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Document Details :
Title: Mother of Love
Subtitle: The Virgin Mary in Hadewijch's Mysticism
Author(s): SHAHAN, Lydia
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 42 Issue: 1 Date: 2019
This article analyzes the role of the Virgin Mary in the corpus of Hadewijch, a female mystical poet and theologian from the thirteenth-century Low Countries. First, the article establishes that, despite a scholarly emphasis on her Christocentricity, Hadewijch consistently writes about Mary in all four genres of her spiritual writings (Letters, Visions, Poems in Stanzas and Poems in Couplets). This article contends not only that Mary is a persistent theme in Hadewijch’s writings, but also that Hadewijch’s consistent emphasis on Mary’s motherhood (rather than, for example, her virginity) reveals key insights about her theology. In the imitatio Mariae she encourages among her readers, Hadewijch’s theology of mystical union expresses a profoundly radical belief in the human person’s potential for deification. The article reveals Hadewijch’s theological innovation by showing how, although some of her images of Mary are most likely influenced by the twelfth-century Cistercian theologian Bernard of Clairvaux, Hadewijch’s more multi-faceted depictions of Mary’s humility and of her motherhood allow her theology of union to go beyond Bernard’s. Although texts from throughout Hadewijch’s corpus are mentioned in the article, the analysis concentrates on three texts in which Mary plays the largest role: Stanzaic Poem 29, Poem in Couplets 14 and Vision 13.