Erzählen vom Un-Gefügten

Überlegungen zum Nutzen und Schaden von Un*fruchtbarkeit im ‚Passional‘

  • Volker Sliepen (Autor/in)


The article examines the vitae of the extraordinary figures Judas and Pilate of the medieval ‘Passional’ and focuses on the topic of fertility / infertility. This pair of terms relates both to the biological ability to father children and to the aspect of social coexistence. According to Regina Toepfer, fertility and infertility are therefore not regarded as opposites, but as a reciprocal structure. Against this background, this essay first examines the phenomenon of ‘in*fertility’ in the context of significant historical turning points, gaps and from the perspective of the salvation process. The essay then focuses on the vitae: in these, in*fertility represents an ambiguous concept according to which benefit and harm, salvation and mischief, good and bad, life and death depend on the perspective and remain cyclically related to one another. The transformation of infertile death into a fertile profit – the connection between biological and social in*fertility – is of particular importance. In the final section, the term ‘Antilegende’ is examined critically. It is shown that the vitae consist of composed, seemingly contradicting narrative elements and can be characterized by the phrase ‘Erzählen vom Un-Gefügten’.

Keywords Medieval ‚Passional‘; Anti-Legends; In*fertility; Ambiguity; Narrative Elements