This book is a study of three medieval women mystics, Hildegard of Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Julian of Norwich, all of whom articulated their special revelations, even when they diverged from orthodox doctrine, in their writings. Each of the women is here more fully revealed to a 20th-century audience by Frances Beer's close textual analysis of her work, supported by such biographical detail as remains. Their social milieu and historical context, carefully considered, also help us to understand them as individuals: Hildegard's perception of the Creator is informed by the heroic ideal, while Mechthild's erotic experience seems to reveal the influence of the minnesingers. Julian's experience of tender intimacy with her Lord reveals an egalitarian confidence in the ability of the individual soul to progress towards oneness with the divine. Their individual natures are also further revealed through the author's examination of their resolution of a number of theological problems. By contrast, the works of two medieval men writing for women are also explored, for an indication of the degree to which their approach might be informed by antifeminism, and to compare their approach to the experience of union with that of Hildegard, Mechthild or Julian.
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FRANCES BEER is Associate Professor of English at York University, Toronto.Review:
A fascinating and detailed account of medieval spirituality from a feminine perspective... The clarity and liveliness of her writing make her scholarly analysis accessible and highly worthwhile [to undergraduates as well as to graduate students.] --Choice
Beer's elegantly written study affirms the sanity, autonomy and religious genius of her medieval heroines... [She] provides an ideological context for the choice of the religious life [: unthinking misogyny parroted from classical texts; Germanic and Anglo-Saxon admiration for the `valorous woman' at the head of the warrior band and for the virgin who despises torture; the disconcerting shift of erotic idealisation of a remote lady and the relationship of love poetry to the praise of Christ the Bridegroom]. --Times Higher Education Supplement
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Book Description Univ of Rochester Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11085115302X
Book Description Univ of Rochester Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX085115302X