Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4382
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  • Title: Bede's Women
  • Source: Women, Marriage, and Family in Medieval Christendom: Essays in Memory of Michael M. Sheehan, C.S.B.  Edited by Constance M. Rousseau and Joel T. Rosenthal.  Western Michigan University, 1998.  Pages 19 - 46.
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  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Abbesses Bede, the Venerable, Scholar- Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum Hagiography Latin Literature Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 7
  • Related Resources: David Pelteret examines Bede's writing, especially the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, to assess the level of Bede's misogyny. The merit of such a project lies in Pelteret's point that Bede's misogyny is not explicit, like Pelteret's twelfth-century example,[2] but rather more insidious, and thus, possibly, more dangerous. Bede discusses women in limited terms, and on limited occasions, largely to suit his political purposes, Pelteret finds. Hild, Aelfflaed, Aethelburh and Aethelthryth are not allowed their own voices, are conceived largely as mother/virgin figures, and serve mainly to help Bede reduce Wilfrid's stature. While these conclusions are not surprising (although perhaps disheartening -- et tu, Bede?), the essay serves as a salutary reminder that standard, seemingly objective sources are embedded in a larger culture which influences them heavily. Bede did not escape his culture, and his female heros as a consequence do not escape that culture's limits on women." From the review written by Miriam Shadis of "Women, Marriage, and Family in Medieval Christendom," "Medieval Review" (TMR ID: 96.12.11). [Reproduced by permission of the "Medieval Review."].
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  • Year of Publication: 1998.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 1879288656
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