‘Van groeter bannicheit hoers herten’ - De conditionering van de alledaagse gevoelswereld in vrouwelijke gemeenschappen uit de laatmiddeleeuwse Moderne Devotie | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 126, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


The Devotio Moderna was one of the most important movements of religious reform in the late Middle Ages, especially in the Low Countries and the northern parts of the Rhineland. The new devout attached particular importance to the daily process of spiritual progress through good deeds, meditations, spiritual exercises, and continuous building of the self via self-examination and mutual correction. In accordance with their belief in the importance of self-fashioning, devouts also developed a remarkable interest in the emotional life of the individual. They aimed at detaching themselves completely from their own natural and intuitive emotions in order to lead a truly virtuous life. In this article we focus on the conditioning of the emotional life in three houses of devout women belonging to the Devotio Moderna through the lens of so-called sister books written in these communities. These sources allow us to deal with the emotional vocabulary deployed by the sisters, with how different emotions were assessed in specific situations, and with their physical expression. Finally, we analyse the narrative power of the many anecdotes recounted in the sister books. These stories not only conveyed to the younger sisters models for exemplary emotional behaviour, but must also have functioned as spiritually sound emotional triggers among the ones who read or heard them.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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