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Mechthild of Magdeburg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mechthild of Magdeburg
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mechthild (or Mechtild) of Magdeburg (c. 1207 c. 1282/1294), a Beguine, was a medieval mystic, whose book Das ieende Licht der Gottheit (The Flowing Light of Divinity) described her visions of God.

1 Life 2 Works 3 References 4 Modern editions 5 Further Reading

Denite biographical information about Mechthild is scarce; what is known of her life comes largely from scattered hints in her work. She was probably born to a noble Saxon family, and claimed to have had her rst vision of the Holy Spirit at the age of twelve.[1] In 1230 she left her home to become a Beguine at Magdeburg.[2] There, like Hadewijch of Antwerp, she seems to have exercised a position of authority in a beguine community.[3] In Magdeburg she became acquainted with the Dominicans and became a Dominican tertiary. [4] It seems clear that she read many of the Dominican writers.[5] It was her Dominican confessor, Henry of Halle, who encouraged and helped Mechthild to compose The Flowing Light.[6] Her criticism of church dignitaries, religious laxity and claims to theological insight aroused so much opposition that some called for the burning of her writings. With advancing age, she was not only alone, and the object of much criticism but she also became blind.[7] Around 1272, she joined the Cistercian nunnery at Helfta, who offered her protection and support in the nal years of her life, and where she nished writing down the contents of the many divine revelations she claimed to have experienced. According to Professor Kate Lindemann, it speaks much of this community and its Abbess, that they would embrace a woman who was over 60 years of age, in poor health and so isolated by society. It is unclear whether she actually formally joined the Cistercian community or if she simply resided there and participated in the religious services but did not take Cistercian vows.[7] The nuns of Helfta were highly educated and important works of mysticism survive from Mechthilds younger contemporaries, St. Mechthild of Hackeborn and St. Gertrude the Great. It is unclear when Mechthild died. 1282 is a commonly cited date, but some scholars believe she lived into the 1290s.[8]

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Mechthild of Magdeburg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mechthilds writings are formed of the seven books that constitute Das iessende Lichte der Gottheit (The Flowing Light of the Godhead), which was composed between 1250 and 1280. There appear to have been three stages in the evolution of the work. The rst ve books were nished by about 1260. During the next decade Mechthild added a sixth book. After joining the community of Cistercian nuns at Helfta around 1272, she added a seventh book, rather different in tone from the previous six.[9] The Flowing Light was originally written in Middle Low German, the dialect of northern Germany. This original version is now lost, however. The text survives in two later versions. Firstly, around 1290, Dominican friars of the Halle community translated the rst six books into Latin. Then, in the mid-fourteenth century, the secular priest Henry of Nrdlingen translated The Flowing Light into the Alemannic dialect of Middle High German. This version survives complete in one manuscript and in fragmentary form in three others. [10] What is unusual about her writings is that she composed her work in middle low German at a time when most wisdom literature was composed in Latin. Thus she is remembered as an early proponent and popularizer of German as a language worthy of the divine and holy.[7] Mechthilds writing is exuberant and emotional: her descriptions of her visions are lled with passion. Her images of Hell are believed by some scholars to have inuenced Dante Alighieri when he wrote The Divine Comedy, and Mechthild is thought to have been represented by Dante in that work, in the character of Matelda. However, there is no substantial evidence for this and there are important differences in Dante's conception of Hell. While her work was translated into Latin during her lifetime. Her work was largely forgotten by the 15th century, but was rediscovered in the late 19th century by Pater Gall Morel, who published the rst edition. Her work has been increasingly studied, both for its academic interest and as a work of devotional literature. Her feast day is 19 November.[4] Asteroid 873 Mechthild is named in her honour.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. ^ Flowing Light 4.2. ^ Flowing Light 4.2. ^ Flowing Light 6.7. ^ a b Ghezzi, Bert. Voices of the Saints, Loyola Press, ISBN 978-0-8294-2806-3 ( /saints-stories-for-kids.htm?cId=402720) ^ See for example the inuence of the friars in Flowing Light 4.20-22. ^ Flowing Light 4.2. ^ a b c Lindemann PhD., Kate. Women Philosophers ( ^ Bernard McGinn, The Flowering of Mysticism, (1998), p223. ^ Bernard McGinn, The Flowering of Mysticism, (1998), pp222-3. ^ Bernard McGinn, The Flowering of Mysticism, (1998), p223.

Modern editions
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Mechthild of Magdeburg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mechthild von Magdeburg: Das ieende Licht der Gottheit. Edited and translated by Gisela Vollmann-Profe. Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, Franfurt a. M. 2003 (Bibliothek des Mittelalters 19) ISBN 3-618-66195-9 Mechthild von Magdeburg "Das ieende Licht der Gottheit". Nach der Einsiedler Handschrift in kritischem Vergleich mit der gesamten berlieferung. Tom. 1: Text. Edited by Hans Neumann. Artemis, Mnchen 1990 (Mnchener Texte und Untersuchungen zur deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters 100) The Flowing Light of the Godhead. By Mechthild of Magdeburg. Translated and introduced by Frank Tobin. Preface by Margot Schmidt. Paulist Press, New York and Mahwah, NJ 1998 (Classics of Western Spirituality Series) online ( /books?id=lqLmyzRgrBgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+owing+light&source=bl& ots=_JP5xlXzBC&sig=iFrBBBq328XnUsbNaQLohDL8RNE&hl=de&ei=b8qHS7epNoX4Abq4JzkDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CB0Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage& q=&f=false) and review (

Further Reading
Bernard McGinn, The Flowering of Mysticism, (1998), pp222-244. Most English translations are based on the German manuscripts of Mechthild's work. The Latin text of Mechthild's work is printed Sororis Mechtildis Lux Divinitatis Fluens in Corda Veritatis, vol 2 of Revelationes Gertrudianae et Mechtildianae, edited by the Monks of Solesmes, (Paris/Poitiers: Oudin, 1875-77). Retrieved from " oldid=557877079" Categories: 1210 births 1285 deaths Christian theologians Christian mystics 13th-century women writers German Roman Catholic religious sisters and nuns German women writers Women of medieval Germany Rhineland mystics Female saints Beguines and Beghards German religious biography stubs Christian biography stubs This page was last modied on 1 June 2013 at 20:14. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-prot organization.

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