Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 5022
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  • Title: Late Medieval Care and Control of Women: Jean Gerson and His Sisters [Gerson wrote a series of letters and treatises for his six sisters in which he outlined a life devoted to virginity and to prayer in the family home; he specifically told them not to join a religious house for women; texts by Gerson discussed in the article are: "Sept enseignements et autres extraits du Traité sur l'excellence de la virginité" (after 1395), "Neuf considerations" (late 1390s), "Montaigne de contemplation" (1399 or 1400), "Onze ordonnances" (after June 1401), and "Dialogue spirituel" (1407 or 1408)].
  • Source: Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique 92, 1 (janvier-mars 1997): Pages 5 - 37.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Brothers Family Gerson, Jean, Theologian Handbooks Lay Piety Marriage in Literature Recluses Sexuality in Literature Sisters Virginity in Literature Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 14- 15
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  • Abstract: Jean Gerson (1363-1429) is a central figure in the reform of the later medieval church, especially in efforts to end the papal schism. But he is much less known for several treatises of advice for his sisters. These writings belong to a long tradition going back to the Fathers of the Church, but Gerson provides a freshness of approach and a wealth of detail that reveal the immediacy of his concerns, especially for the welfare of his sisters. Gerson constructed a form of community life for his sisters at the family home and continued for more than a decade to provide advice. This concern is seen in the context of clerical attempts to control the behavior of women. Gerson's treatises were, not by chance, used in the witch hunt literature of the post-medieval age and so deserve reconsideration in terms of the best of intentions and the worst of results. [Reproduced by permission of the Université Catholique de Louvain.]
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  • Year of Publication: 1997.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00352381
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