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Teresa of Avila and the politics of sanctity

Author: Gillian T W Ahlgren
Publisher: Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press, 1996.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Teresa of Avila, one of history's most beloved mystics, wrote during a time of intense ecclesiastical scrutiny of texts. The determination of the Counter-Reformation Church to dominate religious life and control the content of theological writing significantly influenced Teresa's career as reformer and writer. Gillian T. W. Ahlgren explores the theological and ecclesiastical climate of sixteenth-century Spain in  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
History
Named Person: Teresa, of Avila Saint; Teresa, of Avila Saint
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gillian T W Ahlgren
ISBN: 0801432324 9780801432323
OCLC Number: 33245342
Description: ix, 188 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: 1. Women and the Pursuit of Holiness in Sixteenth-Century Spain --
2. Filling the Void: The Vocation of Teresa de Jesus --
3. The Right to Write: Authority and Rhetorical Strategy in Teresa's Works --
4. Apologia por la Mistica Femenina: Teresa's Theological Agenda --
5. Preter Naturam? Posthumous Debates on Teresa's Orthodoxy --
6. Teresa la Santa: Alone of All Her Sex? --
Appendix: Primary and secondary sources of inquisitional inquiries regarding Teresa de Jesus and her works.
Responsibility: Gillian T.W. Ahlgren.

Abstract:

Teresa of Avila, one of history's most beloved mystics, wrote during a time of intense ecclesiastical scrutiny of texts. The determination of the Counter-Reformation Church to dominate religious life and control the content of theological writing significantly influenced Teresa's career as reformer and writer. Gillian T. W. Ahlgren explores the theological and ecclesiastical climate of sixteenth-century Spain in this study of the challenges Teresa encountered as a female theologian and mystic. As inquisitional censure increased and the authority of women's visions and ecstatic prayer experiences declined, Teresa's written self-expressions became, of necessity, less direct. Her later writing was heavily encoded and scholars have only recently begun to decipher those protective codes. Ahlgren demonstrates how Teresa's rhetorical style and theological message were directly responsive to the climate of suspicion created by the Inquisition and how they thus constituted a challenge to sixteenth-century assumptions about women. The only female theologian to be published in late sixteenth-century Spain, Teresa sought to provide a clear defense of mystical experience, particularly that of women. Ahlgren suggests that the rhetorical strategies Teresa developed to protect women's visionary experiences were subsequently used by Church officials to rewrite aspects of her life and thought, transforming her into the model for official Counter-Reformation sanctity.

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