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Listen Daughter

The words "Listen daughter" (Audi filia, from Psalm 44 in the Latin Vulgate) were frequently used in exhortations to religious women in the 12th century. This was a period of dramatic growth in the involvement of women in various forms of religious life. While Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) has become widely known in recent years as one of the most eloquent and original voices of the period, she is often seen as a figure in isolation from her context. She lived at a time of much questioning of traditional models of religious life, by women as well as by men. This volume introduces readers to a range of strategies provoked by the growth in women's participation in religious life in one form or another, as well as to male responses to this development. In particular, it looks at the "Mirror for Virgins" (Speculum Virginum), an illustrated dialogue between a nun and her spiritual mentor written by a monk not long before Hildegard started to record her visions. While this treatise engages in dialogue with a fictional virgin, other writings present women (not just Hildegard) as teaching both women and men. An appendix provides the first English translation of significant excerpts from the Speculum, as well as from other little known texts about religious women from the age of Hildegard. The underlying concern of this volume is to examine new ways in which religious life for women was conceived by men as well as interpreted in practice by women within a society firmly patriarchal in character.
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Table of Contents

Virginity, Theology, and Pedagogy in the Speculum virginum; C.J.Mews The Speculum virginum : The Testimony of the Manuscripts; J.Seyfarth Female Religious Life and the Cura Monialium in Hirsau Monasticism c. 1080-1150; J.Hotchin From Ecclesiology to Mariology: Patristic Traces and Innovation in the Speculum virginum; K.E.Power The Speculum virginum and the Audio-visual Poetics of Women's Religious Instruction; M.Powell 'Listen, Daughters of Light': The Epithalamium and Musical Innovation in Germany c. 1150; C.Jeffreys The Cloister and the Garden: Gendered Images of Religious Life from the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries; J.M.Pinder The Speculum virginum and Traditions of Medieval Dialogue; S.Flanagan The Literature of Spiritual Formation for Women in France and England 1080-1180; E.Bos Herrad of Hohenbourg: A Synthesis of Learning in The Garden of Delights ; F.Griffiths The Second Blossoming of a Text: The Spieghel der Maechden and the Modern Devotion; U.Kusters The Speculum virginum : Translated Excerpts; B.Newman

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CONSTANT J. MEWS teaches in the Department of History at Monash University in Australia, where he is also Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology.

About the Author

CONSTANT J. MEWS teaches in the Department of History at Monash University in Australia, where he is also Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology.


'Constant Mews has contributed to, and drawn together, an excellent collection of articles which advances understanding of the Speculum virginum and of the learning, development and position of religious women in the Middle Ages.' - Rosemary Dunn, Parergon

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