Nobility and Annihilation in Marguerite Porete’s Mirror of by Joanne Maguire Robinson

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By Joanne Maguire Robinson

This primary book-length learn of Marguerite Porete’s very important mystical textual content, The reflect of easy Souls, examines Porete’s esoteric and positive doctrine of annihilation--the whole transformative union of the soul into God--in its philosophical and old contexts. Porete was once burned on the stake as a relapsed heretic in 1310. Her theological treatise survived the flames, however it circulated anonymously or below male pseudonyms until eventually 1946, and her message endures as testomony to a particular kind of medieval spirituality. Robinson starts off via concentrating on conventional speculations in regards to the beginning, nature, obstacles, and future of humankind. She then examines Porete’s paintings in its extra fast old and literary contexts, targeting the ways that Porete conceptualizes and expresses her radical doctrine of annihilation via modern metaphors of lineage and the Aristocracy.

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103 Here “nobility” is clearly not worldly nobility but spiritual nobility: high status before God if not before other people. Yet status in the world cannot be completely overlooked. Bernard writes that “it is not easy to know whether the baser sort lack the glory of the world by their own choice or by force of circumstances. ” Hence you are indeed blessed amongst others of your rank, because while they are contending for worldly glory you, by your very contempt for it, are exalted much more gloriously and by a far truer glory.

They summarily declared Porete a relapsed heretic, and they turned her over to secular authorities on May 31, 1310. 3 Who was this woman? 4 And this scant evidence is largely 27 28 Nobility and Annihilation in Marguerite Porete’s Mirror of Simple Souls skewed and biased. Many of the sources that have survived were hostile to Porete, and she is predictably hostile to her detractors within her text. 9 This is not “women’s history” in any other way than it focuses on a writer who was a woman who lived a religious life outside the structure of monastic life; who was well educated and inclined toward mystical speculation; and who stirred up controversy with a stubbornness found only rarely among her contemporaries.

Porete wanted to surpass all embodied creation while remaining within it in order to realize the true goal of human life: annihilation of the will and transformation into God. It must be noted that Porete’s condemnation was not the first or the last aimed at regulating new religious movements. Restrictions began as early as 1215, when the Fourth Lateran Council declared that all new religious orders had to conform to existing rules and forms. This decree was reiterated in 1274 at the Second Council of Lyons and at the Council of Vienne in 1311.

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