ABSTRACT

One of the most significant and colorful events in late medieval mystical theology was the debate centering around the Benedictine monastery of Tegernsee in Bavaria, circa 1452–60, in which Carthusian Vincent of Aggsbach locked horns with cardinal-philosopher Nicholas of Cusa over the roles of love and knowledge in the process of mystical ascent. Vincent vehemently asserted the affective and fideistic mystical theology of Hugh of Balma against Nicholas's highly intellective and philosophical approach. Accounts usually depict Vincent as an embittered, lone defender of his cause and the Tegernsee brethren as wholehearted supporters of Nicholas's teachings. However, there was considerably more support for Vincent's view and rather less for Nicholas's than has generally been acknowledged, for reasons relating to church politics, theological reform, and the prevailing antischolastic mood of fifteenth-century Germany. This article reconsiders the reception of Cusa's mystical theology at Tegernsee in light of these intersecting issues.

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