Divine love, an emotional panacea?
in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
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The clerical documents written to guide the English Benedictines in their spiritual progress urged them to control human or ‘terrene’ emotions. Yet such discourse was balanced by what John Corrigan has called a ‘Christian hypervaluation of love’. Through the analysis of a wide range of personal documents, this chapter explores how the Benedictine nuns experienced one of the most fundamental paradoxes of Christian mystical theology: the impossibility of knowing God truy and His immediate accessibility through the channel of divine love. How did nuns negotiate their way through such a complex riddle?


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