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Cornelia Wilde - Seraphic Companions: The Friendship between Elizabeth Gauden and Simon Patrick | Early Modern Literary Studies (2014
Special Issue 22: Communities and Companionship in Early Modern Literature and Culture (2014) -- This essay explores the friendship between Simon Patrick, future bishop of Ely, and Elizabeth Gauden, one of his parishioners, as an example of Neo-Platonic, chaste, yet impassioned friendship, between the sexes: Based on a combination of Neo-Platonic metaphysics of love, Aristotelian notions of philia, and legitimised by the ideal of Christian charity, the friendship’s spiritual aim is the two ‘soul mates’’ mutual intellectual and emotional refinement in order to be united with the heavenly community and the divine. The ideal of their seraphic companionship is to be achieved through the every-day practice of their friendship, that is, in their actual meetings and through their correspondence (Cambridge University Library Add. MS 19). Patrick and Gauden act as friends by discussing questions of theological and philosophical import, by advising each other on matters spiritual and mundane, and by sharing in social and devotional practices. Through Patrick, the two friends are connected to a ‘this-worldly’ intellectual and religious community the philosophical and theological origins of which can be located within the most important school of 17thC Platonic philosophy, Cambridge Platonism. Patrick, too, counts as a Cambridge Platonists, whose theological views and emphasis on matters of practical divinity characterise him as a prominent figure of post-Restoration liberal Anglicanism. Patrick and Gauden are a virtually unknown example of the 17thC trend for intellectual friendships between men and women as Ruth Perry has identified it (1985). The friendship is presented as a form of sociability that offered women a dynamic role within the learned community and furthered their active religious participation. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  religious_culture  17thC  Church_of_England  Restoration  Cambridge_Platonists  Patrick_Simon  correspondence  friendship  women-intellectuals  gender-and-religion  gender_relations  sociability  devotional_practices  downloaded 
october 2015 by dunnettreader

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