Visions Of God: Four Medieval Mystics and Their Writings

Overview

The mystics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were, writes Karen Armstrong, like "the astronauts of our own day.  They broke into a new religion, blazed a new trail to God and to the depths of the self, a trail far from the beaten pilgrimage paths of Chaucer and Langland."  Mysticism is a spiritual mystery shared in some form by all faiths; it has a supernatural quality that extends beyond the given boundaries of religious creed and may be experienced by any lay person.  The ...
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Overview

The mystics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were, writes Karen Armstrong, like "the astronauts of our own day.  They broke into a new religion, blazed a new trail to God and to the depths of the self, a trail far from the beaten pilgrimage paths of Chaucer and Langland."  Mysticism is a spiritual mystery shared in some form by all faiths; it has a supernatural quality that extends beyond the given boundaries of religious creed and may be experienced by any lay person.  The thrilling intensity of a mystical experience, as represented in this volume by the writings of four mystics of the Middle Ages, can inspire other spiritual seekers with its insight into the limitless wonder of both human and divine experience. Dissatisfied by the strictures of dogma and a religion that failed to quench the human thirst for knowledge of a mystical order, these four mystics--Richard Rolle of Hampole, Walter Hilton, Dame Julian of Norwich, and the unknown author of The Cloud Of Unknowing --communicate an intense and passionate experience of faith rare in any time.  Because of their unique beliefs and spiritual strength, their knowledge and writings have proved timeless, and in this beautiful volume show contemporary seekers important new insights into the nature of divine love.

The New York Times bestselling author of A History of God presents four compelling visions of God from medieval visionaries. Because of their unique beliefs and spiritual strength, their knowledge and writings have proved timeless. In this beautiful gift volume, they show contemporary seekers new insights into the nature of divine love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Witty, informative, and contemplative; Ms. Armstrong can simplify complex ideas, but she is never simplistic."--The New York Times Book Review.

"Provocative...Karen Armstrong has strong ecumenical credentials.  One of the delights of her book is her exploration of some relatively unfamiliar pathways to God."--Time.

Library Journal
Armstrong (History of God, LJ 9/15/93) draws on her personal experience and studies as a Roman Catholic nun to excerpt and translate the writings of four 14th-century English mystics: Richard Rolle of Hampole, the unknown author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Walter Hilton, and Dame Julian of Norwich. They were the first to express the mystical position in the English vernacular (Middle English) and had considerable influence on the development of Western mysticism. Although their influence in England was cut short by the Protestant Reformation, making their writings available in this form does provide a balance to the unfavorable view of English religious life at that time given by Chaucer and Langland. There is a brief introduction to Christian mysticism and a summary of each mystic's teaching in the context of what little is known of his or her life. A good introduction to Christian mystical writings for the educated public.-Eugene O. Bowser, Univ. of Northern Colorado, Greeley
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553351996
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/1994
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 583,439
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
I Richard Rolle of Hampole 1
The Fire of Love 10
II The Author of The Cloud of Unknowing 49
The Cloud of Unknowing 59
III Walter Hilton 107
The Ladder of Perfection 118
IV Dame Julian of Norwich 171
Revelations of Divine Love 179
Notes 223
Selected Bibliography 227
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