Women Mystics Confront the Modern World: Marie de L'Incarnation (1599-1672) and Madame Guyon (1648-1717)

Women Mystics Confront the Modern World: Marie de L'Incarnation (1599-1672) and Madame Guyon (1648-1717)

Women Mystics Confront the Modern World: Marie de L'Incarnation (1599-1672) and Madame Guyon (1648-1717)

Women Mystics Confront the Modern World: Marie de L'Incarnation (1599-1672) and Madame Guyon (1648-1717)

Synopsis

Situates the female mystical tradition within the context of the epistemological shift which occurred at the dawn of the modern world.

Excerpt

He fate of Christian mysticism at the dawn of the modern world has been documented by contemporary historians of religion such as Louis Cognet, Michel de Certeau, Jacques Le Brun, and Georges Gusdorf. Yet many of the dilemmas particular to the decline of a distinctly female mystical tradition at the end of the seventeenth century have not been examined. the challenges Western mysticism encountered at this time produced losses in status and new forms of censorship, but also new opportunities hitherto unavailable to female mystics.

The two mystic writers presented in this study, Marie de l'Incarnation-Guyart (1599-1672) and Madame Guyon (1648-1717), extend, refine, and prolong a literary and spiritual tradition that had begun in the thirteenth century. Yet, because they are situated at a crucial point in the history of Western mysticism, when this movement was at once at its apogee and in the first degrees of its decline, their writings bear the marks of a changing mentality. the subject of this book concerns the transformations their mystical and writing practices underwent during this period, owing to various changes affecting society, knowledge, religious sensibilities . . .

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