'The Cloud of Unknowing': its inheritance and its inheritors
The thesis attempts a portrait of The Cloud in the context of its position in the history of Christian mysticism. That the anonymous work owed much to spiritual writers of the preceding twelve hundred years is not debatable; what it owed maybe slightly less obvious. The Cloud is essentially a work of Dionysian mysticism, and various writers within that tradition who may have influenced or affected the teaching of The Cloud are examined. At the same time, however, the anonymous writer owes much to the western tradition of Augustinian theology, and the role of this, complementary to the Dionysian mysticism, is also considered. In Chapter II we look at the theological doctrine underlying the mystical doctrine of the Cloud corpus. Chapter III has two major parts, both concerned with the influence of The Cloud on the subsequent development of spiritual writing in England. The first considers the relationship with Walter Hilton. The second examines aspects of Puritan thought which may indicate that the influence of The Cloud, after the Reformation, was not restricted to Catholic thought.