Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4992
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  • Title: Lame Margaret of Magdeburg: The Social Function of a Medieval Recluse
  • Source: Journal of Medieval History 22, 2 (June 1996): Pages 155 - 169.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Anchoresses Beguines Hagiography Margaret the Lame of Magdeburg, Recluse Mystics Religious Life Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: Germany
  • Century: 13
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  • Abstract: In the "Vita Margarete contracte," probably written around the middle of the thirteenth century by the Dominican Friar John, we meet with the female recluse Lame Margaret from Magdeburg, who, disabled from early youth and an outcast in her own family, found solace in the service of the Lord. John, who was Margaret's confessor, portrays her as a very ascetic and devoted recluse. However, he pays most attention to the revelations she received from the Lord; they contain the particular spiritual and devotional ideas which Margaret shared with him and the people around. Fasting and praying, living in the heart of the town, the faithful passing by and almost touching the holy in the anchorage, Margaret was in an excellent position to acquire charismatic authority. She was therefore seen as an intercessor with God on behalf of the community. It was not "ex officio" that she exerted her power as the clergymen did, but "ex gratia," based on her special election by God. For the faithful in town the benefits were the same. [Reprinted from Journal of Medieval History 22, Mulder-Bakker, "Lame Margaret of Magdeburg: the social function of a medieval recluse," 155, 1996, with permission from Elsevier Science.]
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  • Year of Publication: 1996.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 03044181
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