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The Oxford English Literary HistoryVolume I: 1000-1350: Conquest and Transformation$
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Laura Ashe

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199575381.001.0001

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Know Yourself

Know Yourself

Interiority, Love, and God

(p.127) 3 Know Yourself
The Oxford English Literary History

Laura Ashe

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the development of the new theology of interiority and confessional soul-searching, analysing the Life of Christina of Markyate and the hagiographical Life of St Alexis, observing the changes in understanding of sin and virtue in the early twelfth century. Abelard’s theory of self-knowledge and of the ethics of the will are examined in this light. It then considers the devotional sufferings of the ascetic, and moves to a long discussion of the Ancrene Wisse, the guide for thirteenth-century anchorites, in how to keep a pure heart. The love of God is central to this, as is the experience of pain and of shame. New theories of the Incarnation are described and analysed as part of a great cultural change.

Keywords:   Christina of Markyate, Life of St Alexis, Peter Abelard, devotion, interiority and subjectivity, affectivity, confession, Ancrene Wisse, Christ and the Incarnation, love

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