Viewing Disability in Medieval Spanish Texts

Disgraced or Graced

Connie L. Scarborough

Viewing Disability in Medieval Spanish Texts

Connie L. Scarborough

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

252 pages | 8 color plates | 6 x 9
Cloth $130.00 ISBN: 9789089648754 Published March 2018 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
This book is one of the first to examine medieval Spanish canonical works for their portrayals of disability in relationship to theological teachings, legal precepts, and medical knowledge. Connie L. Scarborough shows that physical impairments were seen differently through each lens. Theology at times taught that the disabled were "marked by God," their sins rendered on their bodies; at other times, they were viewed as important objects of Christian charity. The disabled often suffered legal restrictions, allowing them to be viewed with other distinctive groups, such as the ill or the poor. And from a medical point of view, a miraculous cure could be seen as evidence of divine intervention. This book explores all these perspectives through medieval Spain’s miracle narratives, hagiographies, didactic tales, and epic poetry.
 
Contents
Acknowledgements
Introduction: Disability Theory and Pre-Modern Considerations
Disability Theories: Definitions and Limitations
Adapting Disability Studies for the Pre-Modern Era
The Role of the Church and Christian Beliefs
Disability Studies and Literary Texts
Goals and Organization
 
1 Lameness – Los Contrechos
Definitions and Theories
Legal Status
Historical and Pseudo-Scientific Accounts
Work and Occupational Hazards
Mobility Devices
Divine Punishment
Ridicule and Example
The Monstrous
 
2 Blindness – Los Ciegos
Medieval Theories of Sight
Causes for Loss of Sight
Religious Beliefs
Begging and Charity
Blinding as Judicial Punishment
Blinding as Divine Punishment
Self-Blinding
Comic Potential
 
3 Deafness and Inability to Speak – Los Sordomudos
Deaf vs. deaf
Legal status
Cures (?)
Popular Refrains and Wisdom Literature
Spiritual Autobiography/Pathology/Consolation
Loss of Speech
 
4 Leprosy – Los Gafos
Medical Knowledge
Segregation (?)
The Leper as Metaphor
Leprosy as Divine Punishment
Leper as Holy Messenger
Leper as Figure in Religious History
Leprosy and ‘Tests of Friendship’
 
5 Cured by the Grace of God – Los Milagros
The Medieval Concept of Miracle
Miracle Accounts
Missing Limbs
Lameness and Paralysis
Multiple Impairments
Blindness
Deafness and Inability to Speak
Leprosy
Interdependence of Disability and Divine Cure
 
6 Conclusions

Works Cited
Index
 
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