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From Virile Woman to WomanChrist

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Table of Contents

Illustrations Introduction 1. Flaws in the Golden Bowl: Gender and Spiritual Formation in the Twelfth Century 2. Authority, Authenticity, and the Repression of Heloise 3. "Crueel Corage": Child Sacrifice and the Maternal Martyr in Hagiography and Romance 4. On the Threshold of the Dead: Purgatory, Hell, and Religious Women 5. La Mystique Courtoise: Thirteenth-Century Beguines and the Art of Love Excursus 1. Hadewijch and Abelard Excursus 2. Gnostics, Free Spirits, and "Meister Eckhart's Daughter" 6. WomanSpirit, Woman Pope 7. Renaissance Feminism and Esoteric Theology: The Case of Cornelius Agrippa Epilogue Abbreviations Notes Appendix A: Religious Literature of Formation, 1075-1225 Appendix B: Glossary of Religious Women Works Cited Index

About the Author

Barbara Newman is Professor of English and Religion at Northwestern University. She is author of Sister of Wisdom: St. Hildegard's Theology of the Feminine and editor and translator of Hildegard of Bingen's Symphonia.


"An erudite and wonderful book."--Caroline Walker Bynum "Barbara Newman has written the most wide-ranging and throughly researched study to date of women's religious literature of the Middle Ages. Ranging across time ... regional and linguistic borders ... and genres, Newman provides enough examples to sink an armada of skeptics who would dismiss medieval female piety as somehow unrepresentative of high medieval culture. The range of examples is itself dazzling, and students of religious and feminist history will treasure this book But to prodigious learning and careful scholarship Newman adds a writer's gift for being both clear and engaging... From Virile Woman to WomanChrist is not only good scholarship but a good read."--Studies in the Age of Chaucer "Newman skillfully searches out explicit and implied attitudes toward the female sex. She uncovers, in addition to expected differences, a key contrast in what is meant by formation for each sex... This book makes splendid contributions to religious and literary studies on more than one front... The sheer comprehensiveness of the texts, themes, and persons integrated into this study recommends it to a wide readership."--Speculum "In this engaging, informative work, Barbara Newman intends to explore 'women's gender-specific dilemmas, choices, and ways of being Christian during the period from approximately 1100 through 1500.' ... The important work of Newman certainly helps us to understand the background of the emergence of this still very 'intricate web' ... of religious and intellectual teachings by women."--The Journal of Religion "Barbara Newman has written an erudite and wonderful book. Drawing on and in many ways surpassing the flood of work on medieval religious women produced in the past fifteen years ... , she gives us a set of learned, thoughtful, and interrelated essays, written in lucid and beautiful prose... From Virile Woman to WomanChrist should be required reading in every university-level women's studies course--for its method, its substance, and its prose."--Caroline Walker Bynum, The Catholic Historical Review

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