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Title:Between the Pure and the Polluted: The Churching of Women in Medieval Northern France, 1100--1500
Author(s):Rieder, Paula Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Megan McLaughlin
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Abstract:Prior to the twelfth century, churching was apparently available to all women, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the conception of their children. Between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, however, episcopal legislation turned churching into a privilege for proper matrons. This legislation transformed churching into an effective tool for the formation and preservation of social boundaries, especially between proper and improper mothers. As the laity appropriated this definition of the rite, the social celebration of churching developed into an opportunity for the display of family status and a means of reinforcing the patriarchal structure of society. Clerical discussions of churching couched it predominantly in terms of the dangers of female sexuality and the superiority of clerical celibacy. Women, however, claimed the rite as an expression of personal importance, of their place in the community, and as an opportunity to exert control over their lives. Consequently, by shaping the celebration of churching, ordinary women influenced the development of fundamental social identities and relationships in the medieval world.
Issue Date:2000
Description:297 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9971175
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2000

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