The literacy and education of medieval nuns has been a subject of dispute and study in recent years. In his third Index of medieval libraries, David Bell presents a comprehensive list of all manuscripts and printed books which have been traced with certainty or high probability to english nunneries. A systematic listing of the books available to english nuns, and in the process an indication of the wealth, the intellectual level, and the spirituality of english nuns from the Conquest to the Reformation.
David N. Bell is professor emeritus of religious studies and dean of theology at Queen's College, St. John's, Newfoundland, and canon theologian in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John's. He is the author of a number of books published by Cistercian Publications, including Handmaid of the Lord: Mary, the Cistercians, and Armand-Jean de Rancé (CS293, 2021), Everyday Life at La Trappe under Armand-Jean de Rancé (CS274, 2018), and A Saint in the Sun: Praising Saint Bernard in the France of Louis XIV (CS271, 2017).