Graduate School of Theology
For many Protestants, faith consists primarily in belief and a commitment to the justice and compassion available to us through divine grace. But Christianity also offers a vision of lives transformed to their roots by and for love. Christian contemplatives in particular dedicate themselves to this desire for deeper relationship with the divine love. A group of women in the Middle Ages called the Beguines created a particularly beautiful and profound literature expressing this intoxicating desire for God, expressed in union and in love for humanity.1 One of the most brilliant of these women is Marguerite Porete, whose writings are readily available for the first time in centuries in part because of Ellen Babinksy’s wonderful translation of The Mirror of Simple Souls. In this essay I would like to reflect on Porete’s work and consider ways in which her description of non-dual union with the divine extends beyond the images of mystical marriage that are characteristic of many other Beguines.
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