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The Secret WithinHermits, Recluses, and Spiritual Outsiders in Medieval England$
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Wolfgang Riehle

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451096

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451096.001.0001

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“Female” versus “Male” Spirituality?

“Female” versus “Male” Spirituality?

A Talking of the Love of God and the Meditations of the Monk of Farne

(p.59) Chapter 4 “Female” versus “Male” Spirituality?
The Secret Within

Wolfgang Riehle

, Charity Scott-Stokes
Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the mystical discourse in A Talking of the Love of God, a unique prose text in Vernon that prefaces Ancrene Wisse, with particular emphasis on the distinction between “female” and “male” spirituality. Considered by scholars to be typical of fourteenth-century mysticism, Talking is an example of vernacular literature for recluses. It is concerned with God's love and probably recalls The Wooing of Our Lord. As in The Wooing of Our Lord, so also in the parts of Talking that are dependent on this earlier text, the first-person speaker should be thought of as a woman, who comes to recognize Christ as her ideal lover and partner. This chapter also considers the connection between Talking and the collection of meditations of the “monk of Farne,” believed to be John Whiterig.

Keywords:   mysticism, A Talking of the Love of God, Ancrene Wisse, spirituality, love, The Wooing of Our Lord, meditations, monk of Farne, John Whiterig, recluses

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