Partners in Spirit focuses on relations between chaste men and women within religious life in Germany (c. 1100-1500), concentrating on the complex set of negotiations that governed contact between a male priest and his female charge. Although religious women were undeniably reliant on priests for pastoral care (the cura monialium) throughout the medieval period, it does not follow that men saw such care as burdensome or that women were spiritually subordinate in their relations with priests. Within the context of the cura, ordained men and professed women met regularly, often developing intimate friendships and providing each other with crucial spiritual support, despite prevailing fears that contact between the sexes must result in sexual temptation and sin.
Examining the various interactions of priests with religious women, Partners in Spirit traces the ways in which both viewed the cura, highlighting the fluidity of gender and authority within the medieval religious life. In so doing, the volume suggests new ways of considering the intersection of gender, religion, and spiritual power within the medieval world....Continua