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Birgitta Birgersdotter and the Liber celestis revelacionum
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Medieval Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1072-9538
2019 (English)In: A Companion to Birgitta of Sweden and Her Legacy in the Later Middle Ages / [ed] Maria H. Oen, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2019, p. 1-24Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

On 7 October 1391, Pope Boniface ix pronounced the sanctity of Birgitta Birgersdotter—a Swedish widow who, 42 years earlier, had left her native country in order to settle in Rome, where she presented herself as a prophet. The widow’s primary claim to sanctity was constituted by the substantial literary corpus known as the Liber celestis revelacionum (“The Heavenly Book of Revelations,” hereafter the Revelations), which had been compiled by her confessors after Birgitta’s death, in 1373, to serve as evidence in support of a canonization. The Revelations, which spread swiftly in their original Latin and soon in numerous vernacular translations, purported to contain divine messages received by Birgitta directly from God, Christ, the Virgin, and several saints for the benefit of the Church and the salvation of humankind. Their content touches on most of the principal political conflicts and ecclesiastical debates of the time: the Avignon papacy, the Hundred Years’ War, the legitimacy of secular and ecclesiastical rulers, the state of the priesthood, apostolic life, the immaculate conception of the Virgin, the authenticity of relics, the Eucharist, and numerous other subjects. Within a few decades the Revelations, whose status and validity were continuously debated at church councils after the proclamation of Birgitta’s sainthood, were read in lay and ecclesiastical contexts all over Europe, including monasteries, universities, humanist circles, and various reform groups. How was it that a laywoman from the northern fringes of the world came to exercise such a great influence in so many different milieus in the later Middle Ages? The present volume seeks to answer this question by way of a study of Birgitta’s life and legacy. The following ten chapters will explore St Birgitta of Sweden, the Revelations, and the monastic order she founded, while also offering an introduction to the scholarship of the field.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2019. p. 1-24
National Category
History of Religions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-169506DOI: 10.1163/9789004399877_002ISBN: 9789004338685 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-169506DiVA, id: diva2:1321714
Funder
The Research Council of Norway, 263067Available from: 2019-06-09 Created: 2019-06-09 Last updated: 2019-11-06Bibliographically approved

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