Listen Daughter: The Speculum Virginum and the Formation of Religious Women in the Middle Ages by Constant J. Mews, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Listen Daughter: The Speculum Virginum and the Formation of Religious Women in the Middle Ages

Listen Daughter: The Speculum Virginum and the Formation of Religious Women in the Middle Ages

by Constant J. Mews
     
 
The words 'Listen daughter' (Audi filia, from Psalm 44 in the Latin Vulgate) were frequently used in exhortations to religious women in the twelfth century. This was a period of dramatic growth in the involvement of women in various forms of religious life. While Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) has become widely known in recent years as one of the most eloquent and

Overview

The words 'Listen daughter' (Audi filia, from Psalm 44 in the Latin Vulgate) were frequently used in exhortations to religious women in the twelfth century. This was a period of dramatic growth in the involvement of women in various forms of religious life. While Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) has become widely known in recent years as one of the most eloquent and original voices of the period, she is often seen as a figure in isolation from her context. She lived at a time of much questioning of traditional models of religious life, by women as well as by men. This volume introduces readers to a range of strategies provoked by the growth in women's participation in religious life in one form or another, as well as to male responses to this development. In particular, it looks at the 'Mirror for Virgins' (Speculum Virginum), an illustrated dialogue between a nun and her spiritual mentor written by a monk not long before Hildegard started to record her visions. While this treatise engages in dialogue with a fictional virgin, other writings present women (not just Hildegard) as teaching both women and men. An appendix will provide the first English translation of significant excerpts from the Speculum, as well as from other little known texts about religious women from the age of Hildegard. The underlying concern of this volume is to examine new ways in which religious life for women was conceived by men as well as interpreted in practice by women within a society firmly patriarchal in character.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'Constant Mews has contributed to, and drawn together, an excellent collection of articles which advances understanding of the Speculum virginum and of the learning, development and position of religious women in the Middle Ages.' - Rosemary Dunn, Parergon

Library Journal
Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology at Monash University and author of The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard, Mews provides an introduction to the 12th-century Speculum virginum ("Mirror for Virgins") along with 12 essays by various contributors, situating the work in its historical and ecclesiastical milieu. Supplementing the essays is the first English translation of almost 30 pages of excerpts from this medieval work. Speculum virginum, an illustrated dialog between a virgin and her male spiritual mentor, was written by a monk at a time when the role of religious women was changing. In this text, which was significant to the identity of religious women between the 12th and early 16th centuries, he explains what is expected of her in her devotion to the religious life. Such written spiritual discourses were previously devoted to male-male instructional relationships. Informed by thorough scholarship, this volume provides insight into the changing world of religious women and will especially interest medievalists and feminists. Highly recommended for academic and seminary collections. Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Coll., Farmville, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312240080
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date:
02/08/2002
Series:
The New Middle Ages Series
Edition description:
2002
Pages:
306
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.03(d)

Meet the Author

Constant J. Mews teaches in the School of Historical Studies, at Monash University, where he is also Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology.

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