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Mystiek > Over mystiek > Geschiedenis > Christelijk

Appendix (17)

Middeleeuwen: Heinrich Suso

Tauler was one of the leading spirits in the great informal society of the Friends of God, which sprang into being in Strassburg, spread through the Rhenish province and beyond to Switzerland and Bavaria, and worked in this moment of religious decadence for the spiritual regeneration of the people. In a spirit of fierce enthusiasm and wholehearted devotion, the Friends of God set themselves to the mystic life, as the only life worthy of the name. A great outburst of transcendental activity took place: many visions and ecstasies were reported: amazing conversions occurred. The movement had many features in common with that of the Quakers; except that it took place within, instead of without, the official Church, and was partly directed against the doctrines of the Brethren of the Free Spirit and other heretical sects. With it was connected the third of the trio of great German Dominican mystics, the Blessed Henry Suso (c. 1295-1365), a natural recluse and ascetic, and a visionary of the most exuberant Catholic type. To Suso, subjective, romantic, deeply interested in his own soul and his personal relation with God, mysticism was not so much a doctrine to be imparted to other men as an intimate personal adventure. Though a trained philosopher and theologian, and a devoted follower of Eckhart, his autobiography - a human document far more detailed and ingenuous than St. Teresa's more celebrated "Life" - is mainly the record of his griefs and joys, his pains, visions, ecstasies, and miseries. Even his mystical treatises are in dialogue form, as if he could hardly get away from the personal and dramatic aspect of the spiritual life.

Around these three - Eckhart, Tauler, Suso - are gathered other and more shadowy personalities: members of this mystical society of the Friends of God, bound to the heroic attempt to bring life - the terribly corrupt and disordered religious life of the fourteenth century - back into relation with spiritual reality, to initiate their neighbours into the atmosphere of God. From one of these nameless members comes the literary jewel of the movement: the beautiful little treatise called the "Theologia Germanica," or "Book of the Perfect Life," probably written in Frankfort about the year 1350 by a priest of the Teutonic Order. One of the most successful of many attempts to make mystic principles available for common men, this book was greatly loved by Luther, who published an incomplete edition in 1518. Other Friends of God are now only known to us as the authors of letters, descriptions of conversions, visions, and spiritual adventures - literature which the movement produced in enormous quantities. No part of the history of mysticism has been more changed by recent research than that of the Rhenish school: and the work is still but partly done. At present we can only record the principal names which we find connected with the mystical propaganda of the Friends of God. These are first the nuns Margaret Ebner (1291-1351) and her sister Christina, important personages in the movement upon whose historicity no doubts have been cast. Margaret appears to have been a psychic as well as a mystic: and to have possessed, like Madame Guyon, telepathic and clairvoyant powers. Next the rather shadowy pair of laymen, Henry of Nordlingen and Nicolas of Basle. Lastly the puzzling figure of Rulman Merswin (c. 1310-1382), author of the series of apocalyptic visions called "The Book of the Nine Rocks"; whose story of his conversion and mystic life, whether it be regarded as fact or "tendency literature," is a psychological document of the first rank.

Wanneer je mystiek in het alledaagse vindt - kun je glimlachen om visioenen.
- Carla Pols -

Underhill, Evelyn: Mysticism
A study in the nature and development of Man's spiritual consciousness
Cover van Evelyn Underhill: MysticismDit boek van Evelyn Underhill is een onbetwistbare klassieker t.a.v. het onderwerp mystiek. Ook al is het in 1910 voor het eerst gepubliceerd, Underhills boek
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