Is Virginity A Path Towards Salvation?

1688 WordsJan 5, 20177 Pages
During the Middle Ages, the positive qualities of virginity were practically universally agreed upon by both secular and non secular authorities. However, the main purpose of virginity was in debate between the two. Religious authorities saw virginity as a path towards salvation, “a treasure to be locked away and promised only to the Divine Bridegroom, Christ”(Heckel). It was a way to keep the obscenities of life on earth from spoiling the soul, and allowed a woman to distance herself from the “distractions of worldly existence and hopefully, therefore, sin”(Heckel). Secular authorities, on the other hand, saw virginity as something to be guarded and kept, but eventually given away in a legal and faithful marriage. In a time long before…show more content…
Virginity 's monetary importance created a desire for ways to insure that a woman was indeed a virgin. Virgin brides generally came with higher dowries, making them more attractive to prospective grooms, and these prospective grooms were more likely to feel generous when it came to giving a return gift to the bride 's family. In order to help grooms solidify that the bride 's family was truthful about her “condition,” many medical texts included descriptions of methods and processes that could be used to prove or disprove a woman 's chastity. Pseudo- Albertus Magnus’ De Secretis Mulierum, (Women’s Secrets) advocates for a number of different methods, which variously involve observing a woman 's behavior, urine inspection, and sometimes actual intercourse (Salih). The chastity question seems to have sparked a bit of a debate between authorities, because not only does the Book of Women 's Love recognize the desire for chastity tests, but De Secretis also recognizes that there are methods available to fool chastity tests. It notes that a man must be careful about relying on “difficulty of entry and post-coital penile sores for evidence of chastity”, for "[t]his is only true, however, if she did not cause her vulva to contract by using an ointment or another medicine so that

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