Christ's Passion, Christian tragedy and Ioannes Franciscus Quintianus Stoa's untimely Theoandrothanatos

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Ioannes Franciscus Quintianus Stoa's Theoandrothanatos (1508) is perhaps the first work in early modernity to depict Christ's Passion as a tragedy. Despite its claims to originality, however, Theoandrothanatos rarely appears as more than a curio in critical studies of Renaissance drama or theology. When it is considered at more length, both the tragedy and poet himself are generally derided as effete and uninspired, an enduring critical inclination that obscures Quintianus Stoa's importance in the early sixteenth century as well as the scope of his tragic experiment. Placing Quintianus Stoa's Latin tragedy in conversation with theological interlocutors and classical influences, this essay examines the affective vision of tragedy at work in Theoandrothanatos, a version of tragedy which stands at odds with the humanist textual tradition emerging at the outset of the sixteenth century. Although he shares an interest in antique tragedy with those humanists, Quintianus Stoa endorses an approach to tragedy that quickly falls out of fashion, particularly once sophisticated editions, translations, and textual studies of antique tragedies became widely available. Moreover, an emergent tradition of Christian tragedy defined itself in opposition to Theoandrothanatos — particularly Nicolas Barthélemy de Loches's Christus Xilonicus (1529), which was more representative of the aims of tragedy as well as its Christian appropriations. This essay thus examines Quintianus Stoa's determination of tragedy before demonstrating both how and why this vision, initially celebrated, fell into disgrace and abeyance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-525
Number of pages21
JournalRenaissance Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


  • Christ's Passion
  • Quintianus Stoa
  • Theoandrothanatos
  • humanism
  • tragedy


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