Tag Archives: bodily fluids

Finger of the Holy Spirit, snout of the seraphim, nail of a cherubim, phial of Saint Michael’s sweat and Jesus’s sweat in Veronica’s handkerchief

Veil of Veronica by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598 – 1664), Bilbao Fine Arts Museum version

I love the bodiness and sheer ‘physicality’ of relics (lit. remains, often of body parts).

The French protestant satire Apologie pour Herodote (1566) was one of the first texts to poke fun at the Christian obsession with relics:

“A monk of St. Anthony having been at Jerusalem, saw there several relics, among which were a bit of the finger of the Holy Ghost, as sound and entire as it had ever been; the snout of the seraphim that appeared to St. Francis; one of the nails of a cherubim; one of the ribs of the verbum caro factum (the word made flesh); some rays of the star which appeared to the three kings in the east; a phial of St. Michael’s sweat when he was fighting against the devil; a hem of Joseph’s garment, which he wore when he cleaved wood.”–(tr. via Curiosities of Literature).

Apologie pour Herodote (1566, English: The Apology of Herodotus) is a protestant satire of catholicism by French printer and classical scholar Henri Estienne.