Many of the chapters also address largely understudied or under-examined historical phenomena, such as double monasteries of men and women, the institutions peculiar to medieval Germany known as the Frauenstifte, and lay and female religious networks attached to the monastic, canonical, and mendicant orders.
Many of the contributions in Partners in Spirit have been translated into English from German or Dutch; while some, such as the contribution from Susan Marti on double monasteries in manuscript illumination, have previously appeared in print elsewhere in their original language.
(23) On double communities, see Stephan Hilpisch, Die Doppelkloster: Entstehung und Organisation (Munster in Westf.: Aschendorff, 1928); Catherine Rosanna Peyroux, Abbess and Cloister: Double Monasteries in the Early Medieval West (unpublished Ph.D.
(35) For other examples of early medieval double monasteries founded by brother-sister pairs, see Schulenburg, Forgetful of Their Sex, 275-278.
By arguing that these houses were not double monasteries
but convents supported by neighboring monks, Panormitanus succeeded in his task and the bull was revoked.
Norbert to learn more about the medieval practice of double monasteries
. The work in Religion and Sexism and in Women of Spirit had really inspired her to do some research on her own; she went to the library at the nearby Norbertine Priory, where she was told (to her and my utter amazement), that there had been no double monasteries
in the Middle Ages, something that she had just been reading about.
After noting that an English abbess of the seventeenth century "allegedly had twelve children," the author notes, "double monasteries
were notorious for sexual liaisons" (p.
She documents the stories of the women depicted in Anglo-Saxon history and hagiography: the role of nun as well as queen as peaceweaver, learning as the preserve of women in the double monasteries
, various interpretations of female "virginity." She also studies the law codes of Aethelbert, Alfred and Cnut and the Penitential of Theodore, largely with respect to how marriage legislation affected women, and finally analyzes the portrayal of women in Anglo-Saxon literature.
For the first six centuries of the Christian era, double monasteries
, often governed by abbesses, were quite common.
It next surfaces in the double monasteries
of the Middle Ages, and in a multitude of other guises throughout modern times.
The double monasteries
of Anglo-Saxon England have attracted the attention of historians recently, particularly those with an interest in womens' studies, because of the importance of their abbesses, who ruled over communities consisting of monks as well as nuns.
In fact, these "double monasteries
" echoed an earlier time in the Byzantine Empire when the phenomenon was quite common.