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Late Medieval Piety expressed in Song Manuscripts of the Devotio Moderna

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Booklets with song texts from houses belonging to one of the branches of the Devotio Moderna often contain texts of songs which had been sung earlier. However, the fact that such song texts were written down in booklets shows that they were valued by their owners, who chose to express their personal piety in these songs. Manuscripts of this type are a kind of personal creed. Compared with the heavenly Jerusalem, life on earth is seen as misery, but all afflictions are seen as tolerable if they lead to eternal glory. Heaven is considered as the true home of Christians. On the other hand, the fear of being damned for eternity is strong. Even songs expressing severe affliction end with a confession of trust in God the Father, Christ or Mary. In a booklet written by or for a female Augustinian canon, a specific female piety with connotations of an erotic longing for the celestial bridegroom Christ is perceptible.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Theology, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, NL-1081 HV Amsterdam;, Email:


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