The Body
Pages 110

I n this paper I hope to show how the texts and images of St. Francis of Assisi'sstigmatization built on one another to provide a persuasive representation of rhismiracle, a representation, that is, that would actually persuade thirteenth-and fourteenth-century readers and viewers of its reality. A detailed examination of the techniques and modalities of persuasion employed by these writers and artists can help us gain access to a set of profound and wide-ranging stakes that were at issue in these representations and were located at every level of culture. Thus, studying the strategie intervention of discourse and painting in this historical context allows us to understand why the battles fought around St. Francis's stigmatization were so intense and long-Iasting, and why so many different resources of rhetorical and pictorial persuasion were deployed around this miracle.' No less historically signincant, since Francis's stigmatization crucially contributes to making theologically and culturally possible a whole new range of bodily miracles, understanding its representations is a cornerstone in helping us articulate achanging medieval sensibility.