Reviews - What do customers think about Brides in the Desert: The Spirituality of the Beguines?
Lacks Academic Validity Nov 30, 2007
As a scholar of the beguines, I have become very familiar with the historiography on them. This book is not well researched and it lacks the sophistication necessary to give a satisfactory account of this group of women.
If you want something more informative, try Walter Simons' City of Ladies or Amy Hollywood's books.
Women of the Wilderness Oct 17, 2005
Great details of this 12th century womens movement and its significance, to the Catholic Church and to all people called by spirituality today. Beguines led a religious life that was flexible with one foot in both worlds. The mystics that arose out of the movement were unparalleled (Hadewijch of the Brabant, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Beatriz of Nazareth et al.). Their lives still speak volumes in the beguinages (cities of peace) that are kept alive throughout Belgium and Amsterdam. Their main contributions to the Catholic church were devotion to the Sacred Heart, devotion to the Eucharist and frequent recpetion via institution of the feast of Corpus Christi, the pieta which was a statue originating among the beautiful Flemish artwork found in their awesomely beautiful (church) chapels. The women worked for the poor and lived simple lives (w/o the vow of poverty) and were free to leave at any time. In their spirituality they developed negative theology (finding God where he is "not"), emphasis on the divine origin of the soul and other gnostic aspects that do not cross the fine line from an interactive God into a manipulated God. Marguerite Porete excepted. The vernacular books they wrote were influential among more famous male mystics (Eckhart & Ruysbeck) & are as relevant today as they were then. Great women, great achievements with a tradition that is still alive (...)."Church suppression" was temporary and limited; did not take effect in countries who valued their holy women.