2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Mechtilde of Magdeburg
The scion of a noble Saxon family, Mechtilde (c. 1209/1210-1282/1294) had her first vision at 12 and left her family home to become a Béguine in Magdeburg. She was under the direction of the Dominicans and began to write down her visions at the request or order of her confessor. She began in 1250 and finished most of her work by 1270, when the criticism from and hositility of the local clergy caused her to move to Helfta. Welcomed by Gertrude and Mechtilde of Hackeborn, she became a Benedictine and wrote the final volume of her visions.
The original Low German texts of Das fliessende Licht der Gottheit (The Flowing Light of Divinity) are not extant; however, Middle High German and Latin translations survive. Mechtilde writes in prose and poetry, and some consider the work disconnected. Her style is forceful. She draws on the imagery of the Song of Songs, and she seems to have known the work of Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegarde of Bingen, and William of St-Thierry, among others. The Flowing Light shows an understanding of Christ's love and may have influenced Dante. Some scholars identify Matelda of Cantos 27-33 of the Purgatario as Mechtilde of Magdeburg.
Karen Rae Keck
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