Book Series Medieval Church Studies, vol. 43

Inwardness, Individualization, and Religious Agency in the Late Medieval Low Countries

Studies in The 'Devotio Moderna' and its Contexts

Rijcklof H. F. Hofman, Johan Oosterman, Peter J.A. Nissen, Mathilde van Dijk, Charles M. A. Caspers (eds)

  • Pages: x + 230 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:9 b/w, 6 col., 5 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2020

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58539-0
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58540-6
  • E-book
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A collection of essays on the Devotio Moderna and its contexts — the emergence of inwardness, individualization, and religious agency in the late medieval Low Countries and surrounding areas.


“While individual chapters will surely be useful for scholars working on the specific authors or texts discussed therein, the volume as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This diverse team of scholars has produced a series of essays that undoubtedly will reward sustained reading: I hope a good number Anglophone readers will find the title intriguing enough to explore the collection more deeply and benefit from the remarkable fruit of their labors.” (Steven Rozenski, in The Medieval Review, 16/06/2021)

“Insgesamt trägt der Band durch die Multiperspektivität der Beiträge und ihr hohes Niveau nicht nur zum Verständnis der Herausforderungen bei, denen sich die »Devotio moderna« zur Erneuerung des religiösen Lebens stellte, sondern laden auch zum Befragen weiterer Quellen mittels der hier entwickelten Fragestellungen bei.” (Letha Böhringer, in Francia-Recensio, 3, 2021)

“Der Tagungsband widmet sich daher einem breiteren Fachpublikum und erweist sich als zweckmäßiges Mittel zur Annäherung einer komplexen religiösen Erneuerungsbewegung wie der Devotio Moderna und ihres historischen sowie soziologischen Kontexts.” (Davide Bertagnolli, in der Historischen Zeitschrift 313/2, 2021, p. 502)

“This book provides the reader with a specialized view of some aspects of the religious thought just prior to, and in the development of, the Devotio Moderna.” (Eleanor Flynn, in Parergon, 38/2, 2021, p. 226)

“This collection thus provides useful information about the process of inwardness within religious and lay communities in the Lower Countries. The Index of Manuscripts and Early Printed Editions, which follows the General Index and Index of Place Name, provides useful codicological information that may appeal to scholars who want to investigate the field further.” (D. Renevey, dans Scriptorium, 2022, p. 94-95)


Rijcklof Hofman is editor of the Gerardi Magni Opera Omnia at the Titus Brandsma Instituut, Radboud University, Nijmegen (The Netherlands). He has edited this collection in collaboration with Charles Caspers, Peter Nissen (Radboud University, Nijmegen), Johan Oosterman (Radboud University, Nijmegen) and Mathilde van Dijk (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen).


Recent scholarship on the Middle Ages has highlighted the importance of individualistic tendencies in devotion in both the lay world and religious communities. This interaction between individualization and religious agency has been scrutinized in numerous studies, focusing on the beginnings during the so-called ‘Twelfth-Century Renaissance’, and further development in the later medieval and early modern periods.

However, there has hitherto been relatively little scholarship on the phenomenon in the Devotio Moderna: the flourishing of more personalized forms of devotion in north-western Europe during the later Middle Ages. The essays in this volume redress this gap by exploring the processes of inwardness and the emergent individualization of religious practices in the late medieval Low Countries. The essays explore issues including the early impact of the printing press on devotion; meditational aids such as identification with Christ, prayer cycles, practices of remembrance, and devout songs; and the tension between inner devotion and the ideal of communal piety in male and female religious communities. They also discuss some leading individuals of the Devotio movement.


List of Illustrations


Inwardness and Individualization in the Late Medieval Low Countries: An Introduction — RIJCKLOF HOFMAN

‘Individualization’ and ‘Personalization’ in Late Medieval Thought — ROB FAESEN

Geert Grote’s Choice of a Religious Lifestyle Without Vows — RIJCKLOF HOFMAN

‘Ama nesciri’: Thomas a Kempis’s Autobiography Reconstructed from his Works — MARGARITA LOGUTOVA

‘Antiseusiana’: Vita Christi and Passion Meditation before the Devotio Moderna — NIGEL F. PALMER

Modern Devotion and Arrangements for Commemoration: Some Observations — KOEN GOUDRIAAN

Close Enough to Touch: Tension between Inner Devotion and Communal Piety in the Congregations of Sisters of the Devotio Moderna ANNE BOLLMANN

Individuality and Scripted Role in Devout Song and Prayer — THOM MERTENS and DIEUWKE VAN DER POEL

Illustrated Incunabula as Material Objects: The Case of the Devout Hours on the Life and Passion of Jesus Christ — ANNA DLABAČOVÁ

Index of Persons and Literary Works

Index of Place Names

Index of Manuscripts and Early Printed Editions