Written by an international team consisting of two art historians, an historian and a musicologist, this study explores the intellectual, scribal, artistic and musical culture of the Dominican nuns of Paradies from a variety of perspectives. Taking as its subject a little-known group of fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century liturgical manuscripts from the Dominican convent of Paradies bei Soest (Westphalia), the book also offers a revisionary account of the development of the Dominican order in late medieval Germany.
Two antiphonaries, three graduals and additional fragments made both for and by the nuns testify to a self-conscious liturgical culture closely tied to the development of the Dominican order’s female branch. One manuscript in particular, a gradual written and illuminated at Paradies ca. 1380 (Düsseldorf, ULB D 11) contains an unparalleled wealth of inscribed images which make it the most extensively illuminated liturgical manuscript of the entire Middle Ages. The learned inscriptions allow for not only a reconstruction of the nuns’ library, but also a thoroughgoing re-evaluation of the learning and Latin literacy of mendicant nuns in the late fourteenth century, a period that in the accounts of modern scholars as well as medieval reformers has too quickly been discounted as a time of intellectual and institutional decline.
In text, image and chant, the nuns assembled a comprehensive commentary on the liturgy, one which serves as a testament to their creativity, learning and ambition as well as their devotion.
Über den Autor
Jeffrey F. Hamburger is Kuno Francke Professor of German Art and Culture in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University.
Eva Schlotheuber is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Düsseldorf, Germany and chairwomen of the Association of German Historians (VHD).
Susan Marti is an art historian and works as curator at the Bernisches Historisches Museum, Switzerland.
Margot Fassler is Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy and Director of the Program in Sacred Music at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.