IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 1111: How to Operate in Religious Life: Narrative and Informal Rules

Wednesday 11 July 2012, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Janet Burton, School of Archaeology, History & Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Paper 1111-aRules for Anchorites and Their Influence on Late Medieval English Spirituality
(Language: English)
Stefan Damian Reynolds, Department of Theology, Heythrop College, University of London
Index terms: Anthropology, Ecclesiastical History
Paper 1111-bFor the Good of the Order: The Written and Unwritten Rules of Engagement between the Boni Homines of Ashridge and Their Founder, Edmund, Earl of Cornwall
(Language: English)
Peter Carlson, Department of Religion, California Lutheran University
Index terms: Local History, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Monasticism, Religious Life
Paper 1111-cWith Concentration and Devotion: Rules and Reading in Bridgettine Monasteries
(Language: English)
Leena Enqvist, Department of Church History, University of Helsinki
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Monasticism, Religious Life

Paper -a:
Two rules for Anchoresses Aelred of Rievaulx’s De Institutis Insularum (written around 1159) and the Ancrene Wisse (written early 13th century) had a big influence on the mystical writers of the 14th century; Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing and Julian of Norwich. In this paper I will look particularly at the division of the spiritual life into ‘Inner’ and ‘Outer’ and the regulations for these which the Anchoritic rules give and show how this categorisation and the guidance given for interior reflection and external comportment shape late Medieval presentations of spiritual life among the 14th century English mystics.

Paper -b:
In 1283 Edmund of Cornwall founded a college at Ashridge, England, housing a new monastic order: the Boni Homines. Similar in some ways to the Eigenkirchen of medieval Germany, the Good Men nonetheless were granted right of election, unheard-of in a proprietary Eigenkirche. And though the order was granted extensive rights ensuring their autonomy, Edmund lived in the college the last decade of his life. My paper will examine the rules of engagement between Edmund and the order as revealed in or suggested by the foundation documents and their customal. These documents speak to the awkward relationships of, on one hand, founder and foundation, and on the other, of landlord and tenant.

Paper -c:
Medieval Bridgettine monasteries established a reputation for being important centres of learning and devotion. The paper examines both normative and informal rules that guided the reading habits of medieval Bridgettine nuns in England, Sweden, and Finland. The essential question the paper discusses is what kind of guidance regarding reading the nuns received. The rules and additions followed in the monasteries offered official guidelines, but the devotional books read by the nuns included more informal advice about how and what one should read. These guidelines give valuable information about medieval nuns’ literary culture.