Hadewijch (c. 1250-70?)
"Visions". Writing that doesn't capitalize "he". Christ became men. Is it a physical experience with God?! Very controversial.
Marguerite Porète (d. 1310)
"Mirror of Simple Souls". Condemned as a heretic, then distributed information again. Extremely controversial. Refused to discuss her works w/the Inquisition. Firmly defended her work. Allegorical story that discusses mysticism. Written in vernacular language.
"Mirror of Simple Souls"
by Marguerite Porète, which discusses the church as a little institution for its inability to do bigger things, for its inability to understand things that it should comprehend. Plays with paradoxes, goes beyond human knowledge. Offers the possibility of giving up one's will in order to have an abundance of divine love. Claimed that one does not need to pray once she reaches that point, which allows that person to sin afterwards. Written in vernacular language.
belief that one is above the law. Something found in Mirror of Simple Souls.
A different perspective
offered by "Visions" and "Mirror of Simple Souls" on stories within the conscious mind.
Problem: Language of Expression
language to express this unique experience, as if grasping knowledge to attempt to explain. Misleading, erratic language, which backfires.
Problem: Reaction of Society
should society give that person power? How can society deal with people that make such mystic assertions.
what are the limits of human thought? Relationship between body/soul? Problem of faith? relationship between community and individual? Loneliness of human experience (are these emotions common elsewhere)?
Definition of Mysticism
Experience that is intuitive. Intuitive knowledge of the divine. Unmediated, intuitive knowledge of God.
Popular definition of mysticism
suggests some sort of mystery and ambiguity. False.
no direct source of the knowledge
language and images are the only sources of these mystic experiences and knowledge.
Other forms of mysticism
found in other cultures, although they suffer from the same problems of language and response.
pose questions about the established universals
these mystics are dealing with a church that is more militant, with more established doctrines. Poses a problem with orthodoxy.
Schools of thought
although the mystic experiences were extremely personal, they influenced other traditions
Dionysian (named after Ps-Dionysius the Areopagite, c. 500)
(named after Ps-Dionysius the Areopagite, c. 500)
Christocentric, Cistercian/Franciscan: ex. Bonaventure (d. 1274)
Bonaventure (d. 1274)
Meister Eckhart (d. 1327)
Meister Eckhart (d. 1327) =
refers to Dionysius (the pseudo-Aeropagite). Influence from Neoplatonism. Said that praying will not get one far in reaching the One. Very elitist manner of thinking, as only a few elite could get away with NOT praying to God. Claims that people should stop thinking about God in human terms, as they are not very valid.
Dionysius (the pseudo-Aeropagite)
person who claimed to have lived with access to Paul the Apostle. Influenced by Neoplatonism.
Neoplatonist influences on Apophatic
when thinking of the highest form of communication with the One, claims that prayer will not get one very far to receive God's grace. Praying won't make you a good Christian. Had a very elitist way of thinking, as he said that only a very few people can get away with not praying to God.
not using language at all. To say something without saying it. One cannot express the experience in words. Dionysius claimed that one must emerge from the cloud of darkness in order to reach that point.
"The Mystical Theology"
work produced by apophatic Dionysius
John Scotus Enugena
translated the Mystical Theology by Dionysius
influenced by Franciscans. Very physical and human experience with Christ. Contrasts the apophatic mysticism. One receives knowledge of Christ after encountering Him physically. Iconography pays attention to the physical encounter. Physical and bodily form of communication. Proximity to Christ.
Catherine of Siena
a female affective mystic. Depicted as united with Christ, in the moment where she kisses the wound of Christ. Very physical experience with Christ, extremely human.
St. Bernard of Clairveux
depiction in his encounter with Christ during his deposition. Connection to Christ in the moments that he seems most human.
St. Francis of Assisi
appearance of stigmata, which were the wounds of Christ. First Western experience of stigmata. Interest in physical pain for expression of this experience.
physical, mental, and then mystical, the most complicated form of understanding and experience.
from Cologne. Exposure to Augustine's writings and popular ideas that were circulating at that time. Claimed that humans possess soul, which says something about time. Imagined the part of a soul that was procreated by God, which shows that humans have a natural inclination to seek or contact the divine. That small portion always allows the humans to contact God.
people are born with a portion of a soul that was procreated, which allows the people to have access to God. People have a divine part in them. Dangers: possibility of Pantheism (which claimed that people are divine). Danger of misinterpretation. Actually tried to say that people can be united with God, although one cannot claim divinity. Everyone is able to unite with God.
philosophy that claimed that people have a divine part in them.
Death of Eckhart
after his death in 1327, his teachings are said to be heretical.
Inducing access to knowledge
ecstasy, meditation, looking at images, taking herbs/drugs.
Languages of mysticism: Paradoxes
Dionysians stress paradoxes by speaking in contradictions.
Languages of mysticism: Love
borrow Franciscan language of love. Song of Songs. Erotic, or inebriated.
Song of Songs
blueprint to how one should sing to God.
Society's Reaction: control
control from the church. The Church would assign clerks that had the power to shake off mysticism.
Hildegard of Bingen
claimed that God speaks through her and that she had special knowledge of God given to her by him. Writes about visions. Her confessor shapes her writing/communication of her experiences in order to avoid heretical and controversial interpretations.
Censorship of mysticism
channeling messages in an acceptable manner.
had no power or influence, which is why they had to refer to mysticism in order to communicate their ideas.