Cleve, Gunnel

Mystic Themes in Walter Hilton's Scale of Perfection
1993 0-7734-0596-8
Among the major religious treatises written in fourteenth-century England, The Scale of Perfection of Walter Hilton maintains a secure place. The Scale is a guide to the contemplative life in two books of more than 40,000 words each and is notable not only for the careful exploration of its religious themes, but as a principal monument of Middle English prose. Although we know relatively little about the author of the treatise, we have more information about Walter Hilton than is known about many authors of medieval texts. He was a member of the religious order known as the Augustinian Canons, and died at the Augustinian Priory of Thurgarton in Nottinghamshire in 1396.1 There is reason to believe that he was trained in canon law and studied at the University of Cambridge. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but it is thought to be around 1343.