Dr. Jonathan Juilfs, Assistant Professor of English will present on “Women, Literacy, and Christian Discipleship in the Twelfth-century Life of Christina Markyate”. This is an event for faculty, staff, students and guests.
In the presentation, Dr. Juilfs will examine the complex medieval world of Christina Markyate, a twelfth-century English woman who opted out of a “normal” aristocratic woman’s life to pursue a religious life of prayer, contemplation, and service as an anchoress. Far from being an encouraged or even accepted choice for her life, Christina’s devotion to Jesus Christ put her afoul of her family, her church leaders, and even put her own physical self in harm’s way. The presentation will investigate a few of the many implications that Christina’s Life has (1) for our understanding of women’s spiritual activities in the High Middle Ages, (2) for the specific ways in which women’s access to (biblical) literacy encouraged imitation of the life of Jesus, and (3) for determining the influence that a woman like Christina had on later women in the Middle Ages and beyond.