Adam Lay Ybounden. A Marian Felix Culpa

The 15th-century poem ‘Adam lay ybounden’ presents a ‘folk version’ of the paradoxical theology of the notion of felix culpa, Adam’s ‘happy fault’ by which the Incarnation of God in Jesus of Nazareth was unintentionally provoked. The poem is simple in its vocabulary, but elaborate in its invocation of theological
notions such as the descensus Christi as inferos, the felix culpa and the necessarium Adae peccatum, both from the Easter prayer of the ‘Exsultet’, focussing on the role of Mary within the economy of salvation rather than on Christ’s. While having been researched only fragmentarily in the past, in this article, the theological content of this poem is analysed integrally for the first time. Free download.