The Interrogation of Joan of Arc

By Karen Sullivan | Go to book overview

3
The Departure for France

When Joan donned a man’s tunic and leggings, mounted a horse, and rode off to France to lead Armagnac forces into battle, she behaved in a manner that was, to medieval clerics, deeply troubling.1 On the one hand, these clerics generally condemned women who wore men’s clothes and performed men’s deeds out of their own desire to do so. The Book of Deuteronomy had long ago warned that a woman who wears a man’s clothes is an abomination to God, and medieval clerics never failed to cite this biblical prohibition to justify their opposition to the practice.2 Among canonists, Gratian decreed, “If a woman, judging it useful according to her own decision, puts on male clothing, she is anathematized because this is imitating male dress.”3 Among theologians, Aquinas judged, “Of itself… the wearing of the clothes of the opposite sex is wrong, and especially because it can give rise to lasciviousness.”4 As clerics like Aquinas knew, temple prostitutes of antiquity had adopted contradictory garments in order to arouse lust in possible clients. Idolatrous in the religious rites they practiced, these prostitutes were also idolatrous in drawing viewers’ attention to their gendered body through their clothes: they led the thoughts of the beholder not outward toward a spiritual and transcendent Creator but inward toward a material and immanent creature. Both canonists and theo

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The Interrogation of Joan of Arc
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Medieval Cultures ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Medieval Cultures viii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - The Fairy Tree 1
  • 2 - The Voices from God 21
  • 3 - The Departure for France 42
  • 4 - The Sign for the King 61
  • 5 - The Inquiry at Rouen 82
  • 6 - The Confession of Conscience 106
  • 7 - The Prison Cell 129
  • Notes 149
  • Selected Bibliography 179
  • Index 199
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