The religious and ecclesiastical role of women in the church in the city of Rome in the late eighth and early ninth century

Schluter, Lindsay (2010) The religious and ecclesiastical role of women in the church in the city of Rome in the late eighth and early ninth century. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The religious and ecclesiastical role of women in the early medieval church in the city of Rome has so far not been studied in detail and this thesis offers to remedy that gap. It presents in form of a case study limiting itself in terms of its topographical boundaries to the city of Rome, and in terms of a historical time period to that which coincides approximately to the start of the papacy of Hadrian I to the end of the papacy of Paschal I.
Use is made only of source material which can be connected directly to early medieval Rome, and not only ordained and monastic roles of women are explored but also the many other ways in which women were able to engage with the liturgy, sacraments and religious ordinances as well as through diaconal and other forms of work. This is done not least through a detailed analysis of the relevant Ordines Romani. Other ways in which women of early medieval Rome were able to engage in the life of the church was through the production and maintenance of liturgical textiles and also through patronage on large and small scales towards individual ecclesiastical institutions. A less well known means of engagement was through the work of the diaconitae at Rome’s diaconiae. Throughout the thesis a particular interest is expressed in exploring how religious and ecclesiastical engagement was possible for women from lower social strata.
In addition to this the overall inclusion, or otherwise, of women in the surviving iconographical material of early medieval Rome is analysed. Particular attention is given to matters such as relics, saints patronage and lectionary readings in relation to saints’ days. Matters of hermeneutics are explored on an ongoing basis in relation to the source material, but also in relation to the secondary literature consulted. Regarding the latter this is especially undertaken in relation to female monastic communities and the offices of the diacona, presbytera and episcopa.
In respect of these offices, but also in relation to all other matters pertaining to the ecclesiastical and religious roles of women in early medieval Rome this thesis argues neither for a minimalist nor for a maximalist interpretation, but offers a nuanced yet, of necessity, fragmentary overall picture. This is borne out of the decision to work only with source materials that can be directly linked to early medieval Rome which in itself is fragmentary in nature. On the one hand it means that little can be made known on a subject area such as women’s religious education for instance. On the other hand this concentration on Roman source material alone means that matters unique to the situation of women in the church of medieval Rome can be established, such as, for instance, the continuation of the ordained office of the diacona into the early ninth century or the absence of any issues regarding cultic cleanness relating to women.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo periods have expired.
Keywords: women in the church, early medieval women, women's ordination and offices,
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DG Italy
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Dunn, Dr. Marilyn
Date of Award: 2010
Depositing User: Rev Lindsay Schluter
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-2437
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2011
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 07:22

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