A History of Women Philosophers

Medieval, Renaissance and Enlightenment Women Philosophers A.D. 500–1600

  • Mary Ellen Waithe

Part of the A History of Women Philosophers book series (HOWP, volume 2)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxviii
  2. Mary Ellen Waithe
    Pages 1-26
  3. Elisabeth Gössmann
    Pages 27-65
  4. Mary Ellen Waithe
    Pages 67-83
  5. Joan Gibson
    Pages 85-98
  6. Cornelia Wolfskeel
    Pages 99-114
  7. Joan Gibson
    Pages 115-140
  8. Cornelia Wolfskeel
    Pages 141-165
  9. Cornelia Wolfskeel
    Pages 167-190
  10. Elizabeth N. Evasdaughter
    Pages 191-222
  11. Cornelia Wolfskeel
    Pages 223-260
  12. Mary Ellen Waithe
    Pages 261-284
  13. Beatrice H. Zedler
    Pages 285-307
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 319-349

About this book


aspirations, the rise of western monasticism was the most note­ worthy event of the early centuries. The importance of monasteries cannot be overstressed as sources of spirituality, learning and auto­ nomy in the intensely masculinized, militarized feudal period. Drawing their members from the highest levels of society, women's monasteries provided an outlet for the energy and ambition of strong-willed women, as well as positions of considerable authority. Even from periods relatively inhospitable to learning of all kinds, the memory has been preserved of a good number of women of education. Their often considerable achievements and influence, however, generally lie outside even an expanded definition of philo­ sophy. Among the most notable foremothers of this early period were several whose efforts signal the possibility of later philosophical work. Radegund, in the sixth century, established one of the first Frankish convents, thereby laying the foundations for women's spiritual and intellectual development. From these beginnings, women's monasteries increased rapidly in both number and in­ fluence both on the continent and in Anglo-Saxon England. Hilda (d. 680) is well known as the powerful abbsess of the double monastery of Whitby. She was eager for knowledge, and five Eng­ lish bishops were educated under her tutelage. She is also accounted the patron of Caedmon, the first Anglo-Saxon poet of religious verse. The Anglo-Saxon nun Lioba was versed in the liberal arts as well as Scripture and canon law.


anthropology epistemology ethics freedom knowledge metaphysics philosophy symbolism truth

Editors and affiliations

  • Mary Ellen Waithe
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1989
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-247-3572-3
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-2551-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site