Introduction to the Medieval Mystics of Europe

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Paul E. Szarmach
SUNY Press, 1984 - Religion - 376 pages
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The European Middle Ages bequeathed to the world a legacy of spiritual and intellectual brilliance that has shaped many of the ideals, preconceptions, and institutions we now take for granted. An Introduction to the Medieval Mystics of Europe examines this phenomenon in vivid and scholarly accounts of the lives and achievements of those men and women whose genius most inspired their own and subsequent ages. These great mystics explored and consciously realized the relationship between human life and unconditioned transcendence.

Representing both the contemplative and scholastic traditions, the mystics in these studies often found their solutions to ultimate questions in radically different ways. Some of them, such as Eckhart, Aquinas, and Cusa, may already be familiar, and here the reader will benefit from a new approach and summary of extensive research. Others, such as Smaragdus and several of the women mystics, are little known even to specialists. Finally, and unusually for a study of European mysticism, the influence of Spanish Kabbalists is discussed in relation to the Zohar and two figures from the mystical school of Safed, Cordovero and Luria.

Though the essays focus on individuals, the cultural and social implications of their lives and work are never ignored, for the mystic way did not exist separately from the rest of medieval life; it functioned as an integral part of the whole, influencing the development of Christian and Jewish religions in both their internal and external forms.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Augustine
19
Smaragdus
37
Neoplatonism and the Mysticism of William of St Thierry
53
W St Bernard the Canticle of Canticles and Mystical Poetry
77
Jewish Mysticism in Medieval Spain
97
Friar Thomas
135
Writer and Mystic
195
An Introduction
237
John Tauler
259
The Cloud of Unknowing
273
Nicholas of Cusas The Vision of God
293
Jewish Mysticism in the Sixteenth Century
313
Notes
331
Index
371
Copyright

Margery Kempe
217

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About the author (1984)

Paul E. Szarmach teaches at SUNY, Binghamton and directs its Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies. Author of numerous articles, he has also edited Aspects of Jewish Culture in the Middle Ages, The Critical Edition of Vercelli Homilies IX-XXIII, and co-edited The Old English Homily and Its Backgrounds, and The Alliterative Tradition in the Fourteenth Century.

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