CCTE: Pedagogy 2 -Margery Kempe

Mandi Roberts of Tarleton State University
“Margery Kempe’s Reform of Feeling” – based on her thesis
grad student, published journalist, will receive MA in May

Our spiritual enemy sleepeth not…

This is a live blogging of the session.

falls within English and Continental traditions of piety:
sermon stories,
theological treatises,
mystical treatises

“Margery had a rich vein from which to draw as she formed her own expression of piety.”

used orthodox forms but mixed them so the local forms were associated with others that folks were less aware of

self-construction as a voice of God

view of enemy is a key part of the study of her as social artifact – her life as a social construct

Walter Hilton The Scale of Perfection identifies three adversary types
unclean spirits
fleshly temptations
vain fears

firmly placed in the contemplative tradition: Devil appears when she is in postpartum depression and unshriven

began to see devils that clawed at her (schizophrenia?)
orthodox in her visions of devils, in their tricks, and in her resistance to them

learned Christ would be with her
learned she could resist demons

falling to fleshly enticements could deter a person from being saved
willing trek into sin after living separate, became depressed
Hilton said you should pay attention to Christ’s body.

fear helped her to rely on Christ, fears concerning her feelings were her greatest scourge on earth

“became a true mystic through her spiritual exercises in overcoming enemies”

Audience response:
Is her illness really a psych illness?

How does she construct it? She does not construct her illness as a disease but as a demonic oppression.

Perhaps it was a psych illness, she did construct it differently.

When you point out some of the context for her beliefs, she does seem less crazy. There is a clear context that she is pulling from.

Capital C Church, something wrong with me… spiritual…

Mental instability is common to tie to bed in the home.

She uses her construction of her psychological affliction as a spiritual mystic to get herself out of a bad psychological situation where she would be tied to the bed.
Manipulation… maneuvering… She was a brilliant woman who did take advantage of her illness to barter for her survival and independence.

She is aware of the Augustinian pattern, following her attack as a heretic, so she fits her life and describes her life in the Augustinian pattern.

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