The Influence of Some Late Medieval Devotional Literature on Margery Kempe

Date of Graduation

Spring 2007


Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Religious Studies

Committee Chair

Austra Reinis


In the Book of Margery Kempe, Margery Kempe, a fifteenth-century lay mystic, recorded her spiritual experiences so that other might imitate her life. She describes her highly emotional reactions to meditating on the Passion of Christ. This thesis examines some late medieval devotional texts including several meditations on the Passon of Christ, some of which Margery Kempe names. It argues that these texts may have influenced Margery Kempe's intense emotional responses to meditating on the Passion of Christ. The texts examined include St. Birgitta's Revelations on the Passion of Christ, Richard Rolle's Fire of Love and Meditations A and B, Walter Hilton's Scale of Perfection and Epistle on Mixed Life, the anonymous Cloud of Unknowing, and John of Caulibus's Privity of the Passion. In order to understand the meaning of weeping and the theology of compunction in late medieval England, a Christian manual for living, the Speculum Christiani, and Sandra McEntire's The Doctrine of Compunction in Medieval England: Holy Tears are also considered.


Margery Kempe, Book of Margery Kempe, Speculum Christiani, Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, St. Birgitta, John of Caulibus, weeping, Meditation on the Passion of Christ, Sandra McEntire

Subject Categories



© Carla Jeanette McKinney Heifner


Open Access