Original Research

‘Maak die wêreld nie tot bespotting nie’: ’n Herwaardering van die filosofiese aspekte in Mechtild von Magdeburg se Das fliessende Licht der Gottheit (1250)

Johann Beukes
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a1965 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.1965 | © 2019 Johann Beukes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 January 2019 | Published: 12 September 2019

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Johann Beukes, Department of Philosophy, Faculty Humanities, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

‘Do not ridicule the world’: A reappraisal of the philosophical aspects in Mechtild of Magdeburg’s Das fließende Licht der Gottheit (1250). This article provides a reappraisal of the philosophical aspects in Mechtild von Magdeburg’s (ca. 1207–1282) Das fließende Licht der Gottheit, written in 1250 and found in 1860, only then to be edited in modern German. The article argues that Mechtild’s philosophical output constitutes a unique counter-cultural reaction from the 13th century. Her philosophical perspectives are characterised and represented by a solemn dictum for a 13th century nun (albeit a beguine), ‘do not ridicule the world’), which amounts to an intellectual engagement that takes the world seriously on a constant basis. Her emphasis on the union of the human and the Godhead, the primary role she attributes to experience in the acquisition of knowledge and her ethical interest in the ‘Other’ in a fragile world, stand to serve her deepest impression that love is the primary principle of both God and creation. Showing little interest in essentialist or causal analyses, with the exception of the principle of love, and with little in common with her early-scholastic contemporaries in their intellectual, scholastic refinements of the life-world system, she nevertheless exerted an influence on the mystical trajectories of the later Middle Ages, especially in the German tradition of Meister Eckhart.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: As a millennium-long discourse, Medieval philosophy functions in a Venn diagrammatical relationship with Medieval history, Church history, patristics and philosophy of religion. Whenever ‘mainstream’ or ‘canonised’ Medieval philosophy is impacted from the niche research, it may well have implications that these closely related disciplines could take note of.


Keywords

Mechtild von Magdeburg; Das fließende Licht der Gottheit; a metaphysics and cosmology of movement; neoplatonic emanation; the triadic relation of the soul and the senses

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Crossref Citations

1. ‘Maak die wêreld nie tot bespotting nie’: ’n Herwaardering van die filosofiese aspekte in Mechtild von Magdeburg se Das fliessende Licht der Gottheit (1250)
Johann Beukes
Verbum et Ecclesia  vol: 40  issue: 1  year: 2019  
doi: 10.4102/ve.v40i1.1965