These studies throw new light on the early development of radical and mystical religion in medieval Western Europe. They combine two related studies by the medieval scholar and radical theologian Angus Braid.
The collection begins with an impartial, non-theist or atheist analysis of mystical experience, which provides the context, not only for studying radical religion, but also for appreciating its psychological importance.
The first study traces the growth and transmission of Sufi mysticism and Avicennist philosophy from the Islamic Middle East to both Muslims and Jews in the Andalus (Islamic Spain) and thence to Latin Christendom at the end of the 12th century.
The second part studies the Amalrician heresy of the first decade of the 13th century, and then searches for its possible sources: among the boldest of the Cistercians, in the Abbot Joachim's prophetic illustrations, among the Platonists, Hermeticists and Avicennists of the 12th-century, in the logical philosophy of David de Dinant, and even in the writings of Eriugena.
All these thinkers are fascinating in their own right, and they all share an open and inclusive outlook which puts as much weight on their own intellectual understanding and their own religious experience, as it does on accepted dogma.
These may point the way towards a fresh study of the possible influence of the New Theology (of Symeon the New Theologian and his disciples) upon the development of Bogomilism and Catharism.
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