Interiority, Love, and God
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.
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