Medieval Religious Women in the Low Countries

March 2002
292 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843830481
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Medieval Religious Women in the Low Countries

The `Modern Devotion', the Canonesses of Windesheim, and their Writings

Wybren Scheepsma

Translated by David F. Johnson

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A case study of the Chapter of Windesheim and the texts produced there illuminates the female spiritual experience of the Modern Devotion, a northern European movement of the late fourteenth century.
In the last decades of the fourteenth century a new religious movement arose in the northern Low Countries, the so-called Modern Devotion, which had a major influence upon religious life in Europe, and wasparticularly popular with women. Until now there has been no study of the women who played a part in the movement, but this book seeks to fill the gap through a case study of the Chapter of Windesheim and the mystical and religious texts its sisters produced, typical of the female spiritual experience of the Modern Devotion. The author analyses texts by such important canonesses as Salome Sticken, Alijt Bake and Jacominje Costers, placing them in the context of daily life in the convent; the anonymous sisterbook of the largest convent at Diepenveen also proves a rich source of historical information. Although the women were all concerned with improving religious life in their convents, their ways of doing so are shown to have varied dramatically, leading to conflict with both other members of the convent, and the male leaders of the Chapter; significant in this regard is Bake's vision of a mystical spirituality, which ultimately led to her ejection from the convent and exile.

WYBREN SCHEEPSMA teaches Dutch language at the Hogeschool Leiden.

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Opens an exciting set of sources and ideas that medievalists from a variety of disciplines will find extremely valuable. MEDIAEVISTIK
A most welcome addition to the extensive scholarship already available. [.] The book is not only itself a contribution to our knowledge of these women, but is valuable as a research tool providing leads into new avenues of enquiry. JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

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