The Gift of Tongues: Women's Xenoglossia in the Later Middle Ages


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Tales of xenoglossia-the instantaneous ability to read, to write, to speak, or to understand a foreign language-have long captivated audiences. Perhaps most popular in Christian religious literature, these stories celebrate the erasing of all linguistic differences and the creation of wider spiritual communities. The accounts of miraculous language acquisition that appeared in the Bible inspired similar accounts in the Middle Ages. Though medieval xenoglossic miracles have their origins in those biblical stories, the ...

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