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Title: Imaginary Experience of the Divine
Subtitle: Felix Fabri's Sionspilger - Late-Medieval Pilgrimage Literature as a Window into Religious Mentality
Author(s): CLASSEN, Albrecht
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 15    Date: 2005   
Pages: 109-128
DOI: 10.2143/SIS.15.0.2003471

Abstract :
To understand some of the basic elements of late-medieval mentality, we must always
take a careful look at religious documents, although anticlerical criticism was a staple of
fifteenth-century public discourse. We can in fact discover a new form of individualized
spirituality that motivated many people to go on pilgrimages. However, the majority of
people did not have the financial means available, could not afford the time, or were not
allowed to leave their convent. Not surprisingly, we can therefore discover a most fasci-
nating account of a spiritual pilgrimage in Felix Fabri’s Sionspilger (after 1492). Here the
readers (mostly women) are invited to accompany the narrator, who could authenticate
his account by means of his personal experiences gained on his pilgrimage to the Holy
Land, on a spiritual journey to Palestine and see, with their spiritual eyes, the holy sites.
The critical reading of Fabri’s Sionspilger allows us to gain immediate insight into late-
medieval mentality insofar as the account provides the basic literary framework for the
spiritual exercises of a large audience of female readers, mostly in urban convents.

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