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Title: The Dialectics of Mystical Love in the Middle Ages
Subtitle: Violence/Pain and Divine Love in the Mystical Visions of Mechtild of Magdeburg and Marguerite Porète
Author(s): CLASSEN, Albrecht
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 20    Date: 2010   
Pages: 143-160
DOI: 10.2143/SIS.20.0.2061147

Abstract :
As esoteric and incomprehensible as medieval mysticism proves to be, there are numerous ways to gain a critical, almost rational understanding of this phenomenon. One approach, above all, illustrates the deep essence of that phenomenon: mystics realized that the experience of physical pain provided an essential gateway for spiritual vision. Both the Low German mystic Mechthild von Magdeburg and the French mystic Marguerite Porète powerfully experimented with the sensation of pain in order to find a new means to come to terms with the visionary union with the Godhead. For them, mystical love was simply the other side of the same coin, closely matched with the sensation of bodily pain. In close proximity they both endeavored to experiment with physical pain as the catalyst to spiritual epiphany.

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