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Forgetful of Their Sex

Female Sanctity and Society, ca. 500-1100

In this remarkable study of over 2,200 female and male saints, Jane Schulenburg explores women’s status and experience in early medieval society and in the Church by examining factors such as family wealth and power, patronage, monasticism, virginity, and motherhood. The result is a unique depiction of the lives of these strong, creative, independent-minded women who achieved a visibility in their society that led to recognition of sanctity.

"A tremendous piece of scholarship. . . . This journey through more than 2,000 saints is anything but dull. Along the way, Schulenburg informs our ideas regarding the role of saints in the medieval psyche, gender-specific identification, and the heroics of virginity." —Library Journal

"[This book] will be a kind of ’roots’ experience for some readers. They will hear the voices, haunted and haunting, of their distant ancestors and understand more about themselves." —Christian Science Monitor

"This fascinating book reaches far beyond the history of Christianity to recreate the ’herstory’ of a whole gender." —Kate Saunders, The Independent

595 pages | 20 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1998

History: European History

Medieval Studies

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

1: Saints’ Lives as a Source for the History of Women, ca. 500-1100
2: The Making of the Mulier Sancta: Public and Private Roles
3: At What Cost Virginity? Sanctity and the Heroics of Virginity
4: Marriage and Domestic Proselytization
5: "Golden Wombs": Motherhood and Sanctity
6: Sorores Sanctae and Their Saintly Siblings: Terrestrial and Celestial Bonds
7: Gender Relationships and Circles of Friendship among the Mulieres Sanctae
8: Longevity, Death, and Sanctity: A Demographic Survey of the Celestial Gynaeceum
Epilogue: The Celestial Gynaeceum
Selected Bibliography

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