Anchoress and Abbess in Ninth-Century Saxony
The Lives of Liutbirga of Wendhausen and Hathumoda of Gandersheim
In the growing field of early medieval texts in translation, this book presents the first full English translations of the Lives of Liutbirga of Wendhausen, the first anchoress in Saxony, and Hathumoda, the first abbess of Gandersheim. The introduction and notes tell the story of the remarkable survival and transmission of the Lives and describe the ninth-century Saxon world that produced them and their authors.
Although praised by their biographers for their holiness, Liutbirga and Hathumoda are not presented primarily as wonder-working saints, but as real flesh-and-blood women, pursuing sanctity in a world driven by family and ecclesiastical politics as much as spirituality. Histories of the women's families as well as memorials to their heroines, the Lives of Liutbirga and Hathumoda shed new light on a vibrant corner of Christian Europe in the century after Charlemagne.
About the Authors
"The two historical works are important for the study of women's spirituality in the Middle Ages. They are important for the life of canonesses and medieval family monasticism. These two works are important because of the transition of Saxon culture to Frankish culture and life. Finally, the two Lives move us from religious life to social transformation."—American Benedictine Review
"Frederick S. Paxton is to be thanked for making these two difficult texts . . . accessible to a wider readership in plain and readable English. . . . [T]he book's 79-page introduction does an excellent job of introducing and contextualizing the texts, and points the reader in the direction of related work. . . . By providing an expert and thoroughly contextualized entrée into a world often shrouded in the arcane of Germanophone historiography, Paxton extends our understanding of Carolingian Saxony even as he introduces it."—English Historical Review
"In making [these books] available in such a scholarly translation he has performed a great service for both students and their teachers."—Journal of Ecclesiastical History
"The two English translations of the Lives of Liutbirga and Hathumoda are excellent and pleasant to read."—Journal of English and Germanic Philology
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