Book Series Medieval Monastic Studies, vol. 1

Women in the Medieval Monastic World

Janet E. Burton, Karen Stöber (eds)

  • Pages: x + 377 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:30 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2015

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55308-5
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55425-9
  • E-book
  • Available

This international and interdisciplinary collection discusses a wide range of aspects relating to the lives of women in religious communities across medieval Europe


"(...) Brepols sempre ha cuidat tots els estàndards de qualitat científica que l’han convertida en una de les cases més prestigioses a l’hora d’editar obres en anglès. El primer títol de la col·lecció augura que seguirà pel mateix camí. En defi nitiva, Women in the Medieval Monastic World és la darrera aportació a la història del monacat femení. S’han de felicitar els diversos autors per les seves investigacions i per la difusió que en fan, obrint noves vies de recerca. Així mateix, Burton i Stöber han dut a terme una intensa tasca editorial i han cuidat fi ns al darrer detall un volum que inaugura una nova col·lecció que arriba per esdevenir l’altaveu dels estudis monàstics europeus." (Albert Cassanyes Roig, in: Annuario de Estudios Medievales, 46/1, 2016, p. 502-504)

“(…) the volume marks an important contribution, along with other recent studies, to an ongoing corrective in the male-dominated field of scholarship in the history of monasticism.” (J. D. Potter, in Choice, 53/12, 2016)

“This collection makes a significant contribution to the literature on female monasticism in Europe and sets a compelling agenda for further research.” (Judy Bailey, in Parergon, 33/1, 2016, p. 203)

“This excellent volume collects the work of fifteen scholars (…) the book presents new research, much of it quite exciting, from different eras across a wide swathe of western christendom.” (Bruce L. Venarde, in Catholic Historical Review, 103/4, 2017, p. 802)

« L’ensemble du volume est de très belle qualité scientifique et sans complaisance idéologique, (…) Les études sont fondées dans leur grande majorité sur un nombre très important de sources primaires, citées précisément en bibliographie après chaque contribution. La diversité des conclusions nuancées et savamment argumentées permet d’éviter à l’ensemble le piège d’une histoire victimaire.» (A. Noblesse-Rocher, dans Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses, 4, 2016, p. 475)


There has long been a tendency among monastic historians to ignore or marginalize female participation in monastic life, but recent scholarship has begun to redress the balance, and the great contributions made by women to the religious life of the Middle Ages are now attracting increasing attention. This interdisciplinary volume draws together scholars from Spain, Italy, France, the Low Countries, Germany, Transylvania, Scandinavia, and the British Isles, and offers new insights into the history, art history, and material culture, and the religiosity and culture of medieval religious women.

The different chapters within this book take a comparative approach to the emergence and spread of female monastic communities across different geographical, political, and economic settings, comparing and contrasting houses that ranged from rich, powerful royal abbeys to small, subsistence priories on the margins of society, and exploring the artistic achievements, the interaction with neighbours and secular and ecclesiastical authorities, and the spiritual lives that were led by their inhabitants. The contributors to this volume address issues as diverse as patronage and relationships with the outside world, organizational structures, the nature of Cistercian observance and identity among female houses, and the role of male authority, and in doing so, they seek to shed light on the divergences and commonalities upon which the female religious life was based.



Female Monasticism in Spain: Family Nunneries and their Transformation (Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries) GREGORIA CAVERO

Cistercian Nuns in Northern Italy. Variety of Foundations and Construction of an Identity — GUIDO CARIBONI

Female Monasteries of the Early Middle Ages (Seventh to Ninth Centuries) in Northern Gaul: Between Monastic Ideals and Aristocratic Powers — MICHÈLE GAILLARD

Forms of the cura monialium in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century England — BRIAN GOLDING

Female Religious Communities and Male Authority — JANET BURTON

Women and Monasticism in Venice in the Tenth to Twelfth Centuries — ANNA RAPETTI

Cistercian Nuns in Medieval Denmark and Sweden: Far from the Madding Crowd? — BRIAN PATRICK MCGUIRE

Female Mendicant Spirituality in Catalan Territory: The Birth of the Earliest Communities of Poor Clares — NÚRIA JORNET BENITO

‘For they wanted us to serve them…’ Female Monasticism in Medieval Transylvania — CARMEN FLOREA

Medieval Nunneries in Ireland: An Archaeology — TRACY COLLINS

Silk Purse or Pig's Ear? Swine Priory and the Art and Architecture of Northern English Cistercian Nunneries at the End of the Middle Ages — MICHAEL CARTER

Neither Male nor Female in Christ: Gender, Space and Cistercian Nunneries in Thirteenth-Century Flanders — ERIN JORDAN

The Symbolic Meaning of Space in Female Monastic Tradition — ANNE MÜLLER

The Location of the Choir in German Nunnery Churches — MATTHIAS UNTERMANN

FemMoData – A Database on Medieval Female Monasteries in Europe — HEDWIG RÖCKELEIN