Author (Your Name)

A. Glos, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. History Dept.


Raffael M. Scheck

Second Advisor

Yeager Hudson


The thesis of this work seeks a middle ground between these two opposing camps. It seeks to interpret mystics (especially Eckhart, Ruysbroeck, and Julian) as both allied and opposed to their historical period. It is my contention that, simultaneously, there is a relation of certain historical epochs to mystics and mystics to their historical epochs. The first type of relation is objective and is characterized by dependence. It holds that certain types of historical periods produce mystics in greater quantity, while others do not, and that mystics in a certain sense are dependent upon these periods for their existence. The second type of relation is subjective, and is characterized by reaction. It holds that each mystic reacts differently to the historical epoch which has produced him or her. In this way, the mystics of history are seen not only as a product of their period, but also as a free response to it.


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Eckhart, Meister, d. 1327, Ruusbroec, Jan van, 1293-1381, Julian, of Norwich, b. 1343, Mysticism -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500