Christ’s Holy Week Sermons: Women’s Preaching and its Oral and Written Sources in Late-Medieval Valencia

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Abstract

This article begins by reviewing speculation that Isabel de Villena preached to her nuns in the Santa Trinitat convent. The article then examines the nature of women’s preaching, relating it to female verbal authority expressed in the Vita Christi. It draws evidence from the sermons recorded from other female preachers, such as Hildegard of Bingen, and also from male vernacular preachers such as the Valencian St Vincent Ferrer, as well as from the medieval ars praedicandi in the Peninsula. After contextualizing possible sermonizing in Isabel de Villena’s work, the article turns to the Vita Christi to present evidence that Isabel embedded her own sermons, considering whether they might have been preached in the convent and subsequently embedded in the text. To do this, it examines the words of the Christ preaching to the disciples in Holy Week, tracing the sources for Villena’s Latin quotations. It examines convent records to establish when and where sermons were heard during Holy Week in Valencian convents. It discovers that Villena’s preaching is not traceable to standard written Vita Christi sources, but rather takes orally delivered liturgy as its starting point.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1134
JournalBulletin of Hispanic Studies
Volume96
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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