Abstract

This article offers an analysis of the complex and contradictory nature of lay religious texts produced in England at the turn of the fifteenth century. These works are interesting because they include statements of both encouragement to and anxiety about lay Christians who pursue more singular forms of devotion. I focus on one text in particular, A Ladder of Foure Ronges by the Which Men Mowe Wele Clyme to Heven, a monastic treatise on contemplation translated into Middle English and adapted for a lay audience in the late fourteenth century, as a touchstone to consider these conflicting positions.

His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.

—Carl Jung, in a letter written in 1961 to Bill W.,co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0383
Print ISSN
0039-3738
Pages
pp. 403-431
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-19
Open Access
No
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