St. Birgitta of Sweden Criticism - Essay

William Patterson Cumming (essay date 1929)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to The Revelations of Saint Birgitta, edited by W. P. Cumming, Oxford University Press, 1929, pp. xxiii-xxix.

[In the following excerpt, Cumming summarizes St. Birgitta's life and the literary merit of her Revelations.]

A. The Life of Saint Birgitta1

In the year 1302 or 13032 Birgitta3 was born at Finstad, a town a few miles from Upsala in the province of Upland. Her father was Birger, the lagman or governor of Upland.

Birgitta began to have visions at the age of seven;4 in these visions an angel, the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Christ, usually appeared and...

(The entire section is 2352 words.)

Roger Ellis (essay date 1982)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Note on the Spirituality of St. Bridget of Sweden," in Analecta Cartusiana, edited by Dr. James Hogg, Institut Für Anglistik Und Amerikanistik, 1982, pp. 157-66.

[In the following essay, Ellis focuses on St. Birgitta's spirituality and the metaphorical nature of its exposition in her Liber celestis.]

The present paper aims to describe the principal features of the spirituality of St. Bridget of Sweden, as revealed by her biographers and presented in the work which they collaborated with her in producing, the Liber Celestis)1 Any discussion of Christian spirituality, it seems to me, rests upon assumptions like the following: (i)...

(The entire section is 4802 words.)

Hans Aili (essay date 1984)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "St. Birgitta and the Text of the Revelationes. A Survey of Some Influences Traceable to Translators and Editors," in The Editing of Theological and Philosophical Texts from the Middle Ages, edited by Monika Asztalos, Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1984, pp. 75-91.

[In the following essay, Aili studies the changes effected by Latin translators and by Alphonse of Jaén—the chief revisor of Birgitta's work—in the text of the Revelations.]

1. Introduction

In recent scholarship on the Revelations of St. Birgitta of Sweden, the question has been raised, to what extent the surviving Latin version of the Revelations...

(The entire section is 7835 words.)

Barbara Obrist (essay date 1984)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Swedish Visionary: Saint Bridget," in Medieval Women Writers, edited by Katharina M. Wilson, The University of Georgia Press, 1984, pp. 227-39.

[In the following essay, Obrist surveys St. Birgitta's life and influence, as well as the contents, style, and intent of her Revelations.]

Bridget, the fourteenth-century Swedish mystic, left a canon of revelations widely read in the vernacular at the end of the Middle Ages, especially in the fifteenth century. She was an incult lay author, meaning that she did not Know Latin and thus wrote or dictated her revelations in Swedish. These were gradually translated into Latin by her confessors—Mathias, canon of...

(The entire section is 5636 words.)

F. R. Johnston (essay date 1985)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The English Cult of St. Bridget of Sweden," in Analecta Bollandiana: Revue Critique D'Hagiographie, Vol. 103, 1985, pp. 75-93.

[In the following essay, Johnston investigates the influence of St. Birgitta's writings in England following her death and canonization.]

The foundations of the gloria postuma of St Bridget1 were laid by her familia immediately after her death in Rome in 13732. Her daughter, St Katherine, arranged for the translation of her remains to Sweden where they were enshrined with great ceremony and reports of miracles at Vadstena, the mother house of her new order, the Order of the Savious3. Her...

(The entire section is 7243 words.)

Tore Nyberg (essay date 1990)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to Birgitta of Sweden: Life and Selected Revelations, edited by Marguerite Tjader Harris and translated by Albert Ryle Kezel, Paulist Press, 1990, pp. 13-51.

[In the following introduction to The Life of Birgitta of Sweden, Nyberg examines the structure of Birgitta's Revelations and the theological doctrine it propounds.]

Spiritual background and early life

Mystic union with God, redeeming words and deeds born out of a burning heart—all that we summarize under the heading "spirituality"—is not to be labelled male or female. It is both and at the same time either of them; seemingly a contradiction. In...

(The entire section is 15963 words.)

Ingvar Fogelqvist (essay date 1993)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Apostasy and Reform in the Revelations of St. Birgitta, Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1993, 262 p.

[In the following excerpt from his book discussing Birgitta's notion of the moral apostasy of her contemporaries, Fogelqvist outlines the first of many failings the Saint observed in her fellow Christiansa so-called "love of the world" reflected in the prevalent "sins of pride, covetousness, and carnal pleasure."]

There are several revelations where St. Birgitta in general terms accuses the Christians of her time of having apostatised or fallen away. Of special interest in these revelations is how the Church relates to and is affected by sinful...

(The entire section is 13591 words.)

Claire L. Sahlin (essay date 1996)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Gender and Prophetic Authority in Birgitta of Sweden's Revelations," in Gender and Text in The Later Middle Ages, edited by Jane Chance, University Press of Florida, 1996, pp. 69-95.

[In the following essay, Sahlin explores Birgitta's attempts to overcome the medieval bias against women by appealing to a prophetic authority sanctioned by God]

During her pilgrimage to the Holy Land and subsequent return to Rome in 1372, Birgitta of Sweden traveled through Cyprus, where she summoned rulers and nobility to hear God's words concerning the fate of the island. Birgitta, who was advanced in age and growing physically weak, claimed to speak to the Cypriots on behalf...

(The entire section is 9442 words.)