Religious Women in Early Carolingian Francia: A Study of Manuscript Transmission and Monastic Culture - Fordham Series in Medieval Studies (Hardback)Felice Lifshitz (author)
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Religious Women in Early Carolingian Francia, a groundbreaking study of the intellectual and monastic culture of the Main Valley during the eighth century, looks closely at a group of manuscripts associated with some of the best-known personalities of the European Middle Ages, including Boniface of Mainz and his "beloved,"abbess Leoba of Tauberbischofsheim. This is the first study of these "Anglo-Saxon missionaries to Germany" to delve into the details of their lives by studying the manuscripts that were produced in their scriptoria and used in their communities. The author explores how one group of religious women helped to shape the culture of medieval Europe through the texts they wrote and copied, as well as through their editorial interventions.
Using compelling manuscript evidence, she argues that the content of the women's books was overwhelmingly gender-egalitarian and frequently feminist (i.e., resistant to patriarchal ideas). This intriguing book provides unprecedented glimpses into the "feminist consciousness" of the women's and mixed-sex communities that flourished in the early Middle Ages.
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 681 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm
"An important addition to our knowledge of women's participation in the transmission and editing of religious texts." * -American Historical Review *
Lifshitz has written an interesting book in which she presents new perspectives and scenarios on an ongoing debate. * -TMR: The Medieval Review *
"Religious Women in Early Carolingian Francia is an important book, not only affirming its subjects' agency but also demonstrating the force of delicate tools-paleographical precision, exposition of visual detail, minute attention to a small group of texts-in shaping a broad interpretation of medieval people's self-understanding." * -Speculum *
Lifshitz's endeavor to map a cultural and intellectual world and explore a collective
identity on the basis of a limited-yet unique-set of sources not only forms an important contribution to feminist scholarship but also creates a model for other manuscript-based explorations of collective identities. This is a splendid book.
Once again, Felice Lifshitz has emerged from the archives with set of neglected texts --this time, documents from the English monasteries of Leoba and Boniface in Germany--and applies her usual fierce scrutiny to the manuscripts in order to show the rest of us what we have missed, misconstrued, and misinterpreted about early medieval history, gender, and religion. This book offers a model method for graduate students and a reminder to all medievalists that the sometimes onerous analysis of manuscripts still has much to tell us about such well-known topics as the Christianization of Germany as well as such seemingly modern issues as gender equity and women's intellectual agency. -- -Lisa Bitel * University of Southern California *
"Lifshitz's ability to engage with a variety of textual genres presents the monastic libraries of Karlburg and Kitzingen in full, giving the reader a tangible sense of the texts that were read and re-read in many monastic communities. She has made a valuable contribution to Carolingian manuscript studies and gender history, and it can only be hoped that this book will encourage further combinations of the two disciplines in the future." * -English Historical Review *
"Whether specialists or not, readers will find in this study a stimulating exposition of the cultural achievements of early medieval consecrated women, important insights into Carolingian reform's attempt to suppress an alternative tradition of a gender egalitarian church, and a persuasive case for the existence of feminism in the early Middle Ages." * -The Historian *
This book is indispensable for any scholar of eighth-century Francia, early medieval textual transmission, or gender studies in the Middle Ages. * Early Medieval Europe *