The Bride of the Holy Trinity: The Role of Mary in Mechthild of Magdeburg's Mystical Theology

Journal Article

This article adds to our understanding of late medieval women's religious writing by examining the role of the Virgin Mary in Mechthild of Magdeburg's thirteenth-century mystical text The Flowing Light of the Godhead (Das fließende Licht der Gottheit). The Virgin Mary was ubiquitous in late medieval religious writing, but she played different roles and modeled different ways of life, reflecting the particular aims of individual authors. In Mechthild's text, Mary is depicted as a spiritual teacher who actively draws the narrator into higher forms of the mystical life. Mechthild also portrays the Virgin in several traditional roles, adapting each of these roles to support her particular vision of the mystical life. Mary thus functions as a model for religious experience in The Flowing Light, while also authorizing and sanctioning Mechthild's contemplative ideals.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zoutendam, ER

Published Date

  • June 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 91 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 245 - 263

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1755-2613

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0009-6407

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/s0009640722001354


  • en