Gebroken wil, verstorven vlees: Een historisch-psychologische studie over versterving in het Nederlandse kloosterleven (1950-1970)

Emke Bosgraaf

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)


The title of this thesis, 'Broken will, mortified flesh. A historical-psychological study on mortification in Dutch monastic life (1950-1970)', may need some explanation. In a literal sense, mortification means 'to kill'. In a religious context, however, mortification can be understood as disciplining both will and body for the benefit of spiritual growth. It is this double focus of mortification which is reflected in the title of this thesis 'Broken will, mortified flesh'. It is not generally known that mortification was still practiced in twentieth century Dutch monastic life. A variety of practices, such as fasting, self-flagellation and the silentium were quite widespread until radical changes occurred in the 1950s and 1960s and most mortification practices disappeared. The central question of this study is how to understand this process. In order to answer this question, qualitative research has been conducted which consists of two parts: a study of spiritual literature (1935-1970) and eighteen interviews with female and male religious who personally performed mortification practices during their religious life. Apart from spiritual literature, historical studies on twentieth century Dutch religious communities have been studied as well. These studies mainly focus on the history of one religious community and often pay little attention to the specific topic of mortification. This thesis, however, focuses on mortification in various Dutch religious communities.
Original languageDutch
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Monteiro Morgado, Lionel, Supervisor
  • Vandermeersch, Patrick, Supervisor
Award date22-Oct-2009
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789036740265
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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