Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 14648
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Bos , Elisabeth.
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  • Title: The Literature of Spiritual Formation for Women in France and England, 1080-1180 [The author draws on letters written by such notable ecclesiastics as Peter the Venerable, Anselm, and Bernard of Clairvaux to nuns and to secular women, offering them advice on their spiritual problems].
  • Source: Listen, Daughter: The "Speculum virginum" and the Formation of Religious Women in the Middle Ages.  Edited by Constant J. Mews.  The New Middle Ages Series. Palgrave, 2001.  Pages 201 - 220.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Chastity Gender Human Behavior Letters Monasticism Pastoral Care- Nuns Virginity Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: British Isles;France
  • Century: 11-12
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  • Abstract: This chapter explores the extensive literature of spiritual instruction for religious women produced in France and England from the time of St. Anselm to that of Peter of Blois. It considers the question of whether or not spiritual advice for women differed from that provided to men. The chapter argues that far from simply exhorting religious women to maintain an existing state of virginity, such literature encouraged women to pursue interior growth in self-discipline and virtue. Virginity was sometimes used to refer more to religious chastity than to physical integrity. There is a close parallel here with the "Speculum virginum," although no composition comparable in scale ever circulated in England or France during the twelfth century. There are ceratinly major differences between the imagery employed for writings addressed to women and imagery directed to men. The underlying spiritual principles, however, were the same. [Reproduced by permission of Palgrave].
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  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0312240082
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