The Mirror of Simple Souls

The Mirror of Simple Souls: Marguerite Porete's Voice and Use of Gender

Let your women keep silence in the churches:

for it is not permitted unto them to speak.

-I Corinthians 14:34

It is a good thing that women religious writers, especially Marguerite Porete, did not listen to this scripture and spoke up in church. While all women mystics are quite different from each other, they all share the common idea of the conviction, that there was a reality, a profound meaning, behind or beyond or within the world of appearances. For mystics, their relationship and intimacy with God is the most important thing in their lives, so much, that they can not help themselves but make sure that their ideas, theology, and experiences are written down for all to read. Especially for women, who had no rights, usually little to no education, and had two simple roles in life: cloistered nun or wife, women who wrote mystical texts were feminists in their own right, paving a light for all women who had the power to believe they could write something just as profound as men.

Marguerite Porete's complex and sometimes daunting Mirror of Simple Souls is a mystical text that far exceeds the philosophical content of her predecessors. Much is unclear about Marguerite's life and text, yet, it is clear that the Mirror...

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