The Abbaye du Saint Esprit: Spiritual Instruction for Laywomen, 1250-1500

Janice Pinder

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The Abbaye du Saint Esprit was a successful work of vernacular spiritual advice for women, surviving in sixteen manuscripts and a widely copied Middle English translation. Unlike many other didactic religious texts, it offers few prescriptions for behaviour; rather, it instructs the reader to build a convent of virtues in her conscience and uses the allegorical structure of the building and its inhabitants to arrange brief teachings on prayer and virtuous practice. Between its genesis in the last quarter of the thirteenth century to its final development towards the end of the fifteenth, it was reworked several times for new audiences of women both lay and cloistered, bourgeois and aristocratic. The examination of these successive adaptations offers insights into the growth of lay religious culture, the participation of women in new religious movements, and the use and transformation of twelfth and early thirteenth-century monastic formation literature for new audiences.This book also offers, for the first time, editions of all the French versions of the Abbaye and a modern English translation of the earliest version.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTurnhour Belgium
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Number of pages219
ISBN (Electronic)9782503586823
ISBN (Print)9782503586816
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameMedieval Women: Texts and Contexts
PublisherBrepols Publishers

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