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The Early Middle Ages
Franca Ela Consolino, Judith Herrin, editors
BW 6.1
Publication Date
July 2020


Examine the creative, profound dialogue between medieval women and biblical traditions

The latest volume in the Bible and Women series examines the relationship between women and the Bible’s reception during the early Middle Ages (500–1100 CE) in both the Greek East and the Latin West. Essays focus on interactions between women and the Bible through biblical precepts on women and for women, biblical women as the subjects of action or objects of discussion, and writings by women that refer to the Bible as a moral authority. The women discussed in the volume range from the well-known—including the nuns Kassia in Byzantium and Hrosvita in the West; the aristocrat Dhuoda, author of a moral guide for her son; Gisela, the sister of Charlemagne and abbess of Chelles; and her niece Rotrude—to those who remain anonymous. Contributions also explore how the Old and New Testaments exercised influence on emerging Islam.


  • Analysis of images of the Virgin Mary as a means of tracing the spread of her cult and feast days from East to West
  • Exploration of the significance of classical culture for medieval women who composed poems for a Christian audience
  • Evaluation of art as a means of establishing devotional relationships not necessarily mediated by the voices of preachers or the reading of texts
  • .

Franca Ela Consolino is Professor of Latin Language and Literature at the University of L’Aquila, Italy. She is the editor of Ovid in Late Antiquity (2018) and Aspetti del meraviglioso nelle letterature medievali (2016).

Judith Herrin is Professor Emerita and Constantine Leventis Senior Research Fellow at the College of Hellenic Studies, King’s College London. She is the author of Unrivalled Influence: Women and Authority in Byzantium (2013) and Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire (2007).

Download volume front matter, including table of contents and introduction.

Download a printable publication sheet that you can put in your files or give to your librarian or bookstore.


This is The Bible and Women 6.1. See more available volumes in the BW series.