Van Geert Groote tot Ignatius van Loyola | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 115 Number 1
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

Abstract

This contribution discusses late-medieval ‘modern devotion’ in the Low Countries in terms of Foucault’s history of sexuality. This time and area are both historically and theoretically relevant for further refining and elaborating that history: in particular, they invite us to analyze the spirituality of Thomas a Kempis’s and Ignatius of Loyola’s in terms of pastoral power and anti-pastoral resistance. The theme of power is largely absent from Pierre Hadot’s notion of ‹spiritual exercises›, Foucault›s great source of inspiration; and even Foucault’s hardly discusses the question of resistance in or against early Christian practices of the self in any great detail. Further, the spiritual and sexual history of devotional practices of the self in the Low Countries gains even more relief when confronted with those of pre-modern Islamic mysticism. In both traditions, virginity appears to play a strikingly similar role.

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