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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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The Cloud of Unknowing and Related Tracts

The Cloud of Unknowing and Related Tracts

(p.151) Chapter 7 The Cloud of Unknowing and Related Tracts
The Secret Within

Wolfgang Riehle

, Charity Scott-Stokes
Cornell University Press

This chapter examines The Cloud of Unknowing and the texts related to it. The Cloud of Unknowing, attributed to a late fourteenth-century young author, continues the English apophatic tradition. Concerned with the impossibility of knowing God, Cloud takes its orientation from the work of Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita, who in turn followed on from Gregory of Nyssa. This chapter first provides an overview of the canon of the Cloud author's works before turning to a discussion of the relationship of the mystically inclined human being to God as tackled in Cloud and in The Book of Privy Counselling. It then considers the Cloud author's theological “anthropology,” along with the influence of Thomas Gallus on the Cloud texts. It also explores the Cloud author's comparable attempt to incorporate the mysticism of love into Dionysian mysticism of being.

Keywords:   mysticism, The Cloud of Unknowing, God, Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita, Gregory of Nyssa, The Book of Privy Counselling, theological anthropology, Thomas Gallus, love, being

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