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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

By the later Middle Ages, every man, woman, or child, cleric or lay, who could read would have known the Hours or ‘Little Office’ of the Virgin Mary. Even those who could not read the Office in full would have known to recite its opening antiphon (Ave Maria) at the appropriate hours of the day. This chapter argues that a close reading of the texts of the Hours themselves is necessary to appreciate fully the place that Mary held in the hearts and minds of her medieval devotees. Through the hymns, antiphons, and psalms that make up the core of her Office, Mary is revealed as above all the temple in which God made himself present to the world, the Lord whom the psalmist called upon to make his face shine on his people. It was with this understanding of Mary that her medieval devotees sought to serve her through the recitation of her Hours.

Keywords: Ave Maria, Office (or Hours) of the Virgin, prayer, psalms, miracle stories, exegesis, liturgy, names of Mary, Books of Hours, Peter Damian, Anselm of Canterbury, Richard of St Laurent

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