Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 2651
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Otter , Monika.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Temptation of St. AEthelthryth
  • Source: Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 9, 1 (Spring 1997): Pages 139 - 163.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Authority Æthelthryth of Ely, Queen of Northumbria, Saint Body Gender Hagiography Liber Eliensis, Chronicle Monasticism Monks Rape Relics Sexuality Virginity Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 7, 12
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  • Abstract: Using the example of the shrine of St. AEthelthryth at Ely, the author explores how the cult of local saints is inflected by gender. The shrine of St. AEthelthryth, a closed marble sarcophagus with an inviting but forbidden hole in it, demonstrates the paradoxes of the cult of a female saint in male surroundings, as an object of veneration but also desire and temptation. The imagery and rhetoric used by the twelfth-century "Liber Eliensis" is compared to the contemporary language of anchoritism and enclosure of nuns. The all-male Ely community has inherited the shrine and cult from an older Anglo-Saxon mixed-gender community. The way in which the twelfth century texts deal with this legacy also reflects historical changes in religious gender politics. [Abstract submitted by the author to the Medieval Feminist Index.]
  • Author's Affiliation: Dartmouth College
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1997.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 10412573
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