Volume 99, Issue 2, April 2022
Christine de Pizan on Worldly Prudence and Loving God in The Treasure of the City of Ladies
In The Treasure of the City of Ladies, Christine de Pizan gives various categories of laywomen advice on how to love God (the teachings about loving God) and to lead their lives (the teachings of worldly prudence). This article explores the connection between the two kinds of teachings focusing on the relevance of manners for spirituality and morality. Worldly prudence is about manners, reputation, and self-discipline—that is, about how people should behave toward one another and present themselves to each other. I argue that for de Pizan, manners are spiritually and morally relevant in two ways. On the one hand, they convey how individuals should practice the teachings about loving God in a way that agrees with these individuals’ status in their communities. On the other hand, by practicing the virtues with good manners, people can make surprising moral and spiritual gains and so deepen the teachings about loving God.