Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 13163
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Bynum , Caroline Walker.
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  • Title: Men's Use of Female Symbols [the author argues that pardoxically men, powerful and clerical, needed to become weak and human as "spiritual" women for salvation; the author concludes in part: "Whatever explanation one proposes, it is clear that women's way of using and living symbols was different from men's. The differences lay not merely in what symbols were chosen but also in how symbols related to self. Where men stressed male/ female contrasts and used imagery of reversal to express their dependence on God, women expressed their dependence on God in imagery at least partly drawn from their own gender and avoided symbolic reversals." (Pages 288-289)].
  • Source: Debating the Middle Ages: Issues and Readings.  Edited by Lester K. Little and Barbara H. Rosenwein.  Blackwell Publishers, 1998.  Pages 277 - 289. Originally published in Caroline Walker Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women. University of California Press, 1987. Pages 282-294.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Binary Opposition Femininity Gender Gender Reversal Imagery Masculinity Woman, Image of Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: General
  • Century: 12- 13- 14- 15
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  • Year of Publication: 1998.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 1577180070
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