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Document Details :
Title: How Ruusbroec Tastes, Sounds, and Smells
Subtitle: Henry of Coesfeld and the Gerson-Groenendaal Controversy
Author(s): GAENS, Tom
Journal: Ons Geestelijk Erf
Volume: 88 Issue: 2-4 Date: 2017
This essay examines an aspect of the Gerson-Groenendaal controversy in which Jean Gerson condemned parts of John of Ruusbroec’s work in letters addressed to the Herne charterhouse, quoting from a capitular sermon of the Carthusian prior and visitor Henry of Coesfeld. To better understand the nuanced position of the Carthusian in the matter, Gerson’s quotations are situated in Henry’s broader discussion of true and false devotion. By indicating the convergences between the Trinitarian and Christological thinking of the Carthusian and the ideas of the Brabantine mystical teacher, the essay concludes that there is no reason to assume that Henry had any mistrust about the good intentions of the Groenendaal prior. On the contrary, Henry of Coesfeld’s sermons and tracts (as well as those of other Carthusian authors of the Low Countries and the Rhineland) reflect a keen interest in Ruusbroecian and pseudo-Ruusbroecian texts. We hence conclude that the so-called effects of the Gerson controversy on the dissemination of Ruusbroec’s works must be carefully re-evaluated.