Divine Audacity: Unity and Identity in Hugh of Balma, Eckhart, Ruusbroec, and Marguerite Porete

By Peter S. Dillard

A new synthesis of the thought of four key Medieval writers on the themes of mystical union, volition and virtue.

ISBN: 9780227177587


In Divine Audacity, Peter Dillard presents a historically informed and rigorous analysis of the themes of mystical union, volition and virtue that occupied several of the foremost theological minds in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. In particular, the work of Marguerite Porete raises complex questions in these areas, which are further explored by a trio of her near contemporaries. Their respective meditations are thoroughly analysed and then skilfully brought into dialogue.

What emerges from Dillard’s synthesis of these voices is a contemporary mystical theology that is rooted in Hugh of Balma’s affective approach, sharpened through critical engagement with Meister Eckhart’s intellectualism, and strengthened by crucial insights gleaned from the writings of John Ruusbroec. The fresh examination of these thinkers – one of whom paid with her life for her radicalism – will appeal to philosophers and theologians alike, while Dillard’s own propositions demand attention from all who concern themselves with the nature of the union between the soul and God.

Additional information

Dimensions234 × 156 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Peter S. Dillard is an independent scholar living in Tucson, Arizona, having received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. He has previously published studies of St Bonaventure’s The Soul’s Journey into God and Hugh of St Victor’s De Sacramentis. His most recent monograph is Fate and Faith after Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy (2020).


Introduction: A Curious Legacy

1. The Difficult Question
2. Neither This nor That but Something Other
3. On the Contrary
4. Dialetheism
5. On Reflection
6. Passion and Salvation
7. A Threat and a Tension
8. A Carthusian Examen

Conclusion: From Apex to Ground
Glossary of Important Terms