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IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 123: Vernacular Theology and Religious Practice in the Low Countries and the Rhineland (1300-1500), I

Monday 10 July 2006, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam / Pallas: Institute for Art Historical And Literary Studies, Universiteit Leiden
Organiser:Geert Warnar, Department of Dutch Literature, Universiteit Leiden
Moderator/Chair:Geert Warnar, Department of Dutch Literature, Universiteit Leiden
Paper 123-aLay Authors/Religious Texts: Evidence from Italy and the Low Countries
(Language: English)
Sabrina Corbellini, Oudere Nederlandse Letterkunde Rijksuniversiteit Groningen Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26 9712 EK GRONINGEN
Index terms: Language and Literature - Dutch, Language and Literature - Italian, Lay Piety, Religious Life
Paper 123-bThe Master and Margaretha: Scholasticism for Lay Women
(Language: English)
Helen Webster, Department of German, University of Oxford
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Lay Piety, Religious Life, Theology
Paper 123-cAn Abbreviation for 'Minne': The Meaning of a Paleographical Feature in Mystical Manuscripts from 14th-Century Brabant
(Language: English)
Wybren Scheepsma, Opleiding Nederlandse Taal en Cultuur, Universiteit Leiden
Index terms: Language and Literature - Dutch, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Religious Life

Throughout the Later Middle Ages in north-western Europe the established religious culture of the monastic and ecclesiastical elite has been challenged by individuals, groups, and movements, seeking to participate in spiritual life on their own social, cultural, and intellectual terms. These developments, occurring all over Europe, can be witnessed in their most dramatic form in the Low Countries and the Rhineland. A sophisticated vernacular literature on mystical theology and devotion introduced new lay audiences to the intricacies of man’s inner relation with God. These ideas were embraced by groups of patricians, clerics, nuns, and beguines in the cities on the Upper Rhine and the Low Countries. The spectacularly successful movement of the Devotio moderna developed new models for this urban mysticism further by promoting new attitudes to religious self formation through meditation, reading, and spiritual exercises.

The Leeds workshop will look at the interaction of theological ideas and religious practices, as it occurred in Dutch and German writing. The use of the vernacular was especially important in opening up the (Latin) world of learning to larger groups of readers in late medieval society, leading to significant changes in forms of religious education through texts, the responses to spiritual needs and the ways of participation in devotional practices.

In three separate sessions the workshop will focus on the 14th and the 15th century, ending with a session on the themes of vernacular theology and religious practice in general.