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Answer one question from each part. Each question should be about 3.5 pages but

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Answer one question from each part. Each question should be about 3.5 pages but

Answer one question from each part. Each question should be about 3.5 pages but you can go up to 4 if needed for each. So two parts. 3.5-4 each = 7-8 pages. Make sure that you place your discussion of these topics within a historical context. Make references to your reading (mostly to the primary sources), but do not be afraid of being creative. What is expected is a serious critical evaluation of the material and imagination. 
THE ENTIRE EXAM SHOULD NOT BE LONGER THAN 8 TYPED-WRITTEN PAGES, DOUBLE SPACE, 12 FONT, REASONABLE MARGINS. QUOTES SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY PROPER CITATIONS. NO WEB SITE REFERENCE$S  WILL BE ALLOWED. THINK! GO BEYOND THE FACTS! BE CREATIVE AND THOUGHTFUL!
Part I. (Answer One) 
Discuss with relevant examples the mystical experience, its main characteristics, and manifestations, and evaluate their historical importance and validity. You may imagine yourself as a woman/man living in the late Middle Ages or in the early modern period. How would you describe these experiences? Please note that your gender and social filiation in the Middle Ages or early modern period would influence how you answer this question.
What is the role of the body in medieval mysticism? You may wish to discuss the place of pleasure and pain in mystical experiences (think Francis or Bernard or Theresa of Avila).  Discuss specific examples from two of the mystics found in your readings. Be original!
What is heresy? What are millennial ideas?  Discuss in general the overall nature of heretical and apocalyptic movements in the western tradition and in detail one of the movements discussed by N. Cohn or presented in class.  How does heresy relate to mysticism? These topics will be discussed on Week IV. Please see the inquisitorial documents in the website readings. They deal with the Inquisition’s activity against the Waldensians.
Discuss the main elements of Kabbala mysticism and its historical significance. In this context, would you agree or disagree with the following statement?  Your answer should contain specific references to your readings. (This question is from the lecture)
“…[the] history of Kabbalism…lacks the element of feminine emotion which has played so large a part in the development of non-Jewish mysticism, but it also remained comparatively free from the dangers entailed by the tendency towards hysterical extravagance which followed in the wake of this influence.” (G. Scholem)
If you wish to answer this question, it may be very useful to read G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism.
Discuss the historical context that gave rise to the heretical and millenarian movements of the 12th – 14th centuries. Be sure to consider the social, political and religious climate of the time and to support your argument with examples of specific heretical and/or millenarian groups. 
Briefly describe the five stages leading to the mystical union and provide thorough and abundant examples from the readings and the lectures for each of the stages.
Part II.   Choose one 
Select one of the mystics discussed in class or in your readings. Provide a short biographical outline and account of his/her/its mystical experiences and an analysis of his/her/its role within a historical context.  DO NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION IF YOU HAVE ANSWERED PART I, QUESTION 1.
Bringing to bear all you have learned from lectures about the broad context of medieval society, reflect upon the different audiences of a) either Hildegard of Bingen or Bernard of Clairvaux AND b) Francis of Assisi. Base your arguments on extrapolations from the texts to support your claims.  What kind of reader/listener audience do these texts imply?  What qualities of the texts clue us in as to who the writers expected to encompass in their vision?  You should consider place, literacy, oral tradition, social hierarchies, politics, etc.
Write an essay comparing Hildegard of Bingen and Bernard of Clairvaux’s writings. How does gender help in understanding their respective texts?
Who was Francis of Assisi? What was his background, and how did it influence the direction of Franciscan spirituality?  Why was Francis’ evangelical quest so successful? What in his teaching and his ways appealed to other Christians and new converts? How were his teachings subversive (or where they?)? You need to make references to the Little Flowers and to the discussion of the Stigmata!
Compare and contrast the mystical writings of two of the following: Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Bernard of Clairvaux, and St. Theresa of Avila. How do they illustrate the potential for cooperation and/or conflict between personal holiness and the Church establishment?
Discuss the life and works of St. Theresa of Avila, using her autobiography as the main source for your discussion. How did she describe the stages and final mystical experience in her rendering of the four waters?

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