The Soul as Virgin Wife
Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart
Paperback | 9780268017699 | December 2000
eBook (PDF) | 9780268092603 | December 2000
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268081829 | December 2000
The Soul as Virgin Wife presents the first book-length study to give a detailed account of the theological and mystical teachings written by women themselves, especially by those known as beguines, which have been especially neglected. Hollywood explicates the difference between the erotic and imagistic mysticism, arguing that Mechthild, Porete, and Eckhart challenge the sexual ideologies prevalent in their culture and claim a union without distinction between the soul and the divine. The beguines' emphasis in the later Middle Ages on spiritual poverty has long been recognized as an important influence on subsequent German and Flemish mystical writers, in particular the great German Dominican preacher and apophatic theologian Meister Eckhart. In The Soul as Virgin Wife, Amy Hollywood presents the first book-length study to give a detailed textual account of these debts. Through an analysis of Magdeburg's The Flowing Light of the Godhead, Marguerite Porete's Mirror of Simple Souls, and the Latin commentaries and vernacular sermons of Eckhart, Hollywood uncovers the intricate web of influence and divergence between the beguinal spiritualities and Eckhart.
Amy Hollywood is Associate Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College, and is the author of Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History.
“This book is a ‘marguerite,’ a pearl. It can be read as a major contribution to our understanding of Mechthild, Marguerite, and Eckhart, and also as a major contribution to the study of women’s religion in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. As if that were not enough, it is also studded with telling theoretical observations and enlivened by a running dialogue with a large array of current work in critical theory and feminist studies.” —The Journal of Religion
“The Soul as Virgin Wife is a learned, subtle, and deeply intelligent study of three mystical theologians. Informed by feminist theory as well as thorough familiarity with late medieval religious culture, Amy Hollywood sifts through everything and takes nothing for granted. By reading Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart ‘with and against’ each other, she is able to recontextualize all three in a powerfully original way.” ~Barbara Newman, Professor of English and Religion, Northwestern University