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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 March 2013
This essay addresses two related challenges facing educators who teach about medieval saints, mystics, and their texts. The first is how to relate to the theologies and spiritualities of people who inhabited cultures radically distinct from the modern and postmodern periods. The second regards the contemporary tendency to evaluate medieval believers in terms of modernist intellectual frameworks, most notably clinical psychological categories. A case study approaching the medieval mystic Angela of Foligno from three disciplinary points of view—clinical psychology, historical theology, and cultural history—illustrates how educators might respond to students' penchant to privilege clinical psychology when considering medieval mystics and saints, and shows not only the complementarity of interdisciplinarity, but also its limitations.
1 Ignacio Martín-Baró Fund for Mental Health and Human Rights. Information available from http://www.martinbarofund.org/.
2 Il libro della Beata Angela da Foligno (Edizione critica), ed. Thier, Ludger and Calufetti, Abele, 2d ed. (Grottaferrata [Rome]: Collegii S. Bonaventurae ad Claras Aquas, 1985)Google Scholar; Angela of Foligno: Complete Works, trans. Lachance, Paul (New York: Paulist, 1993).Google Scholar All translations are from the Lachance edition.
3 See especially, Complete Works, chaps. 1–3.
4 On Brother A.'s significant control over the Memorial, see Mooney, Catherine M., “The Authorial Role of Brother A. in the Composition of Angela of Foligno's Revelations,” in Creative Women in Medieval and Early Modern Italy: A Religious and Artistic Renaissance, ed. Matter, E. Ann and Coakley, John (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), 34–63.Google Scholar
5 For the scant medieval references to Angela, see Dalarun, Jacques, “Angèle de Foligno a-t-elle existé?,” in “Alla signorina”: Mélanges offerts à Noëlle de la Blanchardière (Rome: École française de Rome, 1995), 74Google Scholar; idem, “Introduction,” in Angèle de Foligno: Le dossier, ed. Barone, Giulia and Dalarun, Jacques (Rome: École française de Rome, 1999), 3.Google Scholar
6 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR, 4th ed., rev. text (Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000), 463–67.
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9 Complete Works, 198.
10 Ferré, Martin-Jean, ed. and trans., Le livre de l'expérience des vrais fidèles (Paris: E. Droz, 1927), 196Google Scholar, and see note.
11 Complete Works, 126.
12 Complete Works, 126–27.
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15 Mooney, Catherine M., “The Changing Fortunes of Angela of Foligno, Daughter, Mother and Wife,” in History in the Comic Mode: Medieval Communities and the Matter of Person, ed. Fulton, Rachel and Holsinger, Bruce W. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 56–67.Google Scholar
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19 Mazzoni, Cristina M., “Feminism, Abjection, Transgression: Angela of Foligno and the Twentieth Century,” Mystics Quarterly 17 (1991): 64–65Google Scholar; Meany, Mary Walsh, “Angela of Foligno: Destructuring and Restructuring of Identity,” in Divine Representations: Postmodernism and Spirituality, ed. Astell, Ann W. (New York: Paulist, 1994), 47–62.Google Scholar
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24 Bainton, Roland H., “Psychiatry and History: An Examination of Erikson's Young Man Luther,” in Psychohistory and Religion: The Case of Young Man Luther, ed. Johnson, Roger A. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977)Google Scholar; Coupe, M.D., “The Personality of Guibert de Nogent Reconsidered,” Journal of Medieval History 9 (1983): 317–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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28 A Salutation of the Virtues 2, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, 3 vols., ed. Armstrong, Regis J., Wayne Hellmann, J.A., and Short, William J. (New York: New City Press, 1999–2001), 1:164Google Scholar; see also The Earlier Rule, chap. 9.1, p. 70; The Later Rule, chap. 12.4, p. 106. Less securely tied to Francis, but also noteworthy: “Fragments Inserted into the Exposition of the Rule of the Friars Minor by Hugh of Digne,” 73, p. 91.
29 The classic work, which makes the case too strongly, is Delumeau, Jean, Sin and Fear: The Emergence of a Western Guilt Culture, 13th-18th Centuries, trans. Nicholson, Eric (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990).Google Scholar
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31 On the sacrament of penance and confessional practice, see Tentler, Thomas N., Sin and Confession on the Eve of the Reformation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977).Google Scholar For a discussion of the impact that inquisitional and confessional practices had on women's spirituality and behavior, see Elliott, Dyan, Proving Woman: Female Spirituality and Inquisitional Culture in the Later Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004).Google Scholar
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34 It bears repeating that Brother A. played an important role in molding Angela's story. Subsequent editions and translations of the Book have sometimes embellished Angela's sinfulness; Mooney, , “The Changing Fortunes of Angela of Foligno,” in History in the Comic Mode, 56–67.Google Scholar On men's fashioning of women's stories, see Caroline Bynum, Walker, “Women's Stories, Women's Symbols: A Critique of Victor Turner's Theory of Liminality,” in Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (New York: Zone Books, 1991)Google Scholar; Gendered Voices: Medieval Saints and Their Interpreters, ed. Mooney, Catherine M. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Coakley, John W., Women, Men, and Spiritual Power: Female Saints and Their Male Collaborators (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), esp. 111–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
35 See, for example, his Testament, The Earlier Rule, and the two versions of his Letter to the Faithful, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1. Thomas of Celano, Bonaventure, and other biographers recount Francis's frequent examples of humility and penance; see Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vols. 1–2.
36 Complete Works, 124.
38 Lachance, , Complete Works, 55–78.Google Scholar It is worth noting that Christ's pain and suffering receive more attention in some modern theologies, such as liberation theologies.
39 Complete Works, 179.
40 Complete Works, 126.
41 Chenu, Marie-Dominique, Nature, Man, and Society in the Twelfth Century: Essays on New Theological Perspectives in the Latin West, trans. Taylor, Jerome and Little, Lester K. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968)Google Scholar; Southern, R.W., Medieval Humanism (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1970), 29–60.Google Scholar See also Otten, Willemien, From Paradise to Paradigm: A Study of Twelfth-Century Humanism (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
42 On Francis's imitation of Christ, see Pelikan, Jaroslav, Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), chap. 11.Google Scholar
43 Bynum, Caroline Walker, The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200–1336 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), esp. parts 2–3.Google Scholar
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45 Vauchez, André, “Saints admirables et saints imitables: Les fonctions de l'hagiographie ont-elles changé aux derniers siècles du Moyen Âge?” in Les fonctions des saints dans le monde occidentale (IIIe–XIIIe siècle) (Rome: École française de Rome, 1991), 161–72Google Scholar; also in Vauchez, , Saints, prophètes et visionnaires: Le pouvoir surnaturel au Moyen Age (Paris: Albin Michel, 1999).Google Scholar
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50 Delooz, Pierre, Sociologie et canonisations (Liège: Faculté de Droit, 1969), 7Google Scholar; see also idem, “Toward a Sociological Study of Canonized Sainthood in the Catholic Church,” in Saints and Their Cults: Studies in Religious Sociology, Folklore, and History, ed. Wilson, Stephen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 189–216, esp. 194.Google Scholar
51 Kleinberg, Aviad, Prophets in their Own Country: Living Saints and the Making of Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), chap. 2.Google Scholar
52 Thompson, Augustine, Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes: 1125–01325 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Park, 2005), 179–81.Google Scholar Bishops held their ground in papal canonizations, on the other hand, constituting over a third of all saints through the thirteenth century and then beginning to fall off somewhat in the fourteenth century; Vauchez, André, Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, trans. Birrell, Jean (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 256–60.Google Scholar
53 Of twenty-three women saints in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Tuscany and Umbria for whom there are relatively early sources, six, including Angela, had married, and another unmarried woman had taken a lover; see Mooney, Catherine M., “Nuns, Tertiaries, and Quasi-Religious: The Religious Identities of Late Medieval Holy Women,” Medieval Feminist Forum 42 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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55 Mooney, , “The Authorial Role of Brother A.,” in Creative Women in Medieval and Early Modern Italy, 34–63.Google Scholar
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57 Complete Works, 201. On terminology for the spiritual Franciscans, see Burr, , Spiritual Franciscans, vii–x.Google Scholar
58 E.g., Vauchez, , Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, 76Google Scholar, who also suggests that Angela's modest social origins might have contributed to this failure since the papacy tended to favor higher status lay saints such a kings and princes (266). Burr, , Spiritual Franciscans, 334–46Google Scholar, presents a nuanced discussion of scholarly views and evidence regarding Angela's proximity to the spirituals. See also Brufani, Stefano, “Angela da Foligno e gli Spirituali,” in Angela da Foligno terziara francescana, ed. Menestò, Enrico (Spoleto: Centro italiano di studi sull'alto medioevo, 1992), pp. 83–104Google Scholar; Guarnieri, Romana, “Santa Angela? Angela, Ubertino e lo spiritualismo francescano: Prime ipotesi sulla Peroratio,” in Angèle de Foligno: Le dossier, 203–265.Google Scholar
60 Lachance, , Complete Works, 55–78Google Scholar; Lachance also notes the trinitarian aspect of Angela's spirituality.
61 Meany, , “Angela of Foligno: Destructuring and Restructuring of Identity,” in Divine Representations, 47–62.Google Scholar
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64 For examples of cultural psychological approaches that shed light on the social origins, development, and meaning of mental suffering, see Kleinman, Arthur, The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition (New York: Basic Books, 1988)Google Scholar; and Swartz, Leslie, Culture and Mental Health: A Southern African View (Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1998).Google Scholar
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