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Title: Teresa de Cartagena : a late medieval woman's theological approach to disability
Author: Pearson, Hilary E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 5446
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis studies, through a literary and theological analysis of her writings and an examination of her background, how a fifteenth century Spanish nun called Teresa de Cartagena dealt spiritually with disability. She was physically disabled, having become deaf as an adult but also having endured many illnesses. Her first book, Arboleda de los enfermos, was written to pass on to other sufferers the spiritual lessons she had learned from her own suffering; that suffering was good because it had saved her from sin and had brought her to God. Her second work, Admiraçión operum Dey, was written to answer those who had criticised her for the act of writing because of her gender, at that time a disability for any woman wishing to write or teach. She justified her writing as a special work of God, but did not claim mystical direct divine inspiration. Teresa was a member of a prominent family of Jewish Christians (conversos). At the time she was writing, the second half of the fifteenth century, anti-converso prejudice and violence were growing in Spain. This culminated in the introduction of the Inquisition in order to deal with the so-called 'judaising conversos'. In these circumstances her conversa status was a distinct social disability, but there is no express mention of this in her writings. However, there are traces in her writings of converso concerns, and of a specifically converso theology. Although there have been many studies of Teresa de Cartagena from the viewpoints of medieval Spanish literature, disability studies, feminist history and her use of rhetorical techniques, there has been no in depth study of her theology and spirituality. This thesis demonstrates that, although in general these were orthodox and unoriginal, they were unusual for a woman of her time and background.
Supervisor: Edwards, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Late antiquity and the Middle Ages ; Christianity and Christian spirituality ; Spanish & Portuguese literatures ; disability ; deafness ; gender ; converso ; authorship ; history of Spanish Jews ; medieval female spirituality