Title

“Seeing” God and Taking Authority through Authorship: Female Medieval Visionaries

Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

Hildegard of Bingen was a prominent German nun of the 12th century who wrote many works including a medical handbook, accounts of her visionary experiences, and collections of poetry. Julian of Norwich lived during the 15th century in England and was an anchoress, a woman “buried alive” within an enclosed room of her church, who also wrote an account of her visionary experiences. During the Middle Ages, women had very little influence on religious doctrine, but by choosing their words carefully, Hildegard and Julian obtained authority and made contributions to theology without disturbing the male dominated societies of their time. Through my research and close reading of their visionary texts, I have sought to understand how both women used the practice of writing literature to project their ideas into the world while living with little to no physical mobility. In my presentation I will cover a few of the rhetorical strategies each woman used to remain credible sources of visionary experiences including showing humility by representing themselves as lesser beings, and using the language of physical sight to prove their God-given authority and gain approval from the Catholic Church. I will also examine how Julian and Hildegard make similar theological points in two different regions at separate ends of the time period. Some of these shared contributions include the concept of God as feminine and love overcoming sin and evil in the world.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211 A/B

Start Date

1-5-2010 9:00 AM

End Date

1-5-2010 12:00 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 1st, 9:00 AM May 1st, 12:00 PM

“Seeing” God and Taking Authority through Authorship: Female Medieval Visionaries

DeRosa University Center, Room 211 A/B

Hildegard of Bingen was a prominent German nun of the 12th century who wrote many works including a medical handbook, accounts of her visionary experiences, and collections of poetry. Julian of Norwich lived during the 15th century in England and was an anchoress, a woman “buried alive” within an enclosed room of her church, who also wrote an account of her visionary experiences. During the Middle Ages, women had very little influence on religious doctrine, but by choosing their words carefully, Hildegard and Julian obtained authority and made contributions to theology without disturbing the male dominated societies of their time. Through my research and close reading of their visionary texts, I have sought to understand how both women used the practice of writing literature to project their ideas into the world while living with little to no physical mobility. In my presentation I will cover a few of the rhetorical strategies each woman used to remain credible sources of visionary experiences including showing humility by representing themselves as lesser beings, and using the language of physical sight to prove their God-given authority and gain approval from the Catholic Church. I will also examine how Julian and Hildegard make similar theological points in two different regions at separate ends of the time period. Some of these shared contributions include the concept of God as feminine and love overcoming sin and evil in the world.