Nunneries as an Alternative to Marriage

Nunneries as an Alternative to Marriage

Oudenaarden , Cornelis

The Endnote, vol. 2 (2005)


During the middle Ages women were required to marry; in her book Women and Spiritual Equality in christian TraditionI, Patricia Ranft says of fourth century women that “To withhold one’s virginity was to stand outside the solidarity of society, it was a deliberate choice not to join the normal structures and roles of society.” This attitude persiste until deep into the twentieth century and was based on the Christian idea that women and men were put on earth to procreate. The nobility during the Middle Ages was particularly vested in creating marriages that were beneficial to both famillies and provided proper, preferably male, offspring. For women of noble class during the ninth through the twelfth centuries, being married was not always the most desirable state to be in. For the noblewomen who felt this way there was one relatively appealing alternative: and this was entering a convent.

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