Women and Christianity, Vol II
Mary T. Malone
Number of pages: 302
Part 2 of a major historical trilogy reclaiming the voices and contributions of Christian women.
This path-breaking trilogy shows how women have always enriched Christianity, and reveals the profound impact they continue to have on Christian life. Malone presents women in their own words, drawing as much as possible on their own writing. Combining history and theology, she engages the reader in a gripping narrative about innovative and courageous women responding to the ever-shifting circumstances of their faith.
In volume 2, Malone explores the fascinating period of the medieval world, from 1000 to 1500, a time of enormous complexity. On the one hand, the new cathedrals and universities reveal a quest for knowledge and beauty. On the other hand, the disastrous crusades against both infidel without, and heretic within, stain the history of Christian endeavour. This period saw other momentous events in Church history: the imposition of celibacy, the centralization of the papacy, and the definitive split with Eastern Christianity.
A highlight of Volume 2 is Malone's portrait of the extraordinary outbreak of women's mysticism in the 12th and 13th centuries. She shows how women took control of their own spiritual lives and invented their own forms of institutional living for the furtherance of this new spirituality. The survival of so many written texts by women, quoted by Malone throughout, makes this period at once more concrete and more complex.
These writings hold up a mirror to our own age in countless ways, not least in the efforts to create a just and inclusive society.