The question of the ‘structure’ of the human person is central to many mystical authors in the Christian tradition. This book focuses on the specific anthropology of a series of key authors in the mystical tradition in the medieval and early modern Low Countries. Their view is fundamentally different from the anthropology that has commonly been accepted since the rise of Modernity. This book explores the most important mystical authors and texts from the Low Countries including: William of Saint-Thierry, Hadewijch, Pseudo-Hadewijch, John of Ruusbroec, Jan van Leeuwen, Hendrik Herp, and the Arnhem Mystical Sermons. The most important aspects of mystical anthropology are discussed: the spiritual nature of the soul, the inner-most being of the soul, the faculties, the senses, and crucial metaphors which were used to explain the relationship of God and the human person. Two contributions explicitly connect the anthropology of the mystics to contemporary thought. This book offers a solid and yet accessible overview for those interested in theology, philosophy, history, and medieval literature.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Question of Mystical Anthropology Rob Faesen and John Arblaster
- William of Saint-Thierry and His Trinitarian Mysticism Paul Verdeyen
- The Mystic’s Sensorium: Modes of Perceiving and Knowing God in Hadewijch’s Visions Veerle Fraeters
- "The Wild, Wide Oneness": Aspects of the Soul and Its Relationship with God in Pseudo-Hadewijch John Arblaster and Rob Faesen
- "Poor in Ourselves and Rich in God": Indwelling and Non-identity of Being (Wesen) and Suprabeing (Overwesen) in John of Ruusbroec Rob Faesen
- Ruusbroec’s Notion of the Contemplative Life and his Understanding of the Human Person Rik Van Nieuwenhove
- Retrieving Ruusbroec’s Relational Anthropology in Conversation with Jean-Luc Marion Patrick Cooper
- Jan van Leeuwen’s Mystical Anthropology: A Testimony of Lay Mysticism from Medieval Brabant Satoshi Kikuchi
- The Playing Field of Mysticism: Middle Dutch Anthropological Terminology in the Spieghel der volcomenheit by Hendrik Herp o.f.m. Thom Mertens
- The Inner Ascent to God and the Innermost of the Human Person in the Arnhem Mystical Sermons Ineke Cornet
- Multilayeredness of the Highest Faculties in the Arnhem Mystical Sermons Kees Schepers
Conclusion John Arblaster & Rob Faesen
John Arblaster is a doctoral student at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven and the Ruusbroec Institute, University of Antwerp. His research focuses on the doctrine of deification in the late-medieval West, and particularly on authors from the Low Countries. He has published several articles on these authors as well as the English translation of the poems of Pseudo-Hadewijch. He co-edited Brill’s Companion to John of Ruusbroec with Rob Faesen.
Rob Faesen is Professor of Church History at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven and at Tilburg University, and is a member of the Ruusbroec Institute, University of Antwerp. He is an expert in the history of late medieval mystical literature, and has published extensively in this field. He was on the editorial board of the critical edition of Ruusbroec’s Opera omnia.