Siria's Reviews > Women of the Humiliati: A Lay Religious Order in Medieval Civic Life

Women of the Humiliati by Sally Brasher
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Aug 10, 2010

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bookshelves: european-history, history, italian-history, nonfiction, religious-history, womens-history
Read from August 10 to 12, 2010

This is a brief monograph on the Humiliati, a late medieval Italian religious order of men and women, which as received quite a lot of scholarly attention in recent decades because a substantial number of members were tertiaries (associated lay members who follow a Third Rule). Brasher focuses her attention on the female members of the Order, arguing that contrary to the assumptions of previous scholars, the majority of Humiliati were women. She also argues that recent scholarship has focused too much on trying to decide if the origins of the Order were primarily economic or spiritual, seeing in the discussion a false dichotomy which would have been incomprehensible to a medieval European. Brasher's analysis of statistical data gathered from various sources is impressive, but the sources themselves are so few that while she can argue for a change of scholarly emphasis, she cannot add much by way of evidence. On a minor but irritating note, despite the fact that this was published by Routledge, there are a staggering number of typographical errors.
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