The most scholarly of the remarkable nuns of Helfta composed these meditations, rituals, prayers, instructions on how to pray, chants, hymns, and litanies in the late thirteenth century. Her mastery of poetic prose attests to the level of women's education in the highly cultured abbey she entered as a child of five and never, so far as we know, left even once.
From women's medicine and the writings of Christine de Pizan to the lives of market and tradeswomen and the idealization of virginity, gender and social status dictated all aspects of women's lives during the middle ages. A cross-disciplinary resource, Women and Gender in Medieval Europe examines the daily reality of medieval women from all walks of life in Europe between 450 CE and 1500 CE, i.e., from the fall of the Roman Empire to the discovery of the Americas. Moving beyond biographies of famous noble women of the middles ages, the scope of this important reference work is vast and provides a comprehensive understanding of medieval women's lives and experiences. Masculinity in the middle ages is also addressed to provide important context for understanding women's roles. Entries that range from 250 words to 4,500 words in length thoroughly explore topics in the following areas: · Art and Architecture · Countries, Realms, and Regions · Daily Life · Documentary Sources · Economics · Education and Learning · Gender and Sexuality · Historiography · Law · Literature · Medicine and Science · Music and Dance · Persons · Philosophy · Politics · Political Figures · Religion and Theology · Religious Figures · Social Organization and Status Written by renowned international scholars, Women and Gender in Medieval Europe is the latest in the Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages. Easily accessible in an A-to-Z format, students, researchers, and scholars will find this outstanding reference work to be an invaluable resource on women in Medieval Europe.
Mysticism and Eastern Religions, the fourth volume in the Collected Works and the third on Nightingale’s religion, begins with the publication for the first time of Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Devotional Authors of the Middle Ages, translations from and comments on the medieval (and some later) mystics who nourished her own life of faith. Next come her annotations of and comments on the Imitation of Christ, a book to which she turned in times of distress. The largest part of the volume consists of her Letters from Egypt, written 1849-50, a significant period in her own intellectual and spiritual development. Here we provide (for the first time) complete publication and include (also for the first time) material preparatory for the trip and reflections on it over the later years. The last section reports Nightingale’s correspondence and journal notes on Eastern religions, mainly Hinduism. Currently, Volumes 1 to 11 are available in e-book version by subscription or from university and college libraries through the following vendors: Canadian Electronic Library, Ebrary, MyiLibrary, and Netlibrary.
From emperors and queens to artists and world travelers, from popes and scholars to saints and heretics, Key Figures in Medieval Europe brings together in one volume the most important people who lived in medieval Europe between 500 and 1500. Gathered from the biographical entries from the on-going series, the Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages, these A-Z biographical entries discuss the lives of over 575 individuals who have had a historical impact in such areas as politics, religion, or the arts. Individuals from places such as medieval England, France, Germany, Iberia, Italy, and Scandinavia are included as well as those from the Jewish and Islamic worlds. A thematic outline is included that lists people not only by categories, but also by regions. For a full list of entries, contributors, and more, visit the Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages website.
Francis of Assisi's reported reception of the stigmata on Mount La Verna in 1224 is almost universally considered to be the first documented account of an individual miraculously and physically receiving the five wounds of Christ. The early thirteenth-century appearance of this miracle, however, is not as unexpected as it first seems. Interpretations of Galatians 6:17--I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ in my body--had been circulating since the early Middle Ages in biblical commentaries. These works perceived those with the stigmata as metaphorical representations of martyrs bearing the marks of persecution in order to spread the teaching of Christ in the face of resistance. By the seventh century, the meaning of Galatians 6:17 had been appropriated by bishops and priests as a sign or mark of Christ that they received invisibly at their ordination. Priests and bishops came to be compared to soldiers of Christ, who bore the brand (stigmata) of God on their bodies, just like Roman soldiers who were branded with the name of their emperor. By the early twelfth century, crusaders were said to bear the actual marks of the passion in death and even sometimes as they entered into battle. The Stigmata in Medieval and Early Modern Europe traces the birth and evolution of religious stigmata and particularly of stigmatic theology, as understood through the ensemble of theological discussions and devotional practices. Carolyn Muessig assesses the role stigmatics played in medieval and early modern religious culture, and the way their contemporaries reacted to them. The period studied covers the dominant discourse of stigmatic theology: that is, from Peter Damian's eleventh-century theological writings to 1630 when the papacy officially recognised the authenticity of Catherine of Siena's stigmata.
The volume explores the hitherto uncharted late medieval religious landscape of Northern Germany. Through discussion of a rich, varied selection of mystical and devotional texts, also translated into English, a fascinating regional "mystical culture" with a far-reaching impact is revealed.
Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages
Author: Caroline Walker Bynum
Publisher: Univ of California Press
From the Introduction, by Caroline Walker Bynum: The opportunity to rethink and republish several of my early articles in combination with a new essay on the thirteenth century has led me to consider the continuity-both of argument and of approach-that underlies them. In one sense, their interrelationship is obvious. The first two address a question that was more in the forefront of scholarship a dozen years ago than it is today: the question of differences among religious orders. These two essays set out a method of reading texts for imagery and borrowings as well as for spiritual teaching in order to determine whether individuals who live in different institutional settings hold differing assumptions about the significance of their lives. The essays apply the method to the broader question of differences between regular canons and monks and the narrower question of differences between one kind of monk--the Cistercians--and other religious groups, monastic and nonmonastic, of the twelfth century. The third essay draws on some of the themes of the first two, particularly the discussion of canonical and Cistercian conceptions of the individual brother as example, to suggest an interpretation of twelfth-century religious life as concerned with the nature of groups as well as with affective expression. The fourth essay, again on Cistercian monks, elaborates themes of the first three. Its subsidiary goals are to provide further evidence on distinctively Cistercian attitudes and to elaborate the Cistercian ambivalence about vocation that I delineate in the essay on conceptions of community. It also raises questions that have now become popular in nonacademic as well as academic circles: what significance should we give to the increase of feminine imagery in twelfth-century religious writing by males? Can we learn anything about distinctively male or female spiritualities from this feminization of language? The fifth essay differs from the others in turning to the thirteenth century rather than the twelfth, to women rather than men, to detailed analysis of many themes in a few thinkers rather than one theme in many writers; it is nonetheless based on the conclusions of the earlier studies. The sense of monastic vocation and of the priesthood, of the authority of God and self, and of the significance of gender that I find in the three great mystics of late thirteenth-century Helfta can be understood only against the background of the growing twelfth- and thirteenth-century concern for evangelism and for an approachable God, which are the basic themes of the first four essays. Such connections between the essays will be clear to anyone who reads them. There are, however, deeper methodological and interpretive continuities among them that I wish to underline here. For these studies constitute a plea for an approach to medieval spirituality that is not now--and perhaps has never been--dominant in medieval scholarship. They also provide an interpretation of the religious life of the high Middle Ages that runs against the grain of recent emphases on the emergence of "lay spirituality." I therefore propose to give, as introduction, both a discussion of recent approaches to medieval piety and a short sketch of the religious history of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, emphasizing those themes that are the context for my specific investigations. I do not want to be misunderstood. In providing here a discussion of approaches to and trends in medieval religion I am not claiming that the studies that follow constitute a general history nor that my method should replace that of social, institutional, and intellectual historians. A handful of Cistercians does not typify the twelfth century, nor three nuns the thirteenth. Religious imagery, on which I concentrate, does not tell us how people lived. But because these essays approach texts in a way others have not done, focus on imagery others have not found important, and insist, as others have not insisted, on comparing groups to other groups (e.g., comparing what is peculiarly male to what is female as well as vice versa), I want to call attention to my approach to and my interpretation of the high Middle Ages in the hope of encouraging others to ask similar questions.
Key Figures in Medieval Europe (2006): An Encyclopedia
Author: Richard K Emmerson
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
First published in 2006, Key Figures in Medieval Europe, brings together in one volume the most important people who lived in medieval Europe between 500 and 1500. Gathered from the biographical entries from the series, Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages, these A-Z biographical entries discuss the lives of over 575 individuals who have had a historical impact in such areas as politics, religion, and the arts. It includes individuals from places such as medieval England, France, Germany, Iberia, Italy, and Scandinavia, as well as those from the Jewish and Islamic worlds. In one convenient volume, students, scholars, and interested readers will find the biographies of the people whose actions, beliefs, creations, and writings shaped the Middle Ages, one of the most fascinating periods of world history.
The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages
Author: Ann W. Astell
Publisher: Cornell University Press
"The enigmatic link between the natural and artistic beauty that is to be contemplated but not eaten, on the one hand, and the eucharistic beauty that is both seen (with the eyes of faith) and eaten, on the other, intrigues me and inspires this book. One cannot ask theo-aesthetic questions about the Eucharist without engaging fundamental questions about the relationship between beauty, art (broadly defined), and eating."—from Eating Beauty In a remarkable book that is at once learned, startlingly original, and highly personal, Ann W. Astell explores the ambiguity of the phrase "eating beauty." The phrase evokes the destruction of beauty, the devouring mouth of the grave, the mouth of hell. To eat beauty is to destroy it. Yet in the case of the Eucharist the person of faith who eats the Host is transformed into beauty itself, literally incorporated into Christ. In this sense, Astell explains, the Eucharist was "productive of an entire 'way' of life, a virtuous life-form, an artwork, with Christ himself as the principal artist." The Eucharist established for the people of the Middle Ages distinctive schools of sanctity—Cistercian, Franciscan, Dominican, and Ignatian—whose members were united by the eucharistic sacrament that they received. Reading the lives of the saints not primarily as historical documents but as iconic expressions of original artworks fashioned by the eucharistic Christ, Astell puts the "faceless" Host in a dynamic relationship with these icons. With the advent of each new spirituality, the Christian idea of beauty expanded to include, first, the marred beauty of the saint and, finally, that of the church torn by division—an anti-aesthetic beauty embracing process, suffering, deformity, and disappearance, as well as the radiant lightness of the resurrected body. This astonishing work of intellectual and religious history is illustrated with telling artistic examples ranging from medieval manuscript illuminations to sculptures by Michelangelo and paintings by Salvador Dalí. Astell puts the lives of medieval saints in conversation with modern philosophers as disparate as Simone Weil and G. W. F. Hegel.
The Vernacular Transmission of Gertrude of Helfta's Visions
Author: Racha Kirakosian
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
The German mystic Gertrude the Great of Helfta (c.1256–1301) is a globally venerated saint who is still central to the Sacred Heart Devotion. Her visions were first recorded in Latin, and they inspired generations of readers in processes of creative rewriting. The vernacular copies of these redactions challenge the long-standing idea that translations do not bear the same literary or historical weight as the originals upon which they are based. In this study, Racha Kirakosian argues that manuscript transmission reveals how redactors serve as cultural agents. Examining the late medieval vernacular copies of Gertrude's visions, she demonstrates how redactors recast textual materials, reflected changes in piety, and generated new forms of devotional practices. She also shows how these texts served as a bridge between material culture, in the form of textiles and book illumination, and mysticism. Kirakosian's multi-faceted study is an important contribution to current debates on medieval manuscript culture, authorship, and translation as objects of study in their own right.