Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Schwesternspiegel Im 15. Jahrhundert. Gattungskonstitution - Editionen - Untersuchungen

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Schwesternspiegel Im 15. Jahrhundert. Gattungskonstitution - Editionen - Untersuchungen

Article excerpt

Ekkehard Borries, Schwesternspiegel im ij. Jahrhundert. Gattungskonstitution - Editionen - Untersuchungen (Berlin and New York de Gruyter, 2008). xiii + 540 pp. ISBN 978- 3-1 1020070-6. euroi48.oo/$207.oo. This book consists of two parts, an edition of a late medieval German didactic prose text for nuns, Die besessene Schwester Agnes, and a monograph in which the text is placed within the spectrum of German vernacular writing for religious women as a 'mirror for sisters' (Schwesternspiegel). The second part explores approaches to questions such as genre, authorship, function, and reception, and suggests a functional association with the writings of Eberhard Mardach OP, Johannes Mayer OP, and Heinrich Vigilis von Weißenburg OFM. The relationship to the German sister-books (which were composed some 1 50 years earlier) is interestingly problematized.

The text, some sixty-five pages in the edition, consists of a series of loosely arranged speeches, pardy in answer to specific questions put by the sisters, setting out the basic tenets of the religious life in a community of women, and placed in the mouth of a demon who has possessed the body of Sister Agnes (see die valuable overview on pp. 3 14-21). The original seems to have been composed in Dutch at the house of 'Sisters of die Common life' in 's-Hertogenbosch in 1449, but of eight surviving manuscripts six offer an Upper German reworking, one a Latin translation, and we have only a single, abbreviated text in Dutch. …

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