Acts of Devotion: Loving God with Body and Soul in The Cloud of Unknowing and The Book of Margery Kempe
Florio, Nicolette Denise
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The thesis examines the relationship between the active and contemplative life in the medieval English texts The Cloud of Unknowing and The Book of Margery Kempe. The similarities and differences between the views of the Cloud's author and Margery Kempe on the interplay between the active and contemplative life is discussed. I use their positions to support my theory that the mixed life, which involves aspects of both the contemplative and active life, permits an individual to serve God with both body and spirit. The diverse actions a person performs physically and spiritually will validate the multitude of paths that may be pursued in forming a relationship with God. The texts will be used to demonstrate that man must integrate both the physical and spiritual to unite with God in spiritual marriage. I will establish that Margery Kempe's call to serve all of humanity in the active life is the fruit of her commitment to contemplative prayer. The proof of a holy active life being rooted in prayer will be further established by the Cloud author's praise for the physicality involved in contemplation.