This article examines the influence of the conflicting dis- courses in the medieval church and its social context on the subconscious experiences of Hadewijch of Brabant, a 13th century Flemish visionary, mystical author, vernacular theologian and Beguine leader
Grundmann‘s search for a founding figure is understandable in light of the problematic nature of Beguine institutional history. Beguine historiography has long struggled with the anomalous lack of clear foundation documents and accounts.
During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the word beguine was used by women to identify themselves as members of a wide-spread and influential women’s movement. The same term was used by their detractors and overt opponents, with the highly charged negative meaning of “heretic.” The etymology of the term “beguine” and ultimate origins of the movement have never been satisfactorily explained.
The origins of the Beguines can be traced to two important medieval religious reform movements: monastic mysticism and the vita apostolica, or “apostolic life.”
Amongst these is Douceline de Digne (1214-1274) whose life as a mystic and a beguine provides evidence for a new perspective on the influence and participation of women in the spirituality of the mid-thirteenth century.
For years, Deane has been passionate about studying the lay religious women of medieval Europe often known as ‘beguines’, whose hundreds of independent communities were mainly centered in the Low Countries, the Rhine region, France, and German-speaking lands.
The medieval Church viewed itself as Defender of the Faith, the destroyer of the unbelievers, the wrong believers. These heretics were to be reviled and feared as perverters of God’s word. The perverters of orthodoxy were, ultimately, not to be distinguished from one another, but rather known by catchphrases.
Blood and body : women’s religious practices in late medieval Europe Tudesko, Jenny L. Thesis: M.A., History, California State University, Sacramento (2009) Abstract…