Dominion, obedience, meekness. Effects of the “Christus hortulanus” icon between the 16th and 17th centuries

Andrea Di Biase


Starting from the frontispiece of a 16th century translation of Aristotle’s "Politics", depicting the scene of Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene as a ‘gardener’ (Jn 20:15), this essay aims to outline a possible reading path in order to describe the meanings and purposes of the image. More precisely, it examines the convergence of issues relating to the limits of political action and voluntary servitude in treatise writers, lexicographers and philosophers between the late 16th century and the early 17th century. An elusive invitation to obedience and moral surrender lies behind the longed-for return to a state of nature prior to sin: only by renouncing the active sphere of the individual wills, as well as the disruptive forces coming from the internal passions and the private interests, will it be possible to guarantee the members of the social body a greater, albeit indirect, political solidity.


Noli me tangere; obedience; meekness; semplicitas rusticorum; voluntary servitude

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-4124/10543


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