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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 631: Spiritual Renewals, II

Tuesday 7 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Rob Faesen, Institute for the Study of Spirituality, KU Leuven
Paper 631-aA Converts' Saint?: Mary Magdalene and the Hirsau Reform Movement
(Language: English)
Eva Ferro, Lateinische Philologie des Mittelalters, Albert-Ludwigs-Universit├Ąt Freiburg
Index terms: Liturgy, Monasticism, Religious Life, Social History
Paper 631-bWomen Who Discredited the Devil: Visionaries as Reformers
(Language: English)
Kimberly Fonzo, Department of English, University of Texas, San Antonio
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Middle English

Paper -a:
The veneration for Mary Magdalene, the biblical prostitute who converted to contemplative life, increased sensitively during the 11th and 12th century. Especially the Benedictine cloisters of south Germany connected to the Hirsau reform movement, expressed a particular interest for this saint: as shown by manuscript evidence, a new series of office chants produced during the second half of the 11th century probably in Constance, found fertile sole in these cloisters and was widely adopted for singing during the office. In my paper I will present this unpublished series of office chants for Mary Magdalene. Also, I will show how the development of this particular cult was connected to the peculiar boom of laymen conversions which the Hirsau cloisters faced during this time.

Paper -b:
This presentation will elucidate the portrayal of the Devil in the works of East Anglian visionaries and the continental works that influenced them. Primarily focusing on Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Mechtild of Hackeborn, and Marie d'Oignies, I argue that these women defended their visions from suspicions of demonic influence by representing the Devil as a bumbling fool, more likely to influence people through the bodily allures of sin than through his mental acuity. In doing so, they combat the reasoning of ecclesiastical officials like Jean Gerson and Sir Thomas Arundel, who argue that that visionaries, especially women, are incapable of seeing through the tricks of the 'old sophister' Devil and require Church aid to discern their visions. Only through their careful characterization of the artless Devil can these women convincingly argue for the clerical reform that their visions suggest.