Bibliography B: Illuminist and pantheist heresy


JAMES, William : The Varieties of Religious  Experience (London 1960, – re-issued from the Giffard Lectures in 1901-2).

This is a great book, not just because of its philosophical and psychological scholarship, its clarity and its fine use of the English language, but also for the tremendous lead it has given in seeking a more honest understanding of religion.

UNDERHILL, Evelyn : Practical Mysticism: a little book for normal people (London 1914).

How to prepare oneself for mystical experience.

HOLMES, Edmond : All is One. A Plea for the Higher Pantheism (London 1921).

His analysis of the inadequacies of monotheism and his consideration of how pantheism has a bearing on morality, aesthetics and metaphysics may not all be convincing, but it is thought-provoking, and contains much good sense and wisdom.

UNDERHILL, Evelyn : Mysticism (12th edition: London 1930).

A work of insight and understanding, largely concerned with the expression of mysticism in Christianity (with enormous bibliography).

HAPPOLD, F.C. : Mysticism: a study and an anthology (Harmondsworth, Middlesex 1964).

An anthology of mystical writings (particularly Christian ones) from around the world, with a very long introduction to the whole subject.

MERTON, Thomas : The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation (ed. SHANNON, William H.) (London 2003).

This is an expansion and total re-working of his book What is Contemplation?.  The manuscripts for it were found after his death.  They condense a lifetime’s experience.



JONES, Rufus M. : Studies in Mystical Religion (London 1909).

He looks at the development of radical and mystical traditions in Christianity (including the Amalricians and the Free Spirit) up to the 17th century, concentrating on those of the 16th and 17th centuries.

INGE, William R. : Christian Mysticism (7th edition: London 1933).

His 1899 Bampton Lectures on selected Christians who had mystical insight.

SPENCER, Sidney : Mysticism in World Religion (Harmondsworth, Middlesex 1963).

A very comprehensive survey, with a long and well-ordered bibliography.  He realises that modern man desperately needs a religion which he can experience.



HAURÉAU, B. : Le concile de Paris de l’année 1210 ;

IN : Revue archéologique, nouv. sér., vol.10 (Paris 1864) pp.417-434.

A vivid narration of the story of the capture and punishment of the Amalricians.

JOURDAIN, C. : Mémoire sur les sources philosophiques des hérésies d’Amaury de Chartres et de David de Dinan ;

IN : Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol.26, part 2 (Paris 1870) pp.467-498.

It sets out to show the influence of Eriugena and Alexander of Aphrodisias on Amaury and David.

BAEUMKER, Clemens : Contra Amaurianos, ein anonymer, wahrscheinlich dem Garnerius von Rochefort zugehöriger Traktat gegen die Amalrikaner aus dem Anfang des XIII Jahrhunderts;

IN : Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie des Mittelalters, Band 24, Heft 5-6 (Műnster-in-Westf. 1926).

Latin text with German introduction and notes on MS, dates, authorship etc.

CAPELLE, Germaine C. : Autour du décret de 1210 : III : Amaury de Bène, étude sur son panthéisme formel (Bibliothèque Thomiste, no.16) (Paris 1932).

This study is only interested in Amaury’s philosophical position and its possible sources in the works of Eriugena and in those of the Platonist ‘school of Chartres’.  It contains many of the relevant texts in an appendix.

d’ALVERNY, Marie-Thérèse : Un fragment du procès des Amauriciens;

IN : A.H.D.L.M.A., vol.18 (Paris 1950-51) pp.325-336.

She brings to light new documentary evidence of key importance, which enables her to give a better account of the religious activity of the Amalricians.

LERNER, Robert E. : The Uses of Heterodoxy: The French Monarchy and Unbelief in the Thirteenth Century;

IN : French Historical Studies, vol.4 (Raleigh, North Carolina 1965-66) pp.189-202.

Speculations concerning Philippe-Auguste (and the Amalricians) and Blanche de Castille (and the ‘Pastoureaux’).

DICKSON, Gary : The Burning of the Amalricians;

IN : The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol.40 (Cambridge 1989) pp.347-369.

He tries to distinguish what may have been Amaury’s contribution, from what may have been added after his death, and speculates on possible changes in direction. This study is reprinted in his Religious Enthusiasm in the Medieval West (Aldershot, Hants / Burlington, Vermont 2000).

THIJSSEN, J.M.M.H. : Master Amalric and the Amalricians: Inquisitorial procedure and the suppression of heresy at the University of Paris;

IN : Speculum, vol.71 (Cambridge, Mass. 1996) pp.43-65.

This concentrates on juridical procedures, and includes English translations of the Decree and the Fragment, and Latin extracts from Robert de Courçon’s Summa.



BOGHAERT-VACHÉ, A. : David de Dinant, Liégeois ou Breton?

IN : Wallonia, vol.12 (Liège 1904) pp.265-272.

The evidence of a letter from Innocent III clarifies David’s origins.

THÉRY, G. : Autour du décret de 1210 : I : David de Dinant, étude sur son panthéisme matérialiste (Bibliothèque Thomiste, no.6) (Paris 1925).

He studies David’s life, doctrine, sources etc. (with bibliography), and in particular the refutation of his ideas by Albertus Magnus, and then he attempts to reconstruct parts of his Quaternuli from quotations preserved by his opponents.

BIRKENMAJER, Alexandre : Découverte de fragments manuscrits de David de Dinant ;

IN : Revue néo-scolastique de philosophie, vol.35 (Louvain 1933) pp.20-229.

He argues convincingly for the attribution to David of certain fragments he has found, which deal mainly with the natural sciences.

de VAUX, Roland : Note conjointe sur un texte retrouvé de David de Dinant ;

IN : Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques, vol.22 (Paris 1933) pp.243-5.

A note on a fragment of David’s De Tomis.

van STEENBERGHEN, Fernand (transl. JOHNSTON, L.) : Aristotle in the West, the origins of Latin Aristotelianism (Louvain 1955).         

The introduction of his works up to the end of the 12th century; the use of them up to 1277.

KURDZIAŁEK, Marian : Davidis de Dinanto Quaternulorum Fragmenta (Polska Akademia Nauk: Studia Mediewistyczne, vol.3) (Warszawa 1963)

The carefully edited texts of the fragments found by A.Birkenmajer.

KURDZIAŁEK, Marian : L’idée de l’homme chez David de Dinant ;

IN : Images of Man in Ancient and Medieval Thought (Louvain 1976) pp.311-322.

This essay is keen to demonstrate that David’s metaphysical position is due to his scientific study, as a medical doctor, of Aristotle’s work on physiology.

d’ALVERNY, Marie-Thérèse: Les nouveaux apports dans les domaines de la science et de la pensée au temps de Philippe-Auguste : la philosophie ;

IN : BAUTIER, R.H(éd.): La France de Philippe-Auguste : le temps des mutations : Actes du Colloque international organisé par le C.N.R.S. 1980 (Paris 1982) pp.863-880.

She considers what was available to Paris students of the works of Aristotle on natural philosophy at the time of the ban by the Council of Paris.

MACCAGNOLO, E. (transl. HUNT, J.) : David of Dinant and the Beginnings of Aristotelianism in Paris;

IN : DRONKE, P. (ed.): A History of Twelfth-Century Western Philosophy (Cambridge 1988) pp.429-442.

He tries to distance David from the Amalricians and play down his pantheism.



DELACROIX, H. : Essai sur le mysticisme spéculatif en Allemagne au quatorzième siècle (Paris 1899).

This study of Meister Eckhart is preceded by an account of radical speculative mysticism in European heresy, which includes the Amalricians (with bibliography)

ALLIER, Raoul : Les frères du libre esprit;

IN : REINACH, T. et al.: Religions et Sociétés (Bibliothèque générale des sciences sociales, no.26) (Paris 1905) pp.109-153.

This revision of an 1894 article makes an introduction to the movement.

LEFF, Gordon : Heresy in the Later Middle Ages, the relation of heterodoxy to dissent, c.1250-c.1450 (Manchester 1967) 2 vols.

Vol.1 deals with Fraticelli, Joachites, beguines, the Free Spirit, Eckhart et al.; vol.2 with Flagellants, Lollards, Wyclif and Hus (plus bibliography and some texts).

LERNER, Robert E. : The Heresy of the Free Spirit in the Later Middle Ages (Berkeley, California / London 1972).

This is an excellent, scholarly and necessary re-evaluation of the evidence.  In the first part, he analyses the hostile accounts, usually from inquisitors, and finds that they give the impression of an unchanging antinomian heresy, because they are asking the same list of questions.  A very different picture emerges from the second part, which studies ‘free spirit’ mystical writings.



UNDERHILL, Evelyn : The Mirror of Simple Souls;

IN : The Fortnightly Review, vol.95 (London Jan-July 1911) pp.345-354.

A short introduction to, and summary of, a Middle English translation.      

KIRCHBERGER, Clare (ed.) : The Mirror of Simple Souls, by an unknown French mystic of the thirteenth century, translated into English by M.N. (London 1927). 

This is a modern version of M.N.’s Middle English work, which was not an entirely accurate translation of the original.

McDONNELL, E.W. : Beguines and Beghards in Medieval Culture (New Brunswick, N. J. 1955).

A detailed study of medieval Flemish lay spirituality.

GUARNIERI, Romana: Il Movimento del Libero Spirito: testi e documenti;

IN : Archivio italiano per la storia della pietà, vol.4 (Roma 1965) pp.351-708.

This has many parts to it: a broad consideration of possible sources, precursors and parallels; the development of the Free Spirit from 1245 onwards; and the Middle French text of the Mirror of Simple Souls with introduction, notes and appendices.

ORCIBAL, J. : Le ‘Miroir des simples âmes’ et la ‘secte’ du Libre Esprit ;

IN : Revue de l’Histoire des Religions, vol.176 (Paris juillet-déc.1969) pp.35-60.

A theological commentary upon the Mirror of Simple Souls.

McLAUGHLIN, Eleanor : The Heresy of the Free Spirit and late Medieval Mysticism;

IN : Medievalia et Humanistica: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Culture, new series, vol.4 (Denton,Texas 1973) pp.37-54.

Her comparisons try to show that distinctions between orthodox and heterodox mysticism are largely ‘institutional’ and unhelpful.

DRONKE, Peter : Women Writers of the Middle Ages: a critical study of texts from Perpetua to Marguerite Porete (Cambridge 1984).

There is an appreciative chapter on Marguerite’s literary skills and radicalism.


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