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And therefore, what so thou be that covetest to come to contemplation of God, that is to say, to bring forth such a child that men clepen in the story Benjamin (that is to say, sight of God), then shalt thou use thee in this manner. Thou shalt call together thy thoughts and thy desires, and make thee of them a church, and learn thee therein for to love only this good word Jesu, so that all thy desires and all thy thoughts are only set for to love Jesu, and that unceasingly as it may be here; so that thou fulfill that is said in the psalm.
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FROM the end of the thirteenth to the beginning of the fifteenth century may be called the golden age of mystical literature in the vernacular. In Germany, we find Mechthild of Magdeburg (d. 1277), Meister Eckhart (d. 1327), Johannes Tauler (d. 1361), and Heinrich Suso (d. 1365); in Flanders, Jan Ruysbroek (d. 1381); in Italy, Dante Alighieri himself (d. 1321), Jacopone da Todi (d. 1306), St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380), and many lesser writers who strove, in prose or in poetry, to express the hidden things of the spirit, the secret intercourse of the human soul with the Divine, no longer in the official Latin of the Church, but in the language of their own people, “a man’s own vernacular,” which “is nearest to him, inasmuch as it is most closely united to him.”
FROM the end of the thirteenth to the beginning of the fifteenth century may be called the golden age of mystical literature in the vernacular. In Germany, we find Mechthild of Magdeburg (d. 1277), Meister Eckhart (d. 1327), Johannes Tauler (d. 1361), and Heinrich Suso (d. 1365); in Flanders, Jan Ruysbroek (d. 1381); in Italy, Dante Alighieri himself (d. 1321), Jacopone da Todi (d. 1306), St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380), and many lesser writers who strove, in prose or in poetry, to express the hidden things of the spirit, the secret intercourse of the human soul with the Divine, no longer in the official Latin of the Church, but in the language of their own people, "a man's own vernacular," which "is nearest to him, inasmuch as it is most closely united to him."[1] In England, the great names of Richard Rolle, the Hermit of Hampole (d. 1349), of Walter Hilton (d. 1396), and of Mother Juliana of Norwich, whose Revelation of Divine Love professedly date from 1373, speak for themselves. The seven tracts or treatises before us were published in 1521 in a little quarto volume: "Imprynted at London in Poules chyrchyarde at the sygne of the Trynyte, by Henry Pepwell. In the yere of our lorde God, M.CCCCC.XXI., the xvi. daye of Nouembre." They may, somewhat loosely speaking, be regarded as belonging to the fourteenth century, though the first and longest of them professes to be but a translation of the work of the great Augustinian mystic of an earlier age.
FROM the end of the thirteenth to the beginning of the fifteenth century may be called the golden age of mystical literature in the vernacular. In Germany, we find Mechthild of Magdeburg (d. 1277), Meister Eckhart (d. 1327), Johannes Tauler (d. 1361), and Heinrich Suso (d. 1365); in Flanders, Jan Ruysbroek (d. 1381); in Italy, Dante Alighieri himself (d. 1321), Jacopone da Todi (d. 1306), St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380), and many lesser writers who strove, in prose or in poetry, to express the hidden things of the spirit, the secret intercourse of the human soul with the Divine, no longer in the official Latin of the Church, but in the language of their own people, “a man’s own vernacular,” which “is nearest to him, inasmuch as it is most closely united to him.”
Contemporary introductions to the theme of self-knowledge too often trace its emergence in the history of philosophy to thinkers such as René Descartes and David Hume. Whereas Descartes conceives of self-knowledge as intimate and first-personal, Hume contends that it is limited to our awareness of our impressions and ideas. In point of fact, self-knowledge is a perennial theme. We may, for instance, trace the lineage of Hume and Descartes on these matters to Aristotle and Plato, respectively. This volume studies philosophical treatments of self-knowledge in the Medieval Latin West. It comprises two sets of papers; the first is taken from an author-meets-critics session on Therese Scarpelli-Cory’s Aquinas on Human Self Knowledge, which advances the thesis that Aquinas’s theory of self-knowledge wherein the intellect grasps itself in its activity bridges the divide between mediated and first-personal self-knowledge. The second set of papers discuss self-knowledge in terms of self-fulfilment. Authors look to Aquinas’s account of how we can know when we have acquired the virtues necessary for human happiness, as well as the medieval traditions of mysticism and theology, which offer accounts of transformative self-knowledge, the fulfilment that this brings to our emotional and physical selves, and the authority to teach and counsel about what this awareness confers.

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