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Lentes, Th.

Lentes, Th.

Thomas Lentes, born in Hüttigweiler, Germany, in 1962. Ph.D. from  the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster. Director of the Research Group “Cultural History and Theology of the Image in Christianity”.

Fellow (1 February 2009 – 30 June 2009)


The medieval liturgy of the Mass was shaped above all as a ritual of the memoria passionis, and was considered a ritual reenactment of the Last Supper and the passion of Christ. The project proposes an understanding of the medieval alliance of liturgy and image that relates these two modes of representation of the life of Christ. It starts with a paradox: although the liturgical space was filled with various kinds of images, they were not used in the ritual itself. Instead, they connect to the ritual of the Mass by framing it in space and time, giving the space of the ritual a specific aura, visualising its content, and perpetuating the ritual ephemera. Finally, through meditation, the image turns the beholder of the ritual from a mere spectator into an active participant. Images in this sense did not only illustrate the ritual but themselves became performative, stimulating in the beholder the same experience of real presence that the liturgy of the Mass performed. Last but not least the book project proposes to study this liturgical habitus of images, instead of focusing exclusively on the functional aspects of the alliance of liturgy and image in the Middle Ages.