Stephanus Axters (essay date 1954)
SOURCE: Axters, Stephanus. “Before Ruysbroeck.” In The Spirituality of the Old Low Countries, translated by Donald Attwater, pp. 9-28. London: Blackfriars Publications, 1954.
[In the following excerpt, Axters sums up Hadewijch's mystical and literary sensibility, arguing that she “spiritualized courtly love” in the thirteenth century.]
The identification of the mystic called Hadewijch has been a nightmare to philologists for nearly a century. One of the latest hypotheses is that of Father J. van Mierlo, S.J., who seeks to identify her with a béguine of Nivelles named Helwig of Saint Cyr, who was buried at the abbey of Villers in 1269. However that may...
(The entire section is 999 words.)