By the late Anglo-Saxon period almost all newly founded nunneries were founded by royal patronage. This detailed study, which traces the histories of royal nunneries in the 7th and 8th centuries, examines how they differed from other types of religious communities in terms of their organisation, status, special secular and ecclesiastical features and the authority and power which the abbess and other women held. Barbara Yorke reveals how the royal nunneries were not only subject to the changing fortunes of the Church and state, but also to the successes and failures of the royal houses that patronised them. This particular group of nunneries is also compared and contrasted with the variety of other arrangements available to religious women, both within and outside of convents and male religious establishments, and with gender and societal norms.
Religion, Politics and Society in Britain, 600-800
Author: Barbara Yorke
The Britain of 600-800 AD was populated by four distinct peoples; the British, Picts, Irish and Anglo-Saxons. They spoke 3 different languages, Gaelic, Brittonic and Old English, and lived in a diverse cultural environment. In 600 the British and the Irish were already Christians. In contrast the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons and Picts occurred somewhat later, at the end of the 6th and during the 7th century. Religion was one of the ways through which cultural difference was expressed, and the rulers of different areas of Britain dictated the nature of the dominant religion in areas under their control. This book uses the Conversion and the Christianisation of the different peoples of Britainas a framework through which to explore the workings of their political systems and the structures of their society. Because Christianity adapted to and affected the existing religious beliefs and social norms wherever it was introduced, it’s the perfect medium through which to study various aspects of society that are difficult to study by any other means.
The Ministries of Benedictine Women in England during the Central Middle Ages
Author: Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis
Publisher: Oxford University Press
In her ground-breaking new study, Katie Bugyis offers a new history of communities of Benedictine nuns in England from 900 to 1225. By applying innovative paleographical, codicological, and textual analyses to their surviving liturgical books, Bugyis recovers a treasure trove of unexamined evidence for understanding these women's lives and the liturgical and pastoral ministries they performed. She examines the duties and responsibilities of their chief monastic officers--abbesses, prioresses, cantors, and sacristans--highlighting three of the ministries vital to their practice-liturgically reading the gospel, hearing confessions, and offering intercessory prayers for others. Where previous scholarship has argued that the various reforms of the central Middle Ages effectively relegated nuns to complete dependency on the sacramental ministrations of priests, Bugyis shows that, in fact, these women continued to exercise primary control over their spiritual care. Essential to this argument is the discovery that the production of the liturgical books used in these communities was carried out by female scribes, copyists, correctors, and creators of texts, attesting to the agency and creativity that nuns exercised in the care they extended to themselves and those who sought their hospitality, counsel, instruction, healing, forgiveness, and intercession.
By tapping into the vast reservoir of undertreated early English documents and texts, the collected studies explore how individuals living in the late tenth through fifteenth centuries engaged with the authorizing culture of the Anglo-Saxons.
A survey of the life, historical and political impacts, and textual sources associated with the early medieval English missionary and church reformer Boniface, who was active in the eighth century in what is today Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
Presents the Anglo-Saxon period of English history from the fifth century up to the late eleventh century, covering such events as the spread of Christianity, the invasions of the Vikings, the composition of Beowulf, and the Battle of Hastings.
Within Anglo-Saxon England there was a strong and enduring tradition of royal sanctity - of men and women of royal birth who, in an age before the development of papal canonisation, came to be venerated as saints by the regional church. This study, which focuses on some of the best-documented cults of the ancient kingdoms of Wessex and East Anglia, is a contribution towards understanding the growth and continuing importance of England's royal cults. The author examines contemporary and near-contemporary theoretical interpretations of the relationship between royal birth and sanctity, analyses in depth the historical process of cult-creation, and addresses the problem of continuity of cult in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest of 1066. An understanding therefore emerges of the place of the English royal saint not only in Anglo-Saxon society but also in that of the Anglo-Norman realm.
Narratives of Agency and Identity in Later Anglo-Saxon England
Author: Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Explores how a Christian notion of freedom incurring responsibility was a component of identity, examining secular writings, liturgy, canon and civil law, chronicle, dialogue, and hagiography to analyze the practice of obedience in the monastic context.
Prayer and Thought in Monastic Tradition presents a chronological picture of the development of monastic thought and prayer from the early English Church (Bede, Adomnan) through to the 17th Century and William Law's religious community at King's Cliffe. Essays interact with different facets of monastic life, assessing the development and contribution of figures such as Boniface, the Venerable Bede, Anselm of Canterbury and Bernard of Clairvaux. The varying modes and outputs of the monastic life of prayer are considered, with focus on the use of different literary techniques in the creation of monastic documents, the interaction between monks and the laity, the creation of prayers and the purpose and structure of prayer in different contexts. The volume also discusses the nature of translation of classic monastic works, and the difficulties the translator faces. The highly distinguished contributors include; G.R. Evans, Sarah Foot, Henry Mayr-Harting, Brian McGuire, Henry Wansbrough and Rowan Williams.
In Gender and Christianity in Medieval Europe, six historians explore how medieval people professed Christianity, how they performed gender, and how the two coincided. Many of the daily religious decisions people made were influenced by gender roles, the authors contend. Women's pious donations, for instance, were limited by laws of inheritance and marriage customs; male clerics' behavior depended upon their understanding of masculinity as much as on the demands of liturgy. The job of religious practitioner, whether as a nun, monk, priest, bishop, or some less formal participant, involved not only professing a set of religious ideals but also professing gender in both ideal and practical terms. The authors also argue that medieval Europeans chose how to be women or men (or some complex combination of the two), just as they decided whether and how to be religious. In this sense, religious institutions freed men and women from some of the gendered limits otherwise imposed by society. Whereas previous scholarship has tended to focus exclusively either on masculinity or on aristocratic women, the authors define their topic to study gender in a fuller and more richly nuanced fashion. Likewise, their essays strive for a generous definition of religious history, which has too often been a history of its most visible participants and dominant discourses. In stepping back from received assumptions about religion, gender, and history and by considering what the terms "woman," "man," and "religious" truly mean for historians, the book ultimately enhances our understanding of the gendered implications of every pious thought and ritual gesture of medieval Christians. Contributors: Dyan Elliott is John Evans Professor of History at Northwestern University. Ruth Mazo Karras is professor of history at the University of Minnesota, and the general editor of The Middle Ages Series for the University of Pennsyvlania Press. Jacqueline Murray is dean of arts and professor of history at the University of Guelph. Jane Tibbetts Schulenberg is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin—Madison
Gender and the City before Modernity presents a series ofmulti-disciplinary readings that explore issues relating to therole of gender in a variety of cities of the ancient, medieval, andearly modern worlds. Presents an inter-disciplinary collection of readings thatreveal new insights into the intersection of gender, temporality,and urban space Features a wide geographical and methodological range Includes numerous illustrations to enhance clarity
The twelve essays in this collection advance the contemporary study of the women saints of Anglo-Saxon England by challenging received wisdom and offering alternative methodologies. The work embraces a number of different scholarly approaches, from codicological study to feminist theory. While some contributions are dedicated to the description and reconstruction of female lives of saints and their cults, others explore the broader ideological and cultural investments of the literature. The volume concentrates on four major areas: the female saint in the Old English Martyrology, genre including hagiography and homelitic writing, motherhood and chastity, and differing perspectives on lives of virgin martyrs. The essays reveal how saints' lives that exist on the apparent margins of orthodoxy actually demonstrate a successful literary challenge extending the idea of a holy life.
Looks at various sorts and conditions of women from c500 to c1500 AD, focusing on common experiences over their life-cycle, and the contrasts derived from their position in the social hierarchy. This book shows how, in bringing up their children and balancing family and work, medieval women faced many of the problems of their modern counterparts.
Interest in the middle ages is at an all time high at the moment, thanks in part to "The Da Vinci Code." Never has there been a moment more propitious for a study of our misconceptions of the Middle Ages than now. Ranging across religion, art, and science, Misconceptions about the Middle Ages unravels some of the many misinterpretations that have evolved concerning the medieval period, including: the church war science art society With an impressive international array of contributions, the book will be essential reading for students and scholars involved with medieval religion, history, and culture.