Mulieres Religiosae: Shaping Female Spiritual Authority in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods

By Swan, Laura | Magistra, Winter 2015 | Go to article overview

Mulieres Religiosae: Shaping Female Spiritual Authority in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods


Swan, Laura, Magistra


Mulieres Religiosae: Shaping Female Spiritual Authority in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods, ed. Veerle Fraeters and Imke de Gier. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2014. 311 pp., $118, ISBN 978-2-503-54912-5.

What constitutes women's spiritual authority? How was it acquired and expressed (ex gratia through vision and prophecy rather than ex officio)? How did it evolve and change over the centuries? How did women shape their religious lives within limits defined by Church authorities? How did they exercise leadership? This collection of essays explores these and other questions. Some essays explore aspects of better known women, such as Elisabeth of Schönau, Marguerite Porete, Jeanne de Valois, and Julian of Norwich. Lesser known women, such as St. Margareta of Hungary and Lukardis von Oberweimar, are included. There are also groups of women, including the Dominican Observant Movement in Italy, the Bridgettine Abbey of Vadstena, Diepenveen, the Visitandines of Brussels, and the ospedali of Venice, who were creating and claiming spiritual authority and renegotiating spiritual authority and its pervasiveness in broader society. …

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