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Title: Spirituality and the everyday : a history of the cistercian convent of Günterstal in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
Author: Wareham, Edmund Hugh
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 8859
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the evolving history of the Cistercian convent of Günterstal in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is structured around the anointing of the Last Rites of a Günterstal nun who was blessed on her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, heart and feet. The thesis takes each body part as a symbol for understanding the changing environment and practices of the convent, especially the relationship between the nuns' spiritual and everyday lives, and the ways in which the nuns interacted with the world outside. It argues that the nuns developed a spirituality in the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries which was closely connected with the everyday world around them in a series of practices which went into decline following the criticism of the Reformation. Many of these were strategies developed by the nuns themselves for breaking down boundaries between convent and world. Attempts at revival in the later sixteenth century of convent life sought to heighten the distance between the convent and the world, in part by developing new forms of internalised spirituality. Yet these attempts at reform were made more difficult by the conflicting interests of those who sought change, the criticism which had come before, and the response of the nuns themselves. The thesis analyses a number of different external symbols of convent life, from the spaces they inhabited to the objects they handled, and shows how these represented a number of different values of what it meant to be a nun in this period, values which did not always sit easily with each other. Günterstal maintained a noble character throughout this period and the social profile of its inhabitants often jarred with the push towards religious uniformity. This thesis shows that the symbolic value of these markers became increasingly heightened over the sixteenth century and took on new forms as a direct result of the attack on the convent way of life in the Reformation.
Supervisor: Roper, Lyndal Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; German ; Reformation ; Convents ; Gu¨nterstal ; Late medieval ; 1400-1500 ; Freiburg im Breisgau ; Christian literature ; German ; Cistercians