Women Religious Virtuosae from the Middle Ages: A Case Pattern and Analytic Model of Types
Walters, Barbara R.
Sociology of Religion, Vol. 63, No. 1 (Spring, 2002)
Five women religious exemplars representative of the variation in religious expression within and outside the fold of the thirteenth-century ecclesia were selected for analysis. Narratives were constructed for each case. Each narrative focuses on the distinctive features judged significant in the constitution of a case pattern or prototype. From these an array of analytic concepts was selected and applied to each exemplar. The methodological approach enables preservation of the empirical character and historical setting of each religious virtuosa yet provides for the selection of abstract distinctive features present or absent in each exemplar or ideal type. The analysis demonstrates that for the virtuosae, classic Weberian categories are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. Different exemplars express different orientations at different times and in different places.