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Mystical Theology and the Hermit in Fourteenth-Century England

The introduction begins with Saint Wilgefortis, whose image adorns the cover. The book is organized into three sections: Bodies, Desires and Performances.


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Each section ends with discussion questions. Published by Bloomsbury.

Congregants include a single grandmother, a lesbian couple, an African American female impersonator, a dual-gendered person and many others. The author is a retired Army officer who has been active in many different churches, including MCC, Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian. Published by Mockingbird Lane Press. Queer ways of understanding and connecting with God are found in this scholarly book about the mysterious medieval English hermit Richard Rolle.

His religious writings were widely read in the Middle Ages. Rolle began a queer journey when he became a hermit, defining himself in opposition to normal society.

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Dr. Christopher M. Roman | Department of English | Kent State University

The book explores his ontology, phenomenology, and his queer use of sound and music as a means of opening the body to experience the divine. Published by Palgrave Macmillan. Coming soon and available for pre-order. Published by SBL Press. Published by University of Chicago Press. Most, if not all, of our information about him comes from the Office of Lessons and Antiphons that was composed in the s in preparation for his canonisation, although this never came about.

Richard Rolle

Born into a small farming family [7] and brought up at Thornton-le-Dale [8] near Pickering , he studied at the University of Oxford , where he was sponsored by Thomas de Neville, the Archdeacon of Durham. It was probably while still living with Dalton, two years and eight months after becoming a hermit, Rolle had his first mystical experience. Around a year later, he felt similarly after listening to a choir, and he began to take less interest in all things temporal.

Queering Richard Rolle: Mystical Theology And The Hermit In Fourteenth Century England

Dalton himself was arrested and his lands confiscated in ; the lack of mention of this fact in accounts of Rolle's life makes it likely that he was no longer living with Dalton by this point. One theory is that Rolle spent the early s at the renowned Sorbonne , becoming well-trained in theology, and perhaps being ordained there.

Scholars, however, are divided on the authenticity of this material. Around , Rolle knew the Yorkshire anchoress Margaret Kirkby , who was his principal disciple and the recipient of much of his writings [17] and would be important in establishing his later reputation.

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Rolle died in Michaelmas at the Cistercian nunnery at Hampole. Because of his time spent here, where he was director of the inmates, he is sometimes known as Richard Rolle of Hampole, or de Hampole. It is unclear what his function was there: he was not the nuns' official confessor, who was a Franciscan in any case, it is unlikely he would have had ecclesiastical sanction for this, since unless the theory about his ordination in Paris is correct, he was probably not ordained, since his name is not in the list of those ordained in the dioceses of York or Durham in the relevant years.

He was buried first in the nuns' cemetery at Hampole. Later records of people making offerings of candles at his shrine show that he was moved first to the chancel and then to his own chapel. Rolle probably began writing in the early s, and continued until his death—but there is no certain chronology of his various works.

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He wrote in both Latin and English , with his English works apparently all dating from after c The precise dating of Rolle's works is a matter of much modern dispute. The dates set out by Hope Emily Allen in have been widely used by later writers, but in Nicholas Watson set out a rather different vision of the chronology of Rolle's writing. In one of his best-known works, Incendium Amoris The Fire of Love , Rolle provides an account of his mystical experiences, which he describes as being of three kinds: a physical warmth in his body, a sense of wonderful sweetness, and a heavenly music that accompanied him as he chanted the Psalms.

The book was widely read in the Middle Ages , and described the four purgative stages that one had to go through to become closer to God: described as open door, heat, song, and sweetness. His last work was probably the English The Form of Living , written in autumn at the earliest. It is addressed to Margaret Kirkby, who entered her enclosure as a recluse on 12 December , and is a vernacular guide for her life as an anchorite.

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