Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4102
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Jussen , Bernhard.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Virgins- Widows- Spouses: On the Language of Moral Distinction as Applied to Women and Men in the Middle Ages
  • Source: History of the Family 7, 1 ( 2002): Pages 13 - 32.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Bernard of Clairvaux, Theologian, Saint Eckhart, Meister, Mystic Gender Heaven Life Cycle Morality Social History Virginity Widows Wives Women's Status
  • Geographic Area: General
  • Century: 11-12
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  • Abstract: The focus of this paper is on the meaning enshrined in the rhetorical formula ''Virgins-Widows-Spouses,'' according to which women could expect to receive a 100-, 60-, or 30-fold reward, respectively, in the life hereafter. Initially formulated around 400 A.D., the formula rapidly became an abbreviation for an understanding of society that was used to conceptualize and legitimize religious practices and the political-social order. Although used especially to define a normative standard for women, it was also frequently lauded as a model for men. The idea of widow, applied to men and women, represented the connection between penance and asceticism. Since the 13th century, however, references to virgins, widows, and spouses ceased for the most part to denote a moral standing based on merit regardless of sex and instead came to designate women according to their stage in life. Men, by contrast, were ranked according to their occupations. [Reproduced from the publisher's website: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/the-history-of-the-family/]
  • Author's Affiliation: Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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