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Ruusbroec the Author

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Chapter Summary

John of Ruusbroec was a great mystic. Each of his treatises is an attempt to describe and to explain a direct experience of God that transcends human reason. This chapter considers that literature is equated with the written word. Ruusbroec's world was, deeply embedded in the oral tradition. It investigates the possible sources of Ruusbroec's imagery, which remain difficult to pinpoint precisely. In the Realm, the mystic names none of his sources and seldom quotes literally. Yet, it is very clear that concerning the imagery in the Realm, Ruusbroec was representative of his age. There is a clear affinity with the work of mystical authors from the Rhineland. Each stage of the mystical experience, including the highest, is represented with imagery. His use of metaphor has its own inner logic. It signifies far more than simply a packaging for the non-metaphorical content.

Keywords: God; John of Ruusbroec; literature; mystical experience; Realm



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