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Women, Men, and Spiritual Power - Female Saints and Their Male Collaborators


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction. "You Draw Us After You" 1. The Powers of Holy Women 2. Revelation and Authority in Ekbert and Elisabeth of Schonau 3. A Shared Endeavor? Guibert of Gembloux on Hildegard of Bingen 4. James of Vitry and the Other World of Mary of Oignies 5. Self and Saint: Peter of Dacia on Christine of Stommeln 6. Hagiography and Theology in the Memorial of Angela of Foligno 7. The Limits of Religious Authority: Margaret of Cortona and Giunta Bevegnati 8. Hagiography in Process: Henry of Nordlingen and Margaret Ebner 9. Managing Holiness: Raymond of Capua and Catherine of Siena 10. Revelation and Authority Revisited: John Marienwerder on Dorothy of Montau 11. Authority and Female Sanctity: Conclusions Notes Abbreviations Bibliography Index

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Coakley has made a breakthrough in three central fields: religion, gender, and literature. His masterly case studies of how men and women collaboratively negotiated religious power during the Gothic Age reformat creative imagination as a social dynamic in religion. -- Karl F. Morrison, Rutgers University, author of "I Am You": The Hermeneutics of Empathy in Western Literature, Theology, and Art John Coakley's Women, Men, and Spiritual Power is as timely as it is erudite. Not only does it make an important contribution to contemporary debates over female authorship, but the reconstruction of the process responsible for the representation of the female subject and her revelations sheds unprecedented light on the clerical fascination with holy women. While sensitive to the question of gender and power, Coakley never loses sight of the human relationships at the center of any collaboration. It is a wonderful book. -- Dyan Elliott,, Vanderbilt University, author of Proving Woman: Female Spirituality and Inquisitional Culture in the Later Middle Ages John Coakley's Women, Men, and Spiritual Power is a beautifully crafted study of the interactions between medieval Christian holy women and the clerics who were close to them and who wrote about them. In nine carefully chosen case studies, Coakley provides a nuanced account of the relationship between male clerical authority and holy women possessed of charismatic gifts. After Coakley, historians of medieval Christianity will no longer be able to justify simplistic characterizations of male control over religious women. -- Amy Hollywood, Harvard University, author of Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History

About the Author

John W. Coakley is the L. Russell Feakes Professor of Church History, New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He is the coeditor (with Andrea Sterk) of Readings in World Christian History.


"Coakley illuminates an important dimension of gender relations in the medieval church... Recommended." -- Choice "Well-researched and insightful... Women, Men, and Spiritual Power fills a void in the research on female mystics." -- Donna Trembinski, Canadian Journal of History

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