Proving Woman: Female Spirituality and Inquisitional Culture in the Later Middle Ages / Edition 1

Proving Woman: Female Spirituality and Inquisitional Culture in the Later Middle Ages / Edition 1

by Dyan Elliott
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691118604

ISBN-13: 9780691118604

Pub. Date: 03/29/2004

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Around the year 1215, female mystics and their sacramental devotion were among orthodoxy's most sophisticated weapons in the fight against heresy. Holy women's claims to be in direct communication with God placed them in positions of unprecedented influence. Yet by the end of the Middle Ages female mystics were frequently mistrusted, derided, and in danger of their

…  See more details below

Overview

Around the year 1215, female mystics and their sacramental devotion were among orthodoxy's most sophisticated weapons in the fight against heresy. Holy women's claims to be in direct communication with God placed them in positions of unprecedented influence. Yet by the end of the Middle Ages female mystics were frequently mistrusted, derided, and in danger of their lives. The witch hunts were just around the corner.

While studies of sanctity and heresy tend to be undertaken separately, Proving Woman brings these two avenues of inquiry together by associating the downward trajectory of holy women with medieval society's progressive reliance on the inquisitional procedure. Inquisition was soon used for resolving most questions of proof. It was employed for distinguishing saints and heretics; it underwrote the new emphasis on confession in both sacramental and judicial spheres; and it heralded the reintroduction of torture as a mechanism for extracting proof through confession.

As women were progressively subjected to this screening, they became ensnared in the interlocking web of proofs. No aspect of female spirituality remained untouched. Since inquisition determined the need for tangible proofs, it even may have fostered the kind of excruciating illnesses and extraordinary bodily changes associated with female spirituality. In turn, the physical suffering of holy women became tacit support for all kinds of earthly suffering, even validating temporal mechanisms of justice in their most aggressive forms. The widespread adoption of inquisitional mechanisms for assessing female spirituality eventuated in a growing confusion between the saintly and heretical and the ultimate criminalization of female religious expression.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691118604
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/29/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations xi

Introduction 1

CHAPTER ONE

Sacramental Confession as Proof of Orthodoxy 9

PART ONE

Women as Proof of Orthodoxy

CHAPTER TWO

The Beguines: A Sponsored Emergence 47

CHAPTER THREE

Elisabeth of Hungary: Between Men 85

PART TWO

Inquisitions and Proof

CHAPTER FOUR

Sanctity, Heresy, and Inquisition 119

CHAPTER FIVE

Between Two Deaths: The Living Mystic 180

PART THREE

The Discernment of Spirits

CHAPTER SIX

Clerical Quibbles 233

CHAPTER SEVEN

John Gerson and Joan of Arc 264

CONCLUSION 297

Bibliography 305

Index 333

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >