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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter first offers a brief survey of the principal influences on medieval mysticism: Augustine, Gregory the Great and pseudo-Dionysius, among others. It outlines the difference between intellectual vision (the via negativa) and imaginative vision, and discusses the influence of affective piety on the latter. The chapter then focuses on the ways in which the body serves as a vehicle for mystical experience, especially in the visions of late-medieval women, considering the following rubrics: Christ’s body; the erotic body; the suffering body; the gendered body; and the absent body. Each of these sections is illustrated by examples of mystical experience drawn from a wide range of medieval visionaries and mystics. The visionaries and mystics featured include Hildegard of Bingen, Elisabeth of Schönau, Margaret Ebner, Richard Rolle, Mechtild of Hackeborn, Gertrude the Great, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Walter Hilton, and the Cloud-author.

Keywords: mysticism, medieval women, visions, affective piety, gender

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