Publication – « The Beguines of Medieval Świdnica. The Interrogation of the « Daughters of Odelindis » in 1332″, éd. Paweł Kras et Tomasz Gałuszka

Documents recording the interrogation of sixteen women and the nature of their unusual spiritual practices, now available in a full edition and, for the first time, a full English translation.

In September 1332, in the town of Świdnica, an important economic and communication centre of what was then Silesia, a group of sixteen women stood before the Dominican inquisitor, John of Schwenkenfeld, to testify about the local community of beguines, who called themselves the Hooded Sisters or the Daughters of Odelindis. We are fortunate that the original records of this heresy interrogation have survived, preserved as a notarial instrument drawn up shortly afterwards, eventually transferred to the Papal Curia, and now kept in the Vatican Library. The documents provide unique insights into the everyday life and spirituality of this group of lay women, as they attempted to adopt the ideals of vita apostolica. They lived in the strict poverty they thought necessary for spiritual perfection, and took part in austere ascetic practices, including regular flagellation and a strict diet regime, aiming to mortify sinful flesh and help them achieve mystical union with God.

Using this evidence, the authors of this book piece together a sense of who these interrogated beguines were and the nature of their spiritual practices. Were they pious illiterates, or self-trained theologians, keenly interested in debates around the doctrine of such intellectuals as Master Eckhart, John Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas? The book also addresses the nature of their interrogation and the conduct of Friar John of Schwenkenfeld. And it contains a full edition and, for the first time, a full English translation of the documents themselves.

Paweł Kras is Associate Professor at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin and Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies in Lublin; his main area of study is the systems of the Inquisition in Medieval Europe.

Tomasz Gałuszka OP is Associate Professor at the Papal University of John Paul II in Krakow and Director of the Dominican Historical Institute; his research focuses on Henry Harrer`s Tractatus contra beghardos, the Dominicansand early fourteenth-century heresy in Lesser Poland.

Table des matières :

Foreword by Robert E. Lerner

Part One: Historical Studies
1. The Rise of the Beguines
2. The Council of Vienne and the Persecution of Beguines
3. John of Schwenkenfeld O.P. and the Interrogations of Świdnica Beguines
4. The Daughters of Odelindis: Identity and Religious Practice
5. A Dominican Inquisitor and Theological Controversies of His Times
6. Conclusions

Part Two: Latin Edition and English Translation of the 1332 Protocol
Description of the Manuscripts
Criticial Study
Editorial Principles
Examinatio testium in causa Capuciatarum monialium in Swydnicz
Examination of Witnesses in the Case of the Hooded Sisters at Świdnica

The Swesteren of Odelind of Piritz and Cologne and their European Context
Letha Böhringer


Informations pratiques :

The Beguines of Medieval Świdnica. The Interrogation of the « Daughters of Odelindis » in 1332, éd. Paweł Kras, Tomasz Gałuszka, Woodbridge, Boydell and Brewer, 2023 ; 1 vol., 316 p. (Heresy and Inquisition in the Middle Ages). ISBN : 978-1-80010-914-8. Prix : GBP 75,00.

Source : Boydell and Brewer

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