John Van Engen, University of Notre Dame

January 14, 2022

“McGinn’s The Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism is an astonishing achievement. No one will approach religious and mystical teaching in the late middle ages (1300-1550) quite the same way again. The broadest and richest account of Dutch mystical writers, a vision of Italian mystical writing that puts Catherine of Siena alongside Marsilio Ficino and Christian kabbalists, a fresh approach to famed English writers (Rolle, Julian, the Cloud author) fitting them into a larger religious world—all this in one volume, with serious attention to thought and theology, a close reading of texts, generous citation of vernacular originals, and weighty bibliographies. It is hard to imagine one person even attempting it, but McGinn has done it.”

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