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What can myths and legends reveal to us about the people who teach, learn and live according to them? Anthropologists and ethnologists have been collectiong and incorporating in their studies such religious-natured stories for more than a century, using these stories to explain and interpret the lives and conceptual spheres of the world’s most diverse populations. Vladimir Yakovlevich Propp and his colleagues came up with an intricate system to break down and categorize the stories of Russian folklore in his 1928 work, Mythology of the Folk Tale. Propp’s method revolved around the function of characters and their actions in the furthering and developing of the narrative. As Propp was interested in the general (if not universal) structure or formula of the folk tales, he pays attention only to what the charecters do, considering the who and how questions secondary, not even bothering with the why. The present study applies his methods to the legends in Legenda Aurea, a mid-13th century collection of the lives of saints written by Jacobus de Voragine and translated and used in many vernacular texts.
These legends, like many secular tales, had something of a didactic intention in their practical use. The present study picks out certain actions from the legends that do little to further the plot, but rather function as a lesson, particularly if we take the how and why aspects of certain events, such as miracles, into account. In this, however, we will have to adjust Propp’s methodology to make room for the extra aspects of the reason and justification of certain events in our analysis. Some of these lessons appear to be obvious to the intended audience as the events that present them receive no explanation, leaving the lesson implicit in the event itself, while others are followed by explanations, suggesting the action did not in itself suffice to communicate the intended lesson, or that the lesson was worthy of reiteration through further explanation.
Using Propp’s methods to break down the legend to its basic didactic elements, discovering the morphology of the legend, we can make steps towards having a better understanding of the lessons taught and, depending on the explicit or implicit nature of the lesson, the audience’s comprehension of the legends and their moral lessons.
According to a title page photo appearing in an auction catalog, an anonym epigram outraging Martin Luther was written presumably in the 16th century to the title page of Pelbartus de Themeswar's book Stellarium, which contains texts about the Virgin Mary – model sermons in tractate form. The verse consists of seven hendecasyllables and begins with an apocalyptical motif. It follows the Priapic poetic tradition which has antique origins and was popular among humanists, however, examples can be found even in the Middle Ages.
The use of visual aids in the course of preaching was a popular practice among the Observant Franciscans throughtout the Late Middle Ages, however, this aspect of preaching seems to be overlooked by modern scholarly literature. The present work aims to examine some of the visual and textual evidence attesting to the practice, putting an emphasis on the sermons of Pelbart of Temesvar, in order to shed some light on the actual performance of preaching.
The liturgic quotations appearing in the sermons of T.P. can provide basis for the characterisation of the liturgic practise known by the author and also for the study and analysis of sources. The cites introduced by the Ecclesia Canit show the influence of the medieval Roman as well as the Hungarian and Franciscan liturgy, which the author regarded as authorities acknowledged and approved of the Church, as can be witnessed in the sermon proving/justifying the stigmatization of St Francis. The argumentation of Pelbart follows that of the Francis-sermons of Robertus Caracciolus, shaping it according to his own point of view.
The elucidation of the Apostles’ Creed in 12 points mediates a medieval tradition, marks of which can be noticed later in the Hungarian Catholic literature, and even in the works of protestant authors.
Previous fruitful source identifications of our research group 'Sermones compilati' (see e.g. Eszter Szép, 2006) showed the possibility that even in the case of the sermon written for the feast of Saint Francis by the author of the Érdy Codex the immediate source could be Robertus Caracciolus' Sermones de laudibus sanctorum, the 45th model sermon. The author of the manuscript, the Carthusian Anonym refers in this sermon mostly to Bonaventura's Legenda maior, but mentions not exactly those places which occur also in the source named by the previous literature: in Pelbartus de Themeswar's sermons written for the feast of Saint Francis, and not even in a structure similar to Pelbart's sermons. And the reason is that here Robertus Caraccious was the immediate source.
The comparison gave the opportunity to observe a new phenomenon: certain elements of the tradition related to Saint Francis – for example the dream of Pope Innocent III about the maintainer of the dilapidated Lateran Basilica – are associated with Saint Dominic in the Hungarian Carthusian monk's sermon collection, and appears in the sermon written for his feast.
The Carthusian Anonym's sermon collection written in Hungarian (1526-27) was primarily compiled by choosing texts from printed Latin sources available for the author. For the identification of these sources a close, word-for-word comparison of the possible source texts with the old Hungarian text is inevitable, because the results of our research group's previous works show that during the compilation our author selected texts remarkably carefully and knowingly for the Hungarian translation.
Parallels registered by early researches before World War II contain no model for one of the most interesting element of Saint Thomas' sermon: the land of priest John. The Carthusian Anonym very often uses Pelbartus de Themeswar's model sermon collection as basis; and now it seems to be proved that following Pelbart's bibliographical reference he opens another book, as well: the sermon collection written for the saints' feast of Conradus de Brundeldheim (mentioned as Soccus). The origin of the detailed town description in his writing has not been found out.
The study scrutinizes the possibilities of interpretation of a motif in a sermon in the Érdy-kódex. It looks for an answer the question, why the flower-motif is used int he sermon with relation to St. Martin, in a wider size to the sanctity. The research includes parallels from the iconogrpahical and the emblematical tradition too, and it finds out, that the widest interpretation of the comparison is connected with the hortus conclusus (closed garden). This motif refers to the Immaculate Conception, and it represents simbolically the innocence and the pureness of the Virgin. Consequently Martin can compare with the flower int he court of the Lord, because he lived pure and innocent, so he became a chosen. He carried of the prize, being a flower int he heavenly garden, by the grace of the Lord. The study supports this argument with paralells from the hungarian literary tradition from the Middle Ages, from the Manierism and from the Baroque. These textes show the spreading of the examined metaphor and also its change.
By listing all the sources of Péter Pázmány, we intended to demonstrate what extensive the material our author used was. If we examine the use of these sources, we may see how accurate or free the use of citations is, and we might also see what made it easier to handle all this vast material. Using indirect citations made it possible to enumerate more authorities in support of his statements. The direct sources cite those authorities that were quoted indirectly by our author. And these sources also contain editorial notes that were used by Pázmány. So the notes of the sources sometimes directed his attention to other sources, or he just took the quotations form these notes, and thus used indirect citations without signing them, or used the editorial notes as “text” without indicating that the citation given is not a part of the original text, but a note belonging to it.