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Document Details :
Title: Deiformity as the Ultimate Human Freedom
Subtitle: Gerlach Peters' Soliloquium ignitum cum Deo
Author(s): DUPONT, Anthony , UYTTENHOVE, Lieve
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 24 Date: 2014
In this article, it is argued that Gerlach Peters’ Soliloquium ignitum cum Deo contains a twofold movement of conversion, away from the wordly and towards the Divine. Focussing especially on the second aspect, Gerlach’s notion of deiformity is highlighted and further explored. In order to render a systematic explanation, the authors underline Gerlach’s conviction that the human orientation towards the world is an obstacle to the evolution of the spiritual life and the search for God. Therefore, human beings are asked to orient their gaze firmly on God which by grace enables deiformity resulting both in a vision of God and a union with God. The authors also draw attention to the ethical component of deiformity – including Gerlach’s belief that union with God entails transformation, such that deiform people also re-model the life of others in this world. With deiformity as the central idea in the Soliloquium, Gerlach’s understanding is compared with modern scholarship surrounding the contemplative spirituality in Middle Dutch mysticism. The authors conclude with a critical evaluation of the spirituality of Gerlach Peters in view of its contemporary relevance, which includes both general advice for a balanced life and support for believers who are in search of a life united with God.