AuthorHenley, Carmen Ortiz
AdvisorBrown, Meg Lota
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoDissertation Not Available (per Author's Request)
AbstractThis dissertation examines the lives and material production of the early modern women known as the Nuns of Little Gidding, Mary Collett Ferrar (1603-1680) and Anna Collett (1605-1639). The religious community at Little Gidding, Huntingsonshire (now Cambridgeshire), founded in 1626 by Mary Woodnoth Ferrar and her son Nicholas, housed forty-some members of the extended Ferrar, Collet, and Mapletoft family and their retainers. They devoted their lives to prayer, Bible study and memorization, contemplation, acts of charity, and the production of several unique Bible concordances or harmonies (as well as some Bible histories) of which fifteen are extant. Women were central to the spiritual life of the community, in particular, Mary and Anna who took vows of chastity. They were also the primary creators of the concordances, a task that entailed cutting up printed Bibles, reorganizing the text according to a complex scheme devised by Nicholas Ferrar. The resulting harmonized Gospel suppressed the discrepancies and differences in the four canonical accounts and produced a single, seamless narrative that preserved every detail of the originals. Close study of the relationship between image and text in the Gospel harmonies shows that the women sometimes chose particular images not to illustrate but rather to undermine the authority of the biblical narrative. Images might restore women to an account that minimizes, trivializes, or elides their importance in the life of Jesus. Thus, while their explicit task was to harmonize the Gospel accounts, the women were surreptitiously "deconstructing" them to reveal their discord.
Degree ProgramGraduate College