PRE-ENCLOSURE EUROPEAN WOMEN RELIGIOUS THROUGH BASQUE SERORA'S LENS: A COMPARATIVE APPROACH
Keywords:Serora, Christianity, Enclosure, Basque
This paper is an initial comparative approach among the Basque serora's institution and other european women religious' institutions. The main issue is suggested by the hypothesis -held in my doctoral thesis- that sets the beginnings of the serora's institution in pre-Benedictine eremitical and monastic women religious' experiences. Though traditional authors viewed these ancient experiences as strict and enclosed, new approaches to the topic are revealing that originary forms of european christian women religious' lifestyles (eremitical, monastic, diaconal, etc.) were mainly unenclosed, which would guide to consider post-enclosure semi-monastic experiences in a continuation line, as new forms of already traditional religious choices for women. The serora would represent a long-lasting case or evolution of the pre-enclosure type of women religious, still present in basque culture's area until the end of 18th century, and related to a huge variety of activities, including social, religious and economic assistance, healthcare, commerce and administration, comforming an influential social group in basque society of Medieval and Modern Ages. It is concluded that an extensive comparative study could reveal the role that this type of women religious had in Late Antiquity-Early Medieval european societies as sustainers of social wellfare and cohesion, and as protective and creative background for women in general.
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