hildesheim Doors"; and SchUtz, "Ursprtinglichen Anbringungsort."
77.Wolfher, Vita, 184.
78.Ibid., 185."Porta" is usually defined as a gate or door, "ianua" as a door or entrance.
79.Kahsnitz, Bernward, 510; B.Gallistl, Die Bronzetiiren Bischof Bern- wards im Dom zu Hildesheim (Basel, 1990), 52.
80.Kahsnitz, Bernward, 510; Gallistl, Bronzetiiren, 52.Note, too, that the
Virgin also holds a palm on the back cover of the "Precious" Gospels of
Bernward (Brandt, P1.2).Schaitz, "Ursprainglichen Anbringungsort," 577 n.31, also pointed out the wordplay between "virga" and "virgo." This fluidity of language is similar to the interpretation of "aevum" and "Aevam" suggested above.
81.Gallistl, "Ttir des Bischofs Bernward," 151, connects the two scenes in terms of the respective angels: that in the first panel is a passive witness to God's formation of Eve (which Gallistl identifies as the Creation), while that in the Annunciation plays an active role.
This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:55:49 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 82.Sermon 232, for Easter.Ed.Migne, PL, XXXVIII, 1107-12, esp.1108; trans.Sister M.Muldowney, in Saint Augustine, Sermons on the Litur-
gical Seasons, The Fathers of the Church (New York, 1959), 210-211.
83.For an extensive treatment of the scene, including the antithesis of Eve
and Mary Magdalene, see B.Gallistl, "Das wiedererlangte Paradies: Zur
Bedeutung der Maria Magdalena auf der Bernwardsti4r," Die Dibzese
Hildesheim, LII (1984), 19-38.
84.Kaspersen, "Cotton-Genesis," 92-93; Gallistl, "Tir des Bischofs Bern-
ward," 147-149.For the text of Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram, IX,
19, see CSEL, XXVIII, 294, and Taylor, Literal Meaning of Genesis, II, 95, and n.95.H.Schade originally proposed this Augustinian reading for the figure of Adam in the San Paolo Bible Creation of Eve in "Hinweise zur frtihmittelalterlichen Ikonographie.I.Adams grosses Gesicht," Das
Miinster, XI/XII (1958), 375-387.He based this on Adam's open eyes, but as Kessler pointed out, Illustrated Bibles, 17 n.19, Adam's eyes are
open as well in the Creation of Adam scene, effectively undercutting Schade's contention.Nevertheless, as both Kaspersen and Gallistl dem-
onstrated, there are sufficient other reasons to accept an Augustinian interpretation for Bernward's doors.
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