This volume studies the relationship between the Church and women in 12th century Europe, by which time the Church had begun to see the evolving roles and expectations of women as serious matters, resulting in a wide range of clerical writings. From drawing on these writings the text describes how women were thought to embody particular sins such as sorcery, disobedience and licentiousness. It analyzes Eve's role in man's fall from grace and the reasoning behind the view that women are unstable, curious, frivolous creatures. It is also noted how these charges are levelled against women even as praise is heaped upon them for the conventional virtues they exhibit in their roles as wives and mothers.
Georges Duby (1919-1996) was a member of the Academie francaise and for many years held the distinguished chair in medieval history at the College de France. His books include W"omen of the Twelfth Century, Volume One: Eleanor of Aquitaine & Six Others; Women of the Twelfth Century, Volume Two: Remembering the Dead; The Three orders; The Age of Cathedrals; The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest; Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages; "and "History Continues," all published by the University of Chicago Press."