St. Birgitta of Sweden (d. 1373) is one of the most celebrated female visionaries and authors of the Middle Ages and a central figure in the history of late-medieval religion. An aristocratic widow, Birgitta left her native country in 1349 and settled in Rome, where she established herself as an outspoken critic of the Avignon Papacy and an advocate of spiritual and ecclesiastical reform. Birgitta founded a new monastic order, and her major work,
The Heavenly Book of Revelations, circulated widely in a variety of monastic, reformist, and intellectual milieus following her death.
This volume offers an introduction to the saint and the reception of her work written by experts from various disciplines. In addition to acquainting the reader with the state of the scholarship, the study also presents fresh interpretations and new perspectives on Birgitta and the sources for her life and writings.
Contributors: Roger Andersson, Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby, Unn Falkeid, Anna Fredriksson, Birgitta Fritz, Ann M. Hutchison, F. Thomas Luongo, Maria H. Oen, Anders Piltz, and Pavlína Rychterová.
Maria H. Oen, Ph.D. (2015) in Art History, University of Oslo, is Deputy Director of the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome. She is currently working on a monograph on Birgitta of Sweden and late medieval visionary culture.
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Notes on Editions and Translations
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: Birgitta Birgersdotter and the
Liber celestis revelacionum Maria H. Oen 1 God’s Words, or Birgitta’s? Birgitta of Sweden as Author
F. Thomas Luongo 2 Birgitta and the Bible
Anders Piltz 3 The Political Discourse of Birgitta of Sweden
Unn Falkeid 4 Challenging and Championing St Birgitta’s
Revelations at the Councils of Constance and Basel
Anna Fredriksson 5 The History and Spiritual Life of Vadstena Abbey
Birgitta Fritz 6 Birgitta and Her
Revelations in the Sermons of the Vadstena Brothers
Roger Andersson 7 The Iconography of
Liber celestis revelacionum Maria H. Oen 8 Reshaping Birgitta of Sweden in Tuscan Art and Sermons
Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby 9 The
Revelations of St Birgitta in the Holy Roman Empire
Pavlína Rychterová 10 Birgitta and Late-Medieval English Spirituality
Ann M. Hutchison
All those interested in Birgitta of Sweden and her Revelations, and anyone concerned with female saints, late medieval sanctity, religious orders, and authorship in the later Middle Ages. Keywords: female saints, sanctity, visions, revelations, prophecy, medieval literature, authorship, medieval manuscripts, illuminations, iconography, sermons, hagiography, 14th century, 15th century, monastic orders, Avignon papacy, medieval spirituality.