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Anatoly Shestakov
Anatoly Shestakov

Agnetis Miracle BEST

Cadogan, John W. and Lee, Nick (2022)A miracle of measurement or accidental constructivism? How PLS subverts the realist search for truth. European Journal of Marketing . doi:10.1108/EJM-08-2020-0637 ISSN 0309-0566. (In Press)

Agnetis Miracle

The question of nature is here therefore of high importance. Thedefinitions of what is in accordance with nature, and what in opposition toit, illustrate the existence of a special sphere whose qualities are neitherof the former, nor the latter: the female zone. (7) It is a grey area,neither natural nor unnatural, as women in the Middle Ages occupied a spacemarked both by patristic theories, and the inexplicable medical and magicalplanes of female existence, rendering women neither completely natural(inferior to the nature of man), nor unnatural (as they gave birth to newpeople, including new men), but rather pronouncedly supernatural. RobertBartlett (2008: 1-3) defined the supernatural as dichotomous with thenatural, "nature", to the medieval mind an opaque distinctioncreating a dubious, debatable and troublesome world with phenomena andentities undeterminably belonging to either of the two worlds. Whilescholastic writers such as Peter Lombard tended to interpret the world asconsisting of seminal things endowed by God to reveal the power of nature,and those reserved to God which were beyond nature (marvels and miracles),Bartlett recounts the course in which there gradually emerged the fullyconceived concept of the supernatural (along with the uses of the worditself) and with it, the problem of allocating within this scholasticallyconstructed world, those elements of the supernatural which were evil, suchas monsters (2008: 6-9). God was believed to act through miracles and naturealike (Watkins 2007: 23), and, consequently, an acceptance of the phenomenabeyond the grasp of the human mind was a part of medieval spiritual life. Theexistence of demonic creatures was widely acknowledged through belief in thedevil and his followers, originating in the Bible, but because theologicalconcepts did not exist in isolation but often met, and coincided, with bothmedieval folk traditions and science, beliefs in demons, devils, and magicwere not exclusively of biblical origin and form. The medieval supernaturaldenotes, therefore, neither an exclusively religious, scientific, nor folkconcept, but rather, as Saunders (2010: 60) defines it "a complexintersection of ideas: providence and divine intervention, angels and demons,the otherworld and the marvellous". (8)

There were, however, areas of life in which religion accepted,embraced, or even used the supernatural and the belief in magic for its ownpurposes. Rogationtide, for instance, was a process of sanctifying theborders of the parish against evil forces and creatures, and combined withother celebrations, the Eucharist, Corpus Christi or miracle plays"reinforced the parishioners' sense of wonder" (Thiery 2009:68-69, 83). Blessings shared similar mechanisms, when divine benediction wasexpected in return for praise, prayer and worship (Rivard 2009: 19).Traditional religion meant that some feast days were endowed with ludiccomponents and folk enthusiasm (Duffy 1992: 137).

This is, again, God's doing, yet is quite untypical for asaint story in the sense that it is not physical torture she is deliveredfrom, as is encountered in other stories such as that of Saint Christine ofTyre, who overcame long years of inventive tortures with the help ofGod's angels, (16) or Saint Elizabeth of Hungary whoseself-mortification was encouraged and rewarded by God. Instead, Saint Agnesis aided from sexual humiliation through a miracle (in scholastic terms)making use of light which, being on the one hand a Christian symbol of purityappropriate in the context, and on the other hand soon appeared to be also adestructive force. When the Constable's son enters the brothel, he isimmediately struck dead: "[b]e constables sone cam for-to don with hire: ase he hadde er i-seid: / And are he mi3te bat Maiden handli : he fela-doun stan-ded" (VSA, ll. 75-76).


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