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Nobility and Annihilation in Marguerite Porete's Mirror of Simple Souls (Suny Series in Western Esoteric Traditions) Paperback

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Product Details

  • Series: Suny Series in Western Esoteric Traditions
  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (May 16, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791449688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791449684
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,112,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This first book-length study of Marguerite Porete's important mystical text, The Mirror of Simple Souls, examines Porete's esoteric and optimistic doctrine of annihilation--the complete transformative union of the soul into God--in its philosophical and historical contexts. Porete was burned at the stake as a relapsed heretic in 1310. Her theological treatise survived the flames, but it circulated anonymously or under male pseudonyms until 1946, and her message endures as testament to a distinctive form of medieval spirituality.

About the Author

Joanne Maguire Robinson is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Westling on April 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
Marguerite Porete, a so-called "beguine" who wandered France around the year 1300 proclaiming her idea of Christian spirituality to anyone who would listen was without a doubt one of the most compelling figures of her day. Her writing style is nothing short of captivating, so simple and yet so difficult--simple, because she speaks in an enrapturing vernacular unlike any of her contemporaries, clear and logical, yet transcendent of any strict adherence to rationalist paradigms--difficult, because of what she asks of the reader. Joanne Maguire Robinson's treatment of Porete's thought is clear if a bit chauvinistic, involving a female solidarity I believe misplaced. An important feature in Porete's vision is her rejection of the intermediary of the Church in the soul's quest for redemption, concommittant with her rejection of the rule-based path to same, a "taking leave of the virtues." As such, she is an early exemplar of antinomianism, the rejection of the internalized Law. But her pathway to this noble goal is a forbidding one, involving what she terms the "annihilation" of the soul. "Not I live, but Christ lives in me" is her touchstone. Her unflinching exploration of the full set of implications of this simple idea constitutes her message. Robinson ably takes us into the depths of the medieval soul in its quest for purification, leading us to understand the nature of the medieval idea of nobility as such, and then applying this notion to Porete's philosophy. Paradox is unavoidable in Porete's vision: She quests for the annihilation of her will, but desires to attain to a state of exaltation rarely achieved by the most kingly spirit. Robinson shows us how this nobility born of abjectness functioned in the mind of the medieval believer.Read more ›
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