My research focuses mainly on Middle-Dutch spiritual literature. My dissertation of 1997 deals with the religious documents of the female choir members of the Congregation of Windesheim, from the 15th and early 16th century. Here we find the anonymous authors of the Book of Sisters of the convent of Diepenveen, who faithfully recorded the Windesheim ideals as spiritual biographies, as well as from the self-willed figure of Alijt Bake, prioress of the French Convent of Galilea. Her search for the appropriate spiritual lifestyle for women caused her to overstep the bounds of the Congregation of Windesheim and she was therefore removed from office and banished.
From 1998-2002 I conducted research on the oldest sermons in Dutch, the Limburg devout sermons. The earliest manuscript of this collection of sermons proved to be much older than was originally thought, so that the Limburg devout sermons can still be placed in the 13th century. These sermons are predominantly translations of Middle-German examples, but there is also a group of originally Dutch texts inspired by the Song of Songs. These demonstrate the existence of a relatively expansive 13th century mystical prose tradition, which is at the interface of the works of the Brabant mystics Beatrijs van Nazareth and Hadewijch. Since 2004 I have been attached to the VIDI project “Men of Letters’ by Geert Warnar. My research focuses on the mystical-theological literature of the 14th century. During this period a remarkably intense interaction occurs between Brabant on the one side and the Upper Rhine region on the other. It appears that the prominent Dominican preacher Johannes Tauler visited the Brabant mystic Jan van Ruusbroc and the writings of the controversial Meister Eckhart experienced an unusually early and wide circulation in the (Southern) Netherlands. I am now attempting to define the different aspects of this literary transmission.
1985-1990 studied Dutch Language and Culture (RUG)
1989-1990 studied Medieval Studies (RUG)
1991-1995 PhD candidate in the PIONIER project `Nederlandse literatuur en cultuur in de Middeleeuwen' led by Prof. F.P. van Oostrom (UL)
1997 PhD defense (UL)
1997-1998 research assistant for the Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie (UL).
1998-2002 post-doc in the SPINOZA project `Nederlandse literatuur en cultuur in de Middeleeuwen' led by Prof. F.P. van Oostrom (UL)
2003-2007 lecturer in Dutch language and literature (Hogeschool Leiden)
2004- postdoc in the VIDI project 'Men of Letters' of Dr G. Warnar (UL)
2007- Associate Lector Education (Hogeschool Leiden)
- W. Scheepsma, Deemoed en devotie. De koorvrouwen van Windesheim en hun geschriften, Amsterdam, 1997, Nederlandse literatuur en cultuur in de Middeleeuwen 17.
- W. Scheepsma, `Filling the blanks. On a Middle Dutch Dionysius Quotation and the Origins of the Rothschild Canticles', in Medium Aevum LXX (2001), 278-303.
- W. Scheepsma (red.), Het ootmoedig fundament van Diepenveen. Zeshonderd jaar Maria en Sint-Agnesklooster 1400-2000. [Z.pl.], 2002. 192 pp.
- Medieval Religious Women in the Low Countries. The 'Modern Devotion': the Canonesses of Windesheim and their Writings. Translated by David F. Johnson, Woodbridge, 2004.
- W. Scheepsma, De Limburgse sermoenen (ca. 1300). De oudste preken in het Nederlands. Amsterdam, 2005, Nederlandse literatuur en cultuur in de Middeleeuwen 26.