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Just Talking About God: Orthodox Prayer, Among The Heretical Beguins

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows the grey area between heretical and orthodox that characterizes the spirituality of the Beguins of Languedoc, spirituality that one can study using both their testimony before inquisitors and the manuscripts of spiritual texts that they created and carefully preserved. It provides a remarkable opportunity to approach the prayer and pious practices of ordinary Franciscan laypeople. The chapter outlines both the heresy and the orthodoxy of the Beguins of Languedoc. One form of evidence is the testimony that they provided to the inquisitors of Languedoc, testimony that survives both in inquisitorial registers, and also in the manual of heretical depravity written by Bernard Gui. The chapter examines two manuscripts of spiritual texts translated into the vernacular, both of Beguin origin that helps to illumine exactly what it was the Beguins talked about when they were simply "talking about God".

Keywords: Franciscan prayer; God; heretical Beguins of Languedoc; orthodox prayer; spiritual texts



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