Between Exaltation and Infamy: Female Mystics in the Golden Age of Spain

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9780195148633: Between Exaltation and Infamy: Female Mystics in the Golden Age of Spain

One day in 1599, in the Spanish village of Saria, seven-year-old Maria Angela Astorch fell ill and died after gorging herself on unripened almonds. Maria's sister Isabel, a nun, came to view the body with her mother superior, an ecstatic mystic and visionary named Maria Angela Serafina. Overcome by the sight of the dead girl's innocent face, Serafina began to pray fervently for the return of the child's soul to her body. Entering a trance, she had a vision in which the Virgin Mary gave her a sign. At once little Maria Angela started to show signs of life. A moment later she scrambled to the ground and was soon restored to perfect health.

During the Counter-Reformation, the Church was confronted by an extraordinary upsurge of feminine religious enthusiasm like that of Serafina. Inspired by new translations of the lives of the saints, devout women all over Catholic Europe sought to imitate these "athletes of Christ" through extremes of self-abnegation, physical mortification, and devotion. As in the Middle Ages, such women's piety often took the form of ecstatic visions, revelations, voices and stigmata.

Stephen Haliczer offers a comprehensive portrait of women's mysticism in Golden Age Spain, where this enthusiasm was nearly a mass movement. The Church's response, he shows, was welcoming but wary, and the Inquisition took on the task of winnowing out frauds and imposters. Haliczer draws on fifteen cases brought by the Inquisition against women accused of "feigned sanctity," and on more than two dozen biographies and autobiographies. The key to acceptance, he finds, lay in the orthodoxy of the woman's visions and revelations. He concludes that mysticism offered women a way to transcend, though not to disrupt, the control of the male-dominated Church.

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About the Author:


Stephen Haliczer is Distinguished Research Professor of History at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of Sexuality in the Confessional: A Sacrament Profaned (Oxford, 1996) and many other books and articles.

Review:

"A fascinating story of how women exerted and validated their personal authority on the basis of extraordinary experiences. Haliczer's study is font of information, scrupulously researched and carefully analyzed."-- America: The National Catholic Weekly

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Stephen Haliczer
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.The Counter-Reformation saw an upsurge of feminine religious enthusiasm without parallel since medieval times. Inspired by new translations of the lives of the saints, devout women all over Catholic Europe sought to imitate these athletes of Christ through extremes of self-abnegation, physical mortification and devotion. Just as in the Middle Ages, women s piety expressed itself especially in mystical experiences manifested in such phenomena as visions, revelations, voices, stigmata and ecstasies. This book offers a comprehensive look at this Golden Age of women s mysticism as it flourished in 16th- and 17th-century Spain, where it almost took on the character of a mass movement. For his study Haliczer draws on 15 cases brought by the Inquisition against women accused of feigned sanctity and on 30 biographies and autobiographies of women mystics. By examining their lives, Haliczer seeks to understand the forces that caused these individuals to choose a life of self-abnegation and ecstatic worship. Overall, he shows how mysticism provided women with a way to transcend, rather than to disrupt, the control of the male-dominated Church. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780195148633

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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. The Counter-Reformation saw an upsurge of feminine religious enthusiasm without parallel since medieval times. Inspired by new translations of the lives of the saints, devout women all over Catholic Europe sought to imitate these athletes of Christ through extremes of self-abnegation, physical mortification and devotion. Just as in the Middle Ages, women s piety expressed itself especially in mystical experiences manifested in such phenomena as visions, revelations, voices, stigmata and ecstasies. This book offers a comprehensive look at this Golden Age of women s mysticism as it flourished in 16th- and 17th-century Spain, where it almost took on the character of a mass movement. For his study Haliczer draws on 15 cases brought by the Inquisition against women accused of feigned sanctity and on 30 biographies and autobiographies of women mystics. By examining their lives, Haliczer seeks to understand the forces that caused these individuals to choose a life of self-abnegation and ecstatic worship. Overall, he shows how mysticism provided women with a way to transcend, rather than to disrupt, the control of the male-dominated Church. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780195148633

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