Elisabeth of Schonau: A Twelfth-Century Visionary

Synopsis

"Throughout her adult life, the twelfth-century Benedictine nun Elisabeth of Schonau claimed to receive divine revelation through a series of ecstatic visionary experiences. Her reflections on these experiences were recorded and provide both a rich source of understanding of the religious life of a medieval woman and an important perspective on the religious and political ferment of mid-twelfth-century Germany. Anne L. Clark has written the first comprehensive study of Elisabeth of Schonau. In it, she points out that Elisabeth did not transcribe her own revelations, but rather dictated them to the other nuns of the convent and to her brother Ekbert. Clark takes on the problem of Elisabeth's literary and examines the nature and extent of Elisabeth and Ekbert's collaboration. In addition, Clark offers a new interpretation of Elisabeth's relationship with Hildegard of Bingen, her celebrated - and more studied - contemporary. Clark contends that Elisabeth was not a timid emulator of a brilliant mentor; instead, she had her own spiritual perspective and her own means of expressing it. In this way, Clark firmly establishes the originality of Elisabeth's visionary accounts. In the course of the text, Clark highlights the social dynamics revealed in these religious meditations, particularly Elisabeth's place in a world in which women were subordinated to male authority and lay people were subordinated to the religious authority of the clergy. Elisabeth of Schonau is an informative and ground-breaking work. It will be of particular interest to scholars and students of medieval religion and mysticism, as well as women's studies." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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