Nobility and Annihilation in Marguerite Porete's Mirror of Simple Souls


An in-depth examination of the work of this important medieval woman mystic.
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Nobility and Annihilation in Marguerite Porete's Mirror of Simple Souls

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An in-depth examination of the work of this important medieval woman mystic.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Porete’s work is crucial to the study of late medieval mysticism and Christian women’s spirituality. Not only is this the only book-length study of Porete’s work, but it will set a very high standard not easily surpassed.” — Amy Hollywood, author of The Soul As Virgin Wife: Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart
Porete was burned as a heretic in 1310. Her treatise survived through being ascribed to a male writer; it was reattributed to her in 1946 and this is the first full-length study. Porete preached that by embracing a state on non-willing, non-knowing, and non-having, the believer would come to know God. Robinson (religious studies, U. of North Carolina, Charlotte) discusses the history of certain basic concepts in Porete's theology, particularly the notion of nobility and annihilation; she describes what we know about Porete's life and possible influences. The bulk of the text is devoted to an analysis of her doctrine and its roots and departure from traditional theology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Joanne Maguire Robinson is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Table of Contents


Reconstructing the Medieval Nobility
Hrotsvit of Gandersheim: The Beauty of High Birth
Hildegard of Bingen: Elitism Upheld
Bernard of Clairvaux: Egalitarianism Upheld
Le Roman de la Rose: The Nobility of Virtue
Hadewijch of Brabant: The Soul's Noble Image and Likeness

Neither Lowly Writer Nor Lowly Reader
The Text of The Mirror of Simple Souls
The Seven-Stage Path to Annihilation
“Taking Leave of the Virtues” and Possessing All

God as Trinitarian Ground and Creator
The Roots of a Theological Anthropology
Creation and Fall of Humanity
Fall(s) and Return(s)

The Three Beautiful Considerations
Annihilation: The Soul Without a Why
Traditional Mystical Metaphors
Nobility, Lineage, and Annihilation
A “Simple” Noble Soul?


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