Sacrifice and Delight in the Mystical Theologies of Anna Maria van Schurman and Madame Jeanne Guyon
167 pages

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167 pages

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In this compelling study of two seventeenth-century female mystics, Bo Karen Lee examines the writings of Anna Maria van Schurman and Madame Jeanne Guyon, who, despite different religious formations, came to similar conclusions about the experience of God in contemplative prayer. Van Schurman was born into a Dutch Calvinist family and became a superb scriptural commentator before undergoing a dramatic religious conversion and joining the Labadist community, a Pietistic movement. Guyon was a French layperson whose thought would be identified with Quietism—a spiritual path that was looked upon with suspicion both by the French Catholic Church and by Rome.

Lee analyzes and compares the themes of self-denial and self-annihilation in the writings of these two mystics. In van Schurman's case, the focus is on the distinction between scholastic knowledge of God and the intima notitia Dei accessible only by radical self-denial. In Guyon's case, it is on the union with God that is accessible only through a painful self-annihilation. For both authors, Lee demonstrates that the desire for enjoyment of God plays an important role as the engine of the soul's progress away from self-centeredness. The appendices offer facing Latin and English translations of two letters by van Schurman and a selection from her Eukleria.



Publié par
Date de parution 07 novembre 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268085841
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1450€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Studies in Spirituality and Theology
Lawrence Cunningham, Bernard McGinn, and David Tracy
Sacrifice and Delight in the Mystical Theologies of Anna Maria van Schurman and Madame Jeanne Guyon
Bo Karen Lee
University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana
Copyright © 2014 by the University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556 -->
All Rights Reserved Manufactured in the United States of America Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Lee, Bo Karen, 1971– Sacrifice and delight in the mystical theologies of Anna Maria van Schurman and Madame Jeanne Guyon / Bo Karen Lee. pages cm. — (Studies in spirituality and theology) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-268-03391-9 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Mysticism. 2. Quietism. 3. Schurman, Anna Maria van, 1607–1678. 4. Guyon, Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte, 1648–1717.I. Title. BV5082.3.L442014 248.2'209252—dc23 2014028630 ∞ The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources. -->
E-ISBN 978-0-268-08584-1
This e-Book was converted from the original source file by a third-party vendor. Readers who notice any formatting, textual, or readability issues are encouraged to contact the publisher at
This book is dedicated to my parents, Jong and Sunny Lee, who joyously pour out their lives for God and others. They embody beautifully the substance of this book.
1 — Reclaiming the Enjoyment of God: Desiderium and Sacrifice
2 — “I Wish to be Nothing”: Self-Denial in Anna Maria van Schurman’s Eukleria
3 — The Impossibility and the Delights of Self-Denial in van Schurman’s Theology
4 — “Oh, Happy Dying”: Self-Annihilation in Madame Jeanne Guyon’s Commentaire au Cantique des cantiques de Salomon
5 — The Impossiblity and the Delights of Self-Annihilation in Guyon’s Theology
6 — The Challenges and Promise of Retrieval
Appendix A: Letter 2 from Anna Maria van Schurman to Johann Jakob Schütz, Altonae, 12/22 August 1674
Appendix B: Letter 4 from Anna Maria van Schurman to Johann Jakob Schütz, Altonae, 22 December 1674
Appendix C: Eukleria , by Anna Maria van Schurman, Chapter 9, Sections XIX–XXIV
Bibliography Index -->
This book began to take shape in me long before I became a student of theology. My parents and their life of ministry were the original inspiration. In them, I witnessed the beauty of a surrendered life, a life fully devoted to serving God even at apparent cost to themselves. They, however, never spoke of sacrifice and instead considered themselves most blessed. Now in their silver years, they exude a “joy unspeakable” and continue to love God and others tirelessly. They embody the best of Anna Maria van Schurman and Jeanne Guyon. If not for my parents, I would not have had the courage to write on the uncomfortable subject of self-denial.
Indeed, I took up that very subject for my doctoral dissertation, an earlier rendition of this monograph. I am thankful to my mentors at Princeton Theological Seminary who encouraged me to pursue the thesis. Ellen Charry, who instilled in me a love of theology when she taught that theology can lead to greater love for God, was a gracious guide and support throughout the dissertation phase. Thanks go also to Stacy Johnson, who introduced me to Anna Maria van Schurman in the first place, and to James Deming, who asked me important historical questions about the early modern period.
More immediately, I am grateful for the support of Bernard McGinn, who took the time to read my work and believed in it, even when I was a young, stumbling scholar. I first had the privilege of learning from him in 2002 at the University of Chicago, where his seminars helped me to understand the broader sweep of Christian mysticism during the medieval and early modern periods and enabled me to begin exploring the themes of this project. This past year, he was a steady guide through the “Generations in Dialogue” program, sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies. His keen eye and sage advice mean more to me than I can express. I am also grateful to Princeton Theological Seminary for its support of junior faculty, granting a sabbatical year to focus on our scholarship. Dean James Kay especially encouraged me in the completion of this book project, and I remain in his debt for his insightful counsel. The Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research provided a beautiful place to work during my sabbatical year, as well as an opportunity to test some of my ideas. The John Templeton Award for Theological Promise also opened avenues for international conversation around the themes of this book, which helped to refine my thought. I thank Michael Welker and Peter Lampe for their support and the John Templeton Foundation for its generous grant.
During the past year, my five-year-old nephew Jonathan was diagnosed with cancer, and my family and I experienced the most difficult season of our lives. Months later, my brother-in-law was also diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, both are now healthy and well. But during a time when writing became challenging, God’s tender mercies and the loving support of friends buoyed me. I thank Sr. Josephine Aparo and Sr. Mary Gintella at the Morning Star House of Prayer, who offered me a prayerful shelter to heal from some of the year’s travails. I also want to acknowledge my pastors and small group at the Washington Crossing United Methodist Church, and my friends from Princeton Seminary and Princeton University, for their prayers and steady encouragement. Some read portions of my manuscript and offered thoughtful feedback: Jessica Lowe, Laura Thelander, Arthur Murray, Greg Lee, Mary Carlson, and my dear sister Eunny. I also thank Joy Arroyo, Jennifer DiRicco, Harry Yoon, and Sharon Kim, for engaging my ideas, as well as Joyce Irwin, Janet Martin, and Josephine Dru, for their Latin expertise.
Finally, I owe an enormous debt of love to my family. My sister Shinna and her husband Don provided encouragement and advice over the years, as well as countless prayers; their children Jonathan, Anna, and Gabrielle give constant delight. Their faith in the midst of trials continues to inspire me. And my sister Eunny has been a dear, faithful friend through every season of life. Her loyalty and kindness, together with her husband Justin’s, are inestimable gifts to me. I am deeply blessed to have been surrounded by the rich support of family, mentors, and friends, who helped to carry me through the entire process of completing this project.
I thank Brill Academic Publishers and the journal Franciscanum (Universidad de San Buenaventura) for allowing me to reuse published material. Portions of chapters 2 and 3 appeared in my essay “‘I Wish to Be Nothing’: The Role of Self-Denial in the Mystical Theology of Anna Maria van Schurman,” in Women, Gender, and Radical Religion in Early Modern Europe, ed. Sylvia Brown (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 189–216, and various portions of the book appeared in summary form in my “Sacrifice and Desire: The Rhetoric of Self-Denial in the Mystical Theologies of Anna Maria van Schurman and Madame Jeanne Guyon,” Franciscanum 51, no. 151 (2009): 207–39.
Self-denial can ruin a person. During my doctoral program in theology, I read account after account of women abused in the name of Christianity. Annie Imbens’s book Christianity and Incest , was particularly painful to read. Imbens demonstrated how fathers, appealing to Jesus’s self-denial as a model for “good Christians,” forced their daughters into unspeakable acts. Her case studies came from the Dutch Reformed Church but can extend to other contexts; my own friend from the midwestern United States was abused by her father, a prominent church elder who forced her into submission with all the weight of the church’s teachings. The theology of self-denial was tragically manipulated. It seemed obvious that a stronger sense of self was needed to bolster the defenses of female victims.
When I encountered Madame Jeanne Guyon’s seventeenth-century writings, her biblical commentaries seemed to contain an unhealthy preoccupation with the notion of self-annihilation, which furthered my misgivings about the church’s teaching on self-denial. However, as I continued to read more deeply, a strange beauty emerged. Guyon drew power from her particular theology; indeed, it allowed her to overcome cruel hardships, including persecution from the church and royal court, and inhumane imprisonments. Her theological and spiritual framework provided resources with which she could confront the ecclesial and political structures of her day. Guyon’s writings have inspired many notable thinkers across multiple continents. Her enduring influence is astonishing given that she was a condemned figure in the Catholic Church.
I was surprised to find a similar pattern in Anna Maria van Schurman’s theology in seventeenth-century Holland: her reflections on self-denial promised a deep inner strength, peace, and even joy. According to van Schurman, self-denial, when understood and practiced properly, enlarges rather than diminishes the individual. Indeed, we see a gradual transformation of tone in van Schurman’s own writings—from that of acquiescent female to self-possessed leader in her circle and beyond.
These women and their texts, oddly enough, resonated in my mind with an emerging movement within feminism today. This generation of scholars promotes a feminism that does not seek to mimic that which it resists. In other words, this brand of feminism does not seek power as the primary g

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