Passionate Spirituality: Hildegard of Bingen and Hadewijch of Brabant

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Passionate Spirituality explores the roots and meanings of passion in Western culture, and then examines how passion is expressed in the works of two medieval women mystics - Hildegard of Bingen and Hadewijch of Brabant - and in the lives of contemporary Christians seeking to deepen their own spiritual journeys. Too often, the term "passion' is associated only with steamy films, sexual, sin, and emotional excess - cutting off the breadth of its meaning and expression for positive good. But the great mystics succeed precisely because they hold together both the affective and the intellectual aspects of the spiritual life in creative and convincing ways. Their accounts of their mystical experience are important resources for information and understanding about how to talk about God more formally, and for what it means to be passionately in love with God and the world.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ever since Aristotle, Western culture has divorced emotion from reason and body from soul. Thanks to Paul and Augustine, the Christian tradition has associated passion with unbridled and lustful sex and often vilified women as creatures of passion who use the wiles of their bodies to seduce men away from reason. Thus, Christian writers have viewed with suspicion any traces of passion in the religious life. In her spirited, but sometimes pedantic, study, Dreyer, a Fairfield University religious studies professor, ardently restores passion to its central role in the spiritual life. Beginning with the Greeks, she traces the history of the idea of passion in the West, focusing especially on its presence in biblical texts from the Psalms to Song of Songs and the ways in which early Christian writers such as Origen viewed it positively. Dreyer then explores the depths of desire with which two medieval women mystics, Hildegard of Bingen and Hadewijch of Brabant, passionately sought God. The writings of these women reveal not only an intense longing for union with Christ, often expressed in erotic and affectionate language, but also a recognition that their quest is both intellectual and emotional. While Dreyer offers little new about Hildegard or Hadewijch, she uses their lives and work to fervently revive passion in the spiritual life. (Mar. 30) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809143047
  • Publisher: Paulist Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Medieval women mystics : weird or wonderful? 1
Ch. 2 Passion in the Christian tradition 35
Ch. 3 Passion in Hildegard of Bingen 73
Ch. 4 Passion in Hadewijch of Brabant 103
Conclusion : back to the present 139
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