Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 915
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Brundage , James A. and Elizabeth M. Makowski
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Enclosure of Nuns: The Decretal "Periculoso" and Its Commentators [Benedict's decretal required strict enclosure for all nuns, regardless of the rule under which they lived or their rank; the authors include a translation of "Periculoso" in an appendix, pages 154-155].
  • Source: Journal of Medieval History 20, 2 (June 1994): Pages 143 - 155.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article;Translation
  • Subject (See Also): Boniface VIII, Pope- Liber Sextus- Periculoso Canon Law Decretals Monastic Enclosure Nuns Popes Sexuality Virginity Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: General
  • Century: 14
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  • Abstract: Boniface VIII's decretal, "Periculoso" (1298) prescribed new and more rigorous standards for the enclosure of religious women than the Western church had previously demanded. Earlier claustration regulations had sought to shelter religious women behind walls in order to provide them with a safe haven from the violence of the outside world. "Periculoso," on the other hand, was concerned above all with isolating nuns from opportunities for sexual transgressions in order to protect their fragile virtue from overwhelming temptations to sin. Canonistic writers overwhelmingly favored a strict interpretation of this decretal. Their observations on the text reflected current fears that women were inherently passionate and lusted after sexual fulfillment even more ardently than men. Canonistic comments of "Periculoso" illustrate changes in gender stereotypes that were becoming current in the fourteenth century. Writers on "Periculoso" also reflected upon the circumstances under which the pope may empower princes and other secular rulers to enforce ecclesiastical law. [Reprinted from Journal of Medieval History 20, Brundage and Makowski, "Enclosure of nuns: the decretal "Periculoso" and its commentators," 143, 1994, with permission from Elsevier Science.]
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Kansas (Brundage);Southwest Texas University (Makowski)
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1994.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 03044181
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