Series One Script Excerpts

Excerpt from Episode 1

...The medieval world was a place where violence was common, where private armies roamed, sects battled for control. Where art, culture, politics, economics and religion were in states of upheaval and transition, where women had few options.

But like today, it was an age in which women refused to be left behind in the quest for change. Medieval mystic women struggled to find their dignity, freedom and power, discovering their inner, spiritual selves to define their relation to the world around them. It was an age when the very real presence of ghosts, demons and angels was taken for granted, when ecstasy, schizophrenia, deja vu and even anorexia had spiritual meaning...

Excerpt from Episode 2

...Spiritual positions were taken very seriously by the church. Other anchoresses lacked Julian's courage in writing down her visions, risking punishment and even execution. Across the river from Julian's cell was where they burned supposed Lollards, or heretics, and she would have smelled the smoke of their roasting flesh. Julian's own bishop had the local leader of the Wat Tyler revolt flogged, drawn and quartered ... after hearing his confession...

JULIAN

After this I looked, and saw the body, which was bleeding copiously, apparently as the result of the flogging. To me it seemed so copious that had it been real, the whole bed and more would have been soaked with blood. He wishes us to use quite simply his blessed blood to wash ourselves clean of sin. The costly and copious flood of his most precious blood overflows the whole of earth, and is available to wash all creatures from their sin, present, past and future.

Excerpt from Episode 3

...in 1212, on the night after Palm Sunday, a teenage girl defied her family and fled her home, running in shadows through these streets and hammering at the doors of St. Mary of Portiuncula church. When the Christina brothers let her in, she threw off her fine middle-class clothing, demanded they shear off the tresses of her long, beautiful hair, and there, in front of the alter of the Virgin Mary was married to Jesus Christ....

Excerpt from Episode 4

...Phillipine tells us the story of the fearsome nature of Douceline. She could be extremely authoritarian, perhaps we would say, if we wanted to be pleasant, she could be absolutely awful. One story she tells for example is of a seven-year-old girl in the community, who Douceline caught, we don't know that Douceline caught her but she was caught anyway, looking at some men who were working nearby and Phillipine tells us that Douceline beat the girl until her sides ' ran with blood, so this was obviously a really severe beating. And one of the interesting things of course as she goes on to tell us about the girls reaction to the beating and the girl was very receptive of the beating and felt that it had served, I think I'm quoting Phillipine here it had served to put her soul right with God...

Excerpt from Episode 5

...We think about the element of sexuality and it's certainly a very present and very prominent element in Margery's book, this relationship that she has to the very attractive young Jesus sitting at the end of her bed in the purple robe in that first vision and the subsequent physicality of Christ that keeps coming through in these visions. We think about that and it tends to stand out for the modern reader but perhaps it shouldn't. There's a whole school of what we call bridal mysticism, a whole genre of bridal mysticism in which even our purest and most virginal mystics, perhaps you might say especially our purest and most virginal mystics focus on a physical interaction with the divinity...

Excerpt from Episode 6

...The Apocalypse was very much on the minds of the people in the 14th and 15th Centuries because it was a time of, war, plague and famine, even a schism in the church and all these terrible things seemed to herald the end of the world. This apocalyptic way of looking at things was also fostered by the Franciscan prediction, which was addressing these issues to the common people...

 

 
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Copyright: McMaster University, 2000