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Chapter 16 Women and theology in the Middle Ages.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 16 Women and theology in the Middle Ages."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 16 Women and theology in the Middle Ages

2 Questions to be addressed in this chapter 1.How was Hildegard of Bingen an example of the way in which women could have a voice in theological matters in the Middle Ages? 2.What did Julian of Norwich contribute to the medieval understanding of God’s nature and relationship to humans? 3.What gave Catherine of Siena the platform from which to challenge ecclesiastical authorities? 4.How did Teresa of Ávila bring reform to Carmelite spirituality and become the first woman “doctor of the church”?

3 Hildegard of Bingen Lived from Raised in a monastery near Bingen (present day Germany). At age 43 she had a vision from God instructing her to tell others what had been revealed to her. She had a more holistic approach to theology, incorporating music and art beyond treatises. Her most important theological work, Scivias, develops the metaphor of the garden for people’s spiritual lives.

4 Julian of Norwich Lived c in Norwich, England as an anchorite. She experienced 16 visions and wrote them down in her book, Revelations of Divine Love. Julian’s visions are consistent with the theological developments of the Middle Ages, emphasizing the love of God over God’s wrath and judgment. She also promoted feminine aspects of the divine.

5 “I saw and understood that the great power of the Trinity is our father, and the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our mother, and the great love of the Trinity is our lord;.... And so our Mother... works in us in various ways; for in our Mother, Christ, we profit and grow.” (p. 278) From Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

6 Catherine of Siena Lived from in Siena, Italy. Wrote a book called The Book of Divine Providence, which she purported was her dialogue with God while in a state of spiritual ecstasy. The key to a proper relationship with the world is the will. She had remarkable influence on important people of her day, including Pope Gregory XI.

7 “Though you created us without our help, it is not your will to save us without our help. So I beg you to force their wills and dispose them to want what they do not want. I ask this of your infinite mercy. You created us out of nothing. So, now that we exist, be merciful and remake the vessels you created and formed in your image and likeness; re-form them to grace in the mercy and blood of your Son.” (p. 279) From Catherine of Siena’s Book of Divine Providence (or Dialogue)

8 Teresa of Ávila Lived from in Spain. From an aristocratic family, but joined a convent at age 20. Later in life she began to see visions, which she took to be revelations from God. Her Interior Castle is one of the most celebrated works of mystical theology. The many rooms of the castle represent stages of development in the spiritual lives of believers.

9 1.State of grace and humility 2.Practice of prayer 3.Discipline and penance; acts of charity 4.Supernatural element of the mystical life; pure divine grace begins 5.Temporary union through prayer; infused contemplation 6.Extended intimacy with the divine; increasing afflictions (interior or exterior) 7.Spiritual marriage; the soul and God become completely united (p. 283) The seven stages (mansions) of spiritual progression in Teresa of Ávila’s Interior Castle

10 1. Hildegard de-emphasized her own intellectual contribution and attributed the message of her visions to God himself. 2.Julian emphasized God’s all-encompassing love and the feminine attributes of the Trinity. 3.Catherine was able to have a prominent voice in the Church because of her status as a mystic who received direct revelation from God. 4.Teresa taught that through rigorous discipline and devotion along with divine grace one could achieve union with God. Summary of main points


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