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Lived Religion and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Lived Religion and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

by Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Raisa Maria Toivo


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This study is an exploration of lived religion and gender across the Reformation, from the 14th-18th centuries. Combining conceptual development with empirical history, the authors explore these two topics via themes of power, agency, work, family, sainthood and witchcraft.

By advancing the theoretical category of 'experience', Lived Religion and Gender reveals multiple femininities and masculinities in the intersectional context of lived religion. The authors analyse specific case studies from both medieval and early modern sources, such as secular court records, to tell the stories of both individuals and large social groups. By exploring lived religion and gender on a range of social levels including the domestic sphere, public devotion and spirituality, this study explains how late medieval and early modern people performed both religion and gender in ways that were vastly different from what ideologists have prescribed.

Lived Religion and Gender covers a wide geographical area in western Europe including Italy, Scandinavia and Finland, making this study an invaluable resource for scholars and students concerned with the history of religion, the history of gender, the history of the family, as well as medieval and early modern European history.

The Introduction of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license and is available here:

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781138544581
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 11/24/2020
Series: Themes in Medieval and Early Modern History
Pages: 154
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.19(h) x (d)

About the Author

Sari Katajala-Peltomaa is Senior Research Fellow at the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences at Tampere University, Finland. She specialises in late medieval hagiography and especially in canonisation processes. Her publications include Demonic Possession and Lived Religion in Later Medieval Europe (2020).

Raisa Maria Toivo is Professor at Tampere University and the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences at Tampere University, Finland. She specialises in history of early modern religion, gender, family and court records. Her publications include Faith and Magic in Early Modern Finland (2016).

Table of Contents

List of figures vii

List of maps viii

Acknowledgements ix

Chronology x

Introduction to medieval and early modern experiences of gender and faith 1

Lived religion, lived gender 2

Experience: from lived reality to analytical category 11

Medieval and early modern Europe 14

The structure of the book 16

Bibliography 21

1 Lived religion and lived gender in family life 25

Saint Thomas' virgin in the tavern 25

Husband and wife 35

Married life in practice 39

The violent witch, his whoring sister-in-law and their grieving mother 45

Bad and holy mothers, caring and punishing fathers 49

Conclusions 53

Bibliography 58

Unprinted source material 58

Printed source material 58

Literature 58

2 Gender in public devotion 65

Making the private visible: pilgrimages 66

Manhood and masculinity as lived practice of religion 75

Lay people talking about religion 86

Conclusions 88

Bibliography 92

Unprinted source material 92

Printed source material 92

Literature 92

3 Spirituality, sinfulness and gender 97

Mother of God and other holy virgins: body and piety 98

The lay Marys: women religious 105

Vade diabolo - go to the Devil! 108

Demonology, witchcraft and gender 115

Sin and faith embodied 121

Conclusions 125

Bibliography 134

Unprinted source material 134

Printed source material 134

Literature 134

4 Conclusions: structures of experiencing gender and religion from the medieval to the early modern period 143

Index 150

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