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Essential Themes in Ruusbroec’s Mysticism

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Chapter Summary

A passage from Jan Van Ruusbroec's masterpiece, The Spiritual Espousals, introduces the essential themes of the Brabantine canon's mysticism. This text highlights many of the terms that are central to Ruusbroec's theology: love, rest, activity, nature, likeness, enjoyment, essential oneness, working, threeness, and taste. Few mystics of his time yield to him in the power to evoke the mystery of the ineffable contact with God that is the core of mysticism, but reading Ruusbroec at length reveals considerable repetition and occasional obscurity. In order to present a comprehensive picture of the great Brabantine mystic, this chapter concentrates on three essential aspects of his teaching: his dynamic theology of the Trinity; his distinctive anthropology; and, finally, his view of the path to union with God. Rooted in his teaching about the Trinity, Ruusbroec's view of human nature has a similar sense of movement, a dynamism characterized by relationality and exemplarity.

Keywords: dynamism; God; Ruusbroec's Mysticism; The Spiritual Espousals



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