Touching, Devotional Practices, and Visionary Experience in the Late Middle Ages

  • David Carrillo-Rangel
  • Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel
  • Pablo Acosta-García

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxii
  2. Unbinding the Body

  3. Wounding the Spiritual Self

  4. Seizing Nothingness

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 267-276

About this book


This book addresses the history of the senses in relation to affective piety and its role in devotional practices in the late Middle Ages, focusing on the sense of touch. It argues that only by deeply analysing this specific context of perception can the full significance of sensory religious experience in the Late Middle Ages be understood. Considering the centrality of the body to medieval society and Christianity, this collection explores a range of devotional practices, mainly relating to the Passion of Christ, and features manuscripts, works of devotional literature, art, woodcuts and judicial records. It brings together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to offer a variety of methodological approaches, in order to understand how touch was encoded, evoked and purposefully used. The book further considers how touch was related to the medieval theory of perception, examining its relation to the inner and outer senses through the eyes of visionaries, mystics, theologians and confessors, not only as praxis but from different theoretical points of view. While considered the most basic of spiritual experience, the chapters in this book highlight the all-pervasive presence of touch and the significance of ‘affective piety’ to Late Medieval Christians.

Chapter 3: Drama, Performance and Touch in the Medieval Convent and Beyond is Open Access under a CC BY 4.0 license at 


Affective piety Passion of Christ Christianity Body Visionaries Mystics Theologians Touch History of the senses Medieval Martyrdom Spiritual experience

Editors and affiliations

  • David Carrillo-Rangel
    • 1
  • Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel
    • 2
  • Pablo Acosta-García
    • 3
  1. 1.Universitetet i BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Institute for Research on Medieval CulturesUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Heinrich-Heine-Universität-DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-26028-6
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-26029-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site