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The Cell of Self-Knowledge : seven early English mystical treatises printed by Henry Pepwell in 1521   By: (-1540)

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In "The Cell of Self-Knowledge: Seven Early English Mystical Treatises Printed by Henry Pepwell in 1521," Henry Pepwell compiled a remarkable collection of early English mystical writings that provides a valuable insight into the spiritual landscape of sixteenth-century England. This anthology presents a diverse range of theological and devotional texts, shedding light on the intricate world of contemplation, piety, and self-discovery.

One of the most striking features of this anthology is its breadth, as it brings together seven distinct treatises that each offer unique perspectives on mysticism. The texts encompass a variety of subjects, including prayer, meditation, the nature of the soul, and the quest for spiritual enlightenment. Such a compilation allows readers to explore the multifaceted dimensions of mysticism and the various paths individuals undertook to deepen their connection with the divine.

Pepwell's expert curation and authoritative translations make this anthology an essential resource for scholars, students, and aficionados of medieval spirituality. Each treatise is introduced with a concise yet informative preface, providing crucial historical and literary context. Additionally, Pepwell's mastery of the English language in the early sixteenth century shines through in his accessible translations, making these mystical texts more accessible to a contemporary audience.

Moreover, one cannot overstate the significance of this anthology in terms of preserving and understanding the English mystical tradition. These treatises, many of which were previously unpublished or scattered across various manuscripts, are now brought together in a single volume, ensuring their longevity and accessibility. Pepwell's efforts in compiling and printing these texts contribute greatly to the preservation of English mystical literature and the recognition of its enduring impact on religious thought.

"The Cell of Self-Knowledge" not only serves as an academic treasure trove but also offers profound spiritual insights for readers. The writings contained within this anthology paint a vivid picture of the desires, struggles, and aspirations of medieval mystics, prompting reflection on our own spiritual journeys. Whether one seeks guidance in prayer, aspires for a deeper understanding of the soul, or longs for a more profound connection with the divine, these mystical treatises provide a wealth of wisdom and inspiration.

In conclusion, "The Cell of Self-Knowledge: Seven Early English Mystical Treatises Printed by Henry Pepwell in 1521" is an outstanding anthology that offers a valuable gateway to the world of English mystical literature. Henry Pepwell's meticulous selection and translation, coupled with his insightful prefaces, render this collection a significant contribution to the field of medieval spirituality. Engaging and enlightening, this book serves as a testament to the enduring relevance of mysticism and the eternal quest for self-discovery.

First Page:

The Cell of Self Knowledge:

Seven Early English Mystical Treatises

Printed by Henry Pepwell


Edited with an introduction and notes by

Edmund G. Gardner M.A.


The Frontispiece is taken from B.M. MS. Faustina, B. VI.

"Stiamo nella cella del cognoscimento di noi; cognoscendo, noi per noi non essere, e la bonta di Dio in noi; ricognoscendo l'essere, e ogni grazia che e posta sopra l'essere, da lui." St. Catherine of Siena.

"Tergat ergo speculum suum, mundet spiritum suum, quisquis sitit videre Deum suum. Exterso autem speculo et diu diligenter inspecto, incipit ei quaedam divini luminis claritas interlucere, et immensus quidam insolitae visionis radius oculis ejus apparere. Hoc lumen oculos ejus irradiaverat, qui dicebat: Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, Domine; dedisti laetitiam in corde meo. Ex hujus igitur luminis visione quam admiratur in se, mirum in modum accenditur animus, et animatur ad videndum lumen, quod est supra se." Richard of St. Victor.


I. A very Devout Treatise, named Benjamin, of the Mights and Virtues of Man's Soul, and of the Way to True Contemplation, compiled by a Noble and Famous Doctor, a man of great holiness and devotion, named Richard of Saint Victor

The Prologue

Cap. I. How the Virtue of Dread riseth in the Affection

Cap... Continue reading book >>

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