Church history -- Middle Ages, Women -- Religious life -- History


To those who promoted the agendas of the eleventh and twelfth century church reforms the cleric’s wife embodied those things which inhibited the process of man reaching the holy: lust, defilement, worldliness, and temptation. But to those who demanded that she remain a part of conventional marital structures and sacred traditions, the clerical wife remained an important – and controversial – aspect of clerical culture throughout the Middle Ages. The figure and image of the priest’s wife has eluded historians for generations, as her presence as an important component of the controversy surrounding the heightened enforcement of clerical celibacy throughout the eleventh and twelfth centuries – and beyond – was not prominent in the writings of popes, reformers, or the medieval laity. This article focuses on the changing perspectives of clerical wives during the eleventh and twelfth century.

Faculty Mentors: Caroline Litzenberger and John Ott



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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