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John of Ruusbroec’s Life and Works

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is an introduction that summarizes the elements of John of Ruusbroec's life and works. In approximately 1360, John of Ruusbroec, who was then seventy, walked about forty kilometers from his monastery at Groenendaal to the Charterhouse of Herne. The community of Carthusians had invited him to clarify certain perplexing aspects of his mystical theology. The 1944-1948 editions attributes The Gloss on the Our Father and a sermon entitled On the Blessed Sacrament to Ruusbroec. The editor, considered it possible that the first text, which occurs only in the composite manuscript and is ascribed to Ruusbroec, was actually written by him. The notations in the compilation manuscripts informs of the chronology of Ruusbroec's works, while the epilogue by the so-called 'Descendant' discusses the copying of manuscripts and Ruusbroec's theology. A possible explanation of the symbolic meaning of his text may be found in Ruusbroec's own work.

Keywords: Carthusians; John of Ruusbroec; manuscripts; mystical theology



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