Between 1455 and 1460 the Dutch mystic Hendrik Herp (c. 1410-1477) wrote a mystical handbook for a spiritual daughter: the Spieghel der volcomenheit. Up to 1450 Herp had been a member of the Devotio Moderna, fulfilling several functions in Delft and Gouda. In 1450 he decided to join the newly formed monastic reform-movement of the Franciscan Observance. As early as 1454 he became the guardian of the Observant House in Mechelen. Here, close to the Burgundian court, Herp started working on the Spieghel. Despite the widespread popularity of the Spieghel, in manuscript, print and numerous translations, earlier studies of Herp and his Spieghel concentrated on Herp's background in the Devotio Moderna and his presumed non-original recycling of thoughts and ideas of fourteenth-century mystics in the Spieghel. This article re-examines the position of both Herp and his work. By concentrating on his activities within the Franciscan Observance and his connections with the Burgundian court, and focusing on the role of spiritual literature in the Observance, Herp and the Spieghel are situated in the broader context of fifteenth-century mysticism and mystical literature.
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