Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 6843
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Faesen , Rob S.J.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Was Hadewijch a Beguine or a Cistercian? An Annotated Hypothesis
  • Source: Cîteaux: Revue d'Histoire Cistercienne 55, 40180 ( 2004): Pages 47 - 63.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Beguines Cistercian Order Hadewijch, Mystic Monasticism Mystics Van Mierlo, Jozef, Literary Historian (1878-1958) Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: Low Countries
  • Century: 13
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  • Abstract: Ever since Jozef Van Mierlo produced his edition of Hadewijch's works - "one of the most gifted and intellectually inclined mystical poets of the thirteenth century" - it has been commonly believed that Hadewijch was a beguine. This was, however, only a hypothesis, albeit one that Van Mierlo argued convincingly although he was unable to prove it. A critical analysis of his arguments reveals that other hypotheses concerning her identity are possible, and that Hadewijch may have been a Cistercian. This alternative hypothesis rests on countless parallels between the contents of her work and themes recounted in the "vitae" of 13th c. Cistercian mystics in the diocese of Liège. Furthermore, Van Mierlo had himself suggested this possibility by drawing attention to the first abbess of Valduc Abbey, who was named Hawidis (Helwidem, Heleidem). This Cisterican abbey was founded not far from Louvain by Henry II, Duke of Brabant. Certain elements in Hadewijch's work may, from this perspective, be seen in a new light. [Reproduced by permission of Citeaux: Commentarii cistercienses (http://www.citeaux.org/).]
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Antwerp
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2004.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 07744919
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