The Life of Christina of Hane Christina of Hane, Racha Kirakosian

Publication date:
12 Jan 2021
Yale University Press
208 pages: 216 x 140 x 16mm
5 b-w illus.
Sales territories:


The first English translation of The Life of Christina of Hane, a gripping account of a largely unknown medieval female mystic

The thirteenth-century mystic Christina of Hane led an extraordinary life, but her recently unearthed case remains to be discovered in the English-speaking world. Her disturbing account of vaginal mutilation, her competition with the Virgin Mary, and her potentially heretical statements about the union with Christ are but a few peculiarities worth highlighting. This remarkable work sheds new light on convent life, spiritual practices, and physical and mental suffering in the life of medieval women and the communities they inhabited.

Christina of Hane (ca. 1269–92) is the only known medieval female mystic of the Premonstratensian order. Racha Kirakosian is professor of medieval German at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg. She previously taught at Harvard University and the University of Oxford.

“This is a learned, lucid and compassionate presentation of Christina of Hane, which will bring this intricate and compelling biography the readership it deserves.”—Nicholas Watson, Harvard University

“Who was Christina of Hane? History knows little about her, but Racha Kirakosian here presents a fascinating enigma—a mystical compendium disguised as a saint’s Life. Students of medieval religion will eagerly probe its mysteries.”—Barbara Newman, Northwestern University

“A valuable addition to the corpus of writing by and about medieval religious women with an insightful introduction that underscores its interest to scholars and students across a wide range of disciplines.”—Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Harvard University

“This compact and gripping account is an excellent introduction to medieval female mysticism. Racha Kirakosian has rendered a real service by translating this text into English.”—Claire Taylor Jones, University of Notre Dame