Title: Impossible Pleasure: Jan van Ruusbroec and Jean-Luc Marion on Contemplation as Modeless Enjoyment
Authors: Cooper, Patrick # ×
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Equinox Publishing Ltd.
Series Title: Medieval Mystical Theology
Abstract: The following extends from an ongoing, fundamental retrieval of the Brabantine contemplative, Jan van Ruusbroec (1293-1381) and his understanding of love, or minne, as a theologically accountable, relevant, and culturally plausible rendering of love. This retrieval is aided in constructive/critical conversation with Jean-Luc Marion's similarly bold appeal for the univocity of love as clearly restoring a more rigorous and radically pure approach to transcendence. Marion suggests that we consider the proper region for the possibility of God's transcendence as beginning precisely wherein we as humans encounter barriers that cannot be transgressed—that which remains inescapably impossible for us. Such consideration, it is argued, aids our approach to Ruusbroec’s reflections upon contemplation as a modeless, abysmal enjoyment—or the “touch of the Holy Spirit”. For Ruusbroec, "modelessness" primarily ensures the gift character of contemplation—contrary to certain autotheistic claims of modeless inactivity, deemed as distinctly possible for us—since “mode[s] cannot attain to modelessness” for they are “two things that never shall be one, for they must remain distinct from each other”. Herein, the particularity of Ruusbroec's approach emerges in his insistence upon the mutual reciprocity of the creature's unyielding desire to the asymmetrical gratuitousness of God's grace, such that “The one [i.e. ‘modes’] may not drive away the other [‘modelessness’]”, a delicate balance reflective of minne's dynamic character and its enduring appeal.
ISSN: 2046-5726
Publication status: accepted
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Research Unit Systematic Theology - miscellaneous
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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