Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4250
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Mews , Constant J.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Virginity, Theology, and Pedagogy in the "Speculum Virginum"
  • Source: Listen, Daughter: The "Speculum virginum" and the Formation of Religious Women in the Middle Ages.  Edited by Constant J. Mews.  The New Middle Ages Series. Palgrave, 2001.  Pages 15 - 40.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Dialogue in Literature Education Handbooks Hirsau, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany- Benedictine Abbey for Men Latin Literature Monasticism Monks Pastoral Care- Nuns Speculum Virginum, Latin Handbook for Nuns Theology Virginity Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: Germany
  • Century: 12
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Four figures. Figure One Manuscript illumination of the Tree of Jesse, beginning of "Speculum Virginum" 1 (London, British Library, Arundel 44, fol. 2v). Figure Two (numbered 4 at the back of the book) Manuscript illumination of Humility Conquering Pride, "Speculum Virginum," 4 (London, British Library, Arundel 44, fol. 34v). Figure Three (numbered 5 at the back of the book) Flesh and Spirit, beginning of "Speculum Virginum," 8 (London, British Library, Arundel 44, fol. 83v). Figure Four (numbered 6 at the back of the book) Temple of Wisdom, beginning of "Speculum Virginum," 12 (London, British Library, Arundel 44, fol. 114v).
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  • Abstract: This Chapter introduces the "Speculum virginum" as an original synthesis of teaching about women's religious life, composed in Germany in the first half of the twelfth century. It considers the evidence of a twelfth-century library catalogue of Hirsau, that it was written by a monk of Hirsau, known as Peregrinus, subsequently identified by Johannes Trithemius in the late fifteenth century as Conrad of Hirsau. The "Speculum virginum" was one of a number of pedagogically innovative writings by a prolific author, who delighted in creating fictional dialogues to provide instruction about the purpose of the religious life. The "Speculum virginum" puts forward the image of Theodora as a female disciple of Peregrinus, who instructs her in the meaning of true virginity and the correct relationship between flesh and spirit within the religious life. It provides a theology of the religious life for women that would be very influential in the Latin West until the eve of the Reformation. [Reproduced by permission of Palgrave].
  • Author's Affiliation: Monash University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0312240082
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