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Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion
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Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  129 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Arguing that historians must write in a comic mode, aware of history's artifice, risks, and incompletion, Caroline Walker Bynum here examines diverse medieval texts to show how women were able to appropriate dominant social symbols in ways that allowed for the emergence of their own creative voices. By arguing for the positive importance attributed to the body, these essay ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published September 9th 1992 by Zone Books (first published 1990)
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Stephen
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
"Let him who does not know how to astonish go work in the stables!" - Giambattista Marino (1569–1628)

This collection of essays centering on female mysticism looks at the issue of whether the sacred is to be found within our bodies. Many have tried to memorialize the sacred through their own sacrifice, as represented in art (Emily Dickinson and Van Gogh come to mind). But then there's a question of whether there's something specifically sacred about femaleness, in it a religious response to life
...more
Siria
While it has been built on in a number of significant ways since its publication, Fragmentation and Redemption is still a stimulating and subtle look at the interplay of gender, religion and conceptions of the human body in medieval Europe. Bynum's main themes are the asymmetry of gendered power relationships, and how that created more fluidity/subtlety of gender construction than moderns tend to attribute to the Middle Ages; the forms of women's creativity and religious expression; and the medi ...more
Aeisele
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Pseudo-anthropologists
Shelves: religion
This is a very interesting book, especially for someone like me, who is fascinated by all things Medieval. Bynum especially looks at the practices of the middle ages, things like the cult of saints, the debates about the resurrection of the body, etc. What is best about her work is that she doesn't just reduce the experience of Medieval peoples to modern cliches, i.e., that they had "repressed sexuality", they "hated the body", they were completely misogynist. While she does say there is some tr ...more
Alex
Jun 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Neato!
Taiba
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Skipped chapters two and three out of the seven chapters because I was reading for a class.
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Caroline Walker Bynum is Professor emerita of Medieval European History at the Institute for Advanced Study, and University Professor emerita at Columbia University in the City of New York. She studies the religious ideas and practices of the European Middle Ages from late antiquity to the sixteenth century.
More about Caroline Walker Bynum