We know very little about Marguerite Porete, only that she was a beguine from Hainaut who was burned at the stake as a relapsed heretic in 1310. She might have been a solitary itinerant beguine who expounded her teachings to interested listeners. She wrote The Mirror of Simple Souls in Old French sometime between 1296 and 1306. The format of the text is a dialogue among allegorical figures who represent the nature of the relation between the soul and God. The fundamantal structure of the discourse is grounded in traditional Neoplatonist philosophy, and courtly language is used to express theological abstractions. The Mirror is a theological treatise which analyzes how love in human beings is related to divine love, and how the human soul by means of this relation may experience a lasting union of indistinction with God in this life.
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