Women and Religion in Medieval and Renaissance Italy

Overview

Between the twelfth and the sixteenth centuries, women assumed public roles of unprecedented prominence in Italian religious culture. Legally subordinated, politically excluded, socially limited, and ideologically disdained, women's active participation in religious life offered them access to power in all its forms.

These essays explore the involvement of women in religious life throughout northern and central Italy and trace the evolution of communities of pious women as they ...

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Overview

Between the twelfth and the sixteenth centuries, women assumed public roles of unprecedented prominence in Italian religious culture. Legally subordinated, politically excluded, socially limited, and ideologically disdained, women's active participation in religious life offered them access to power in all its forms.

These essays explore the involvement of women in religious life throughout northern and central Italy and trace the evolution of communities of pious women as they tried to achieve their devotional goals despite the strictures of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The contributors examine relations between holy women, their devout followers, and society at large.

Including contributions from leading figures in a new generation of Italian historians of religion, this book shows how women were able to carve out broad areas of influence by carefully exploiting the institutional church and by astutely manipulating religious percepts.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Explores the religious experience of women in northern and central Italy from the 12th to the 16th centuries, when despite lacking institutional authority in state or church many became influential spiritual and moral leaders. Most of the 12 essays focus on a particular figure or community, but others discuss general topics such as mystics, visions, iconography, typology, historiography, and sources. Originally published as Mistiche e devote nell'Italia tardomedievale by Liguori Editore, Srl in 1992. Paper edition (unseen), $16.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226066394
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1996
  • Series: Women in Culture and Society Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 334
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Daniel Bornstein is associate professor of history at Texas A&M University. Roberto Rusconi is professor of Church history at the University of L'Aquila.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
1 Women and Religion in Late Medieval Italy: History and Historiography 1
2 A Community of Female Penitents in Thirteenth-Century Padua 28
3 Clare, Agnes, and Their Earliest Followers: From the Poor Ladies of San Damiano to the Poor Clares 39
4 Anchoresses and Penitents in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Umbria 56
5 Mendicant Friars and Female Pinzochere in Tuscany: From Social Marginality to Models of Sanctity 84
6 The Apostolic Canonization Proceedings of Clare of Montefalco, 1318-1319 104
7 Female, Mystics, Visions, and Iconography 130
8 Imitable Sanctity: The Legend of Maria of Venice 165
9 St. Bernardino of Siena, the Wife, and Possessions 182
10 St. Francesca and the Female Religious Communities of Fifteenth-Century Rome 197
11 Living Saints: A Typology of Female Sanctity in the Early Sixteenth Century 219
Afterword: Women Religious in Late Medieval Italy: New Sources and Directions 305
Index 327
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