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Nuns' Priests' Tales


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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1. The Puzzle of the Nuns' Priest
Chapter 2. Biblical Models: Women and Men in the Apostolic Life
Chapter 3. Jerome and the Noble Women of Rome
Chapter 4. Brothers, Sons, and Uncles: Nuns' Priests and Family Ties
Chapter 5. Speaking to the Bridegroom: Women and the Power of Prayer

Appendix. Beati pauperes

About the Author

Fiona J. Griffiths is Professor of Medieval History at Stanford University. She is author of The Garden of Delights: Reform and Renaissance for Women in the Twelfth Century, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.


"The reform era was obsessed with clerical celibacy, yet it also witnessed a great expansion of women's religious life-and all those newly founded nunneries required priests to provide pastoral care. In an age known for its shrill misogyny, how did such priests justify their service to women, and what positive roles did nuns play in male spirituality? In her urgently needed book, Nuns' Priests' Tales, Fiona Griffiths teases out some fascinating answers."-Barbara Newman, Northwestern University

"This delightful and learned book examines the ways in which the ordained men who provided sacramental services and spiritual counsel for nuns understood their relationships with women. The setting is primarily the eleventh and twelfth centuries-a period when close bonds between priests and any female were viewed with deepening suspicion. Fiona J. Griffiths, however, explores the positive models that monks and priests evoked at that time to justify and even celebrate their charitable bonds with the nuns they served."-Megan McLaughlin, author of Sex, Gender, and Episcopal Authority in an Age of Reform, 1000-1122

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