Goliber. Hadewijch Paper - Hadewijch of Brabant By: Zach...

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Hadewijch of Brabant By: Zach Helman April 12, 2010
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Someone once commented on the idea of faith by saying that unthinking faith is a curious offering to be made to the creator of the human mind (Faith) . When one ponders this thought , it becomes very clear what the author of such a statement is thinking; the creator of the human mind created a mysterious masterpiece capable of incredible things , to not use it when offering faith to the creator is curious in the sense that it insults the very being that created it . This concept caught my attention immediately upon thinking about Hadewijch of Brabant . Her life offers a great example of how faith should not merely be something that is accepted without thought , but rather, something that should be a result of thought. Through a brief history behind the Beguines , a religious feminist movement in the 13 th and 14 th centuries in which Hadewijch was a member , we will be able to see exactly what Hadewijch’s faith is, how she got her faith, how her faith manifested itself in her actions , and what she was able to contribute to the world. In so doing , a very interesting story of the life of one of the most influential Beguine mystics will be created . To understand Hadewijch , however, we must first understand the movement to which she dedicated her life . In order to simplify the Beguine movement , one might try and think of it as a comparable movement to the modern day feminist movement in that it consisted of women who were tired of the restraints applied to them by the society of the time , except that the Beguine movement was strictly religious . During a time when monastic life was dominated by men , most people believed that “formal authority was inconsistent with feminity” (Knuth). In other words , women were not to have any form of authority within the Church due to the notion that they were incapable of handling any such power . Therefore , in the eyes of the Church,
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women of nobility had two options , marry or become a cloistered nun; (women of lower social standing only had the first option) . In essence , society placed a barrier between women and religion . Any woman who had hopes of living a life in the Church would find that such opportunities were very scarce . On top of this , there was a high demand amongst women of the time to live such a life . It was these factors that created the spontaneous movement of the Beguines in the diocese
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This note was uploaded on 10/31/2010 for the course MGMT 504 taught by Professor Hatcher during the Spring '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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Goliber. Hadewijch Paper - Hadewijch of Brabant By: Zach...

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