Anglo-Saxon Women and the Church: Sharing a Common Fate

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Januar 1999



This study of literature by clerics who were writing to, for, or aboutAnglo-Saxon women in the 8th and early 9th centuries suggests thatthe position of women had already declined sharply before the Conquest a claim at variance with the traditional scholarly view. Stephanie Hollis argues that Pope Gregory's letter to Augustine and Theodore's Penitentialimplicitly convey the early church's view of women as subordinate to men, and maintains that much early church writing reflects conceptions of womanhood that had hardened into established commonplace by the later middle ages. To support her argument the author examines the indigenous position of women prior to the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, and considers reasons for the early church's concessions in respect of women. Emblematic of developments in the conversion period, the establishment and eventual suppression of abbess-ruled double monasteries forms a special focus of this study. STEPHANIE HOLLIS is Senior Lecturer in Early English, Universityof Auckland, New Zealand.


The conversionary dynamic - more laws for times like these; "some special irregularities in marriage" - "Theodore's Penitnential" and the case of Saint Aethelthryth; Aldhelm's "De Virginitate" - Soldiers of Christ and Brides of the Lamb; confessors and spiritual mentors - hagiographic ideals and the Boniface circle; the advice of women and Eddius's "Life of Wilfrid"; a beautiful friendship ruined - Bede's revisionist writing of Aeffled in the "Life Cuthbert'; queen conversters and the conversion of the queen - Bede's "Ecclesiastical History" and the royal marriage; rewriting female lives - Hild of Whitby and monastic women in Bede's "Ecclesiastical History"; Rudolph of Fulda's "Life of Leobba" - an elegy for the double monsatery.


Careful, intelligent study...questions the widely received generalization that positive Anglo-Saxon attitudes to women succumbed abruptly in the wake of, and as a consequence of, the Norman conquest. She traces the seeds of change back to Augustine's arrival in England... a rich and dense book. YEAR'S WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIESEssential work for attitudes towards women in the church in the early middle ages and its key texts are interpreted in the light of a broad reading of many others. Its strengths lie in the realms of ideas. BARBARA YORKE, SOUTHERN HISTORYHer perceptive reading of the sources leads her to challenge widely-held assumptions (and) to present many persuasive conclusions. CHURCH HISTORY (US)
EAN: 9780851153179
ISBN: 0851153178
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Januar 1999
Seitenanzahl: 336 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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