Anchoritism in the Middle Ages

Anchoritism in the Middle Ages: Texts and Traditions

Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    Anchoritism in the Middle Ages
    Book Description:

    Anchoritism in the Middle Ages explores the relationships between anchoritism (the life of a solitary religious recluse) and other forms of solitude and sanctity, addressing the different ways in which anchoritism can be interpreted, the relationships between anchoritism and other forms of medieval devotion, and the evolving audience for vernacular guidance literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2603-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series Editors’ Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Catherine Innes-Parker and Naoë Kukita Yoshikawa
  5. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    (pp. 1-8)

    In the twenty-first century world, there has been a growing interest in spirituality, perhaps in reaction to increasing secularization in many developed countries and societies. Medieval spirituality is no exception, as indicated by the rising number of conferences dedicated specifically to the devotional world of the Middle Ages, and the number of books and articles published over the past thirty years. So, too, international interest in anchoritism has grown over the past few decades. Although the reasons for this are legion, the ideals that characterize the anchoritic life as a deliberately solitary life of contemplation seem to attract the anxious...

    • 1 Can there be such a thing as an ‘anchoritic rule’?
      (pp. 11-30)

      Some years ago I wrote an article on the genre ofAncrene Wissewhich traced its debts to contemporary and earlier monastic legislation.¹ But its author’s ambivalent attitude to this legislative tradition raised a broader question not fully explored in the article: can there be such a thing as an ‘anchoritic rule’?

      In her standard workAnchorites and their Patrons in Medieval England, Ann K. Warren implies that the term ‘rule’ in this context is misleading: ‘Writings for anchorites are classified as ascetic treatises. They give practical instruction for achieving ultimate Christian goals in this world and the next. Unlike...

    • 2 The Role of the Anchoritic Guidance Writer: Goscelin of St Bertin
      (pp. 31-46)

      The scholarship of English anchoritic guidance writing has, traditionally, investigated the spiritual advice communicated by the guides to their reclusive readers. Yet, these guides, extant fromc.1080 and often written by men for female family members, friends and even for former sweethearts of a kind imply a network of personal relationships that pre-exist enclosure and persist beyond it. The paradox has gone largely unexplored: personal relationships between guidance writer and recluse have generated a genre devoted to the severance of such ties. Anchoritic guides are meant, in theory at least, to assist their recluses in the destruction of the very...

    • 3 Logical Discourse Markers in Julian of Norwich
      (pp. 47-58)

      In herRevelations of Divine Love(hereafterRevelations), Julian of Norwich makes frequent use of the logical connective phrase ‘that is to sey(n)’.‘That is to say’ is a type of cohesive device proposed by Halliday and Hasan¹ and Julian’s frequent use of the phrase is a clue to understanding her discourse strategies, especially when compared to other uses of the phrase in contemporary texts.

      What can we ascertain about the use of this logical adverbial phrase as a discourse marker in Julian’s text? This question pursues the line taken in my previous work, which focused on clause-initial or sentence-initial temporal...

    • 4 Heresy and Heterodoxy: The Feminized Trinities of Marguerite Porete and Julian of Norwich
      (pp. 61-82)

      Through the analogy of ‘Jesus as Mother’, Caroline Walker Bynum alerted scholars early on to the possibility of a humanized, even feminized, Christ in the Middle Ages.¹ This feminization of Christ as the second person of the Trinity reflected a radical change in its traditional concept, largely because of his dual nature as both human and divine: though the son of God, he was born of a human mother. At issue is whether women are included in the theological concept of humanity and, therefore, considered spiritually equal to men, given the difference in the accounts of their original creations. To...

    • 5 Hagiography and Idealism: St Dympna of Geel, an Uncanny Saint
      (pp. 83-100)

      The story of St Dympna of Geel¹ offers a striking example of how seemingly fanciful and whimsical late medieval piety can become. Although her connection with anchoritic tradition is not immediately obvious, the saint’s flight from the world, her enclosure in a cell in the woods and her fight against the evil one (and her own family) to preserve her spiritual and physical integrity correspond closely with the aspirations, struggles and problems faced by both fictional and real hermits and anchoresses, including Christina of Markyate or the women for whom the Katherine Group was intended. The sudden rise in the...

    • 6 Bridal Mysticism and the Politics of the Anchorhold: Dorothy of Montau
      (pp. 101-114)

      Dorothy of Montau belongs among the most notable recluses of medieval Europe. At first sight, her case is remarkable because of the sheer fact that she became the first Prussian anchoress. Secondly, her life differs in several striking features from other medieval anchoritic women; however, her importance within the landscape of European anchoritism has yet to be explored, as Ute Stargardt states:

      One medieval holy woman who remains little known even among medieval scholars is Dorothea von Montau (1347–1394), even though the manyvitaeher confessor, the theologian and Dominican canon Johannes von Marienwerder (1343–1417), composed in service...

    • 7 Secularization in Ancrene Wisse, Part 1: The ‘Pater noster’, ‘Credo’ and ‘Ave’
      (pp. 117-136)

      Among the seventeen extant manuscripts and extracts or fragments ofAncrene Wisse, thirteen include Part 1 (though three of these include only sections) while the remaining four exclude Part 1 completely.¹ Parts 1 and 8 form what the author calls the ‘outer rule’, although Millett has argued that they are not in any way legislative, like a monastic rule.² Part 1, the key chapter to understanding the whole work, demonstrates to anchorites the manner in which they should pray through the Hours and the Mass.³

      The Latin quotations symbolize the authority of the instructor, or lector; they are supposed to...

    • 8 Reading and Devotional Practice: The Wooing Group Prayers of British Library, MS Cotton Nero A.xiv
      (pp. 137-150)

      The five prayers of the Wooing Group have always been studied as a subset of theAncrene WisseGroup led, and indeed dominated, byÞe Wohunge of Ure Lauerd, the text for which the Wooing Group is named.Yet, the other four prayers were composed earlier thanWohunge; it is dependent upon them, rather than the other way around. In fact, the four earliest Wooing Group prayers pre-dateAncrene Wisseitself, and can be shown to have had a significant influence on its author. And, although the Wooing Group prayers are clearly identifiable as a group, they seem to have circulated...

    • 9 Carmelite Spirituality and the Laity in Late Medieval England
      (pp. 151-162)

      The Carmelite Order has its origins in a group of contemplative hermits living on Mount Carmel.¹ Although they maintained the pre-eminence of contemplation at the root of their spirituality, the Carmelites underwent a radical change when they moved to Europe. As they established themselves in urban areas, the Carmelites became involved in pastoral duties as confessors, spiritual advisers and preachers, influenced by the evangelical movement of the late Middle Ages.² In England, the Carmelite friars especially enjoyed a reputation as nurturers of talented scholars who contributed to the spiritual education of the laity. Carmelites Richard Lavenham (b.1340s) and Richard Maidstone...

    • 10 Printing and Reading Walter Hilton in Early Tudor England
      (pp. 163-176)

      Over the past ten years, scholarly attention has been drawn to the reception of medieval books, especially regarding the ownership and readership of manuscripts and printed editions.¹ However, as of yet we have limited knowledge about the early owners and readers of printed medieval devotional texts and, above all, few studies have been attempted on early sixteenth-century editions. The late fifteenth-century and the beginning of the sixteenth century in England saw significant publication of devotional texts written by medieval authors, some of which were originally written for nuns or attributed to anchorite authors such as Richard Rolle.² Of such devotional...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 177-196)
  13. Index
    (pp. 197-202)