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Between Exaltation and InfamyFemale Mystics in the Golden Age of Spain$
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Stephen Haliczer

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195148633

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195148630.001.0001

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The Officially Approved Woman Mystic and Her Supporters

The Officially Approved Woman Mystic and Her Supporters

(p.80) 4 The Officially Approved Woman Mystic and Her Supporters
Between Exaltation and Infamy

Stephen Haliczer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

As the convent increasingly became a venue of ‘aristocratization’, those mystics who received ‘official’ approval tended to be women from privileged and educated families. Further, convents themselves began to mirror the existing social class hierarchy. While women from poorer backgrounds could achieve an ‘official’ mystic status, only rarely could they attain the position of convent abbess. Also, their educational achievements were attributed to divine intervention rather than natural intellectual gift. Approved mystics, especially those women of high social standing, had a well‐developed support system and knew that to maintain their positions it was necessary to staunchly uphold orthodox tenets and to uncompromisingly support the church's hierarchy, particularly the authority of bishops.

Keywords:   aristocratization, biographers, bishops, convents, dowry, hierarchy, literacy, official mystics, orthodox, social class

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