Ruusbroec

Literature and Mysticism in the Fourteenth Century

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Jan van Ruusbroec (1293-1381), the most influential medieval Dutch author, is generally acknowledged to be one of the key figures in the tradition of Christian mysticism. This book concentrates on the medieval dimensions of Ruusbroec’s authorship. Warnar offers a comprehensive analysis of Ruusbroec’s oeuvre within the social, religious and literary frameworks of the fourteenth century Low Countries. Ruusbroec emerges as an author who was fully engaged in contemporary discussions on the contemplative life and mystical theology, as a charismatic guide who attracted a growing number of disciples first from the Low Countries but soon from all over Western Europe, and as the architect of a vernacular oeuvre of international interest from the Middle Ages to modern times.

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Geert Warnar, Ph.D. (1995) in Medieval Literature, University of Leiden, is leading a five year research project (University of Leiden) on medieval Dutch Literature and learning, the subject of his recent publications.
'Warnar's book will be indispensable for the study of Ruusbroec."
Bernard McGinn, The Journal of Religion (July 2008) 403-404.
Author’s Note and Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Contested Wisdom

I. BRUSSELS
1. Ancestry and Inwardness
2. Lessons and Liturgy
3. Years of Silence
4. ‘The first book he made’

II. THE ESPOUSALS
1. Bloemardinne and Beguine Mysticism
2. A Chaplain at the Church of St Gudula
3. The Espousals in Context
4. Masterpiece

III. ‘THIS AUTHOR IS CALLED JAN VAN RUUSBROEC’
1. Inspired Authorship
2. Guide to Gottesfreunde
3. Heretics and Clerics
4. Conversation with a Hermit

IV. GROENENDAAL
1. Farewell to Brussels
2. Priests in the Forest
3. The Exposition of the Tabernacle
4. Jan van Leeuwen and the Lay Brothers

V. THE GOOD PRIOR
1. Scholars at Groenendaal
2. The Letters, the Baroness and the Convent of Rich Clares
3. Ruusbroec’s Women
4. Highest Truth

VI. A CLEARLY ENLIGHTENED MAN
1. Ruusbroec’s Latter Years
2. De numero et ordine suorum voluminum
3. Epilogue from Eemstein
4. Fireworks and Feasting

Bibliography
Index
All those interested in medieval studies, the history of religion, literary criticism, intellectual history, Church historians.