The Life of Christina of Hane

Christina of Hane; Translation, Introduction, and Annotation by Racha Kirakosian

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The first English translation of The Life of Christina of Hane, a gripping account of a largely unknown medieval female mystic

“Who was Christina of Hane? History knows little about her, but Racha Kirakosian here presents a fascinating enigma—a mystical compendium disguised as a saint’s Life. Students of medieval religion will eagerly probe its mysteries.”—Barbara Newman, Northwestern University

When one thinks of medieval mystics, names such as Julian of Norwich, Gertrude the Great, and Meister Eckhart come to mind. The thirteenth-century mystic Christina of Hane led an extraordinary life, but her recently unearthed case remains to be discovered in the English-speaking world. Christina’s visions hark back to a monastic tradition of ascetic practices; at the same time, her life is unusual in many ways. Her vaginal self-mutilation, her competition with the Virgin Mary as queen of heaven and blessed mother, and her potentially heretical statements about her soul’s union with Christ are but a few peculiarities worth highlighting. This remarkable work shines new light on convent life, spiritual practices, and physical and mental suffering in the life of a medieval woman and the community in which she lived.

Christina of Hane (ca. 1269–92) is the only known medieval female mystic of the Premonstratensian order. Racha Kirakosian is professor of medieval German at Albert‑Ludwigs‑Universität Freiburg. She previously taught at Harvard University and the University of Oxford.

“This is a learned, lucid and compassionate presentation of Christina of Hane, which will bring this intricate and compelling biography the readership it deserves.”—Nicholas Watson, Harvard University

“Who was Christina of Hane? History knows little about her, but Racha Kirakosian here presents a fascinating enigma—a mystical compendium disguised as a saint’s Life. Students of medieval religion will eagerly probe its mysteries.”—Barbara Newman, Northwestern University

“A valuable addition to the corpus of writing by and about medieval religious women with an insightful introduction that underscores its interest to scholars and students across a wide range of disciplines.”—Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Harvard University

“This compact and gripping account is an excellent introduction to medieval female mysticism. Racha Kirakosian has rendered a real service by translating this text into English.”—Claire Taylor Jones, University of Notre Dame
ISBN: 9780300250992
Publication Date: November 24, 2020
208 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
5 b/w illus.