Bernard of Clairvaux on the Life of the Mind

Bernard of Clairvaux on the Life of the Mind

by John R. Sommerfeldt
     
 

ISBN-10: 0809142031

ISBN-13: 9780809142033

Pub. Date: 05/28/2004

Publisher: Newman Press

This work, by one of the world's leading medievalists and summarizing a lifetime of scholarship on Bernard of Clairvaux, is a study of the many-faceted, complex, yet consistent thought of the most influential thinker of the first half of the twelfth century -- whose thought influenced all medieval thinkers, including Luther and Calvin. Bernard's epistemology is

Overview

This work, by one of the world's leading medievalists and summarizing a lifetime of scholarship on Bernard of Clairvaux, is a study of the many-faceted, complex, yet consistent thought of the most influential thinker of the first half of the twelfth century -- whose thought influenced all medieval thinkers, including Luther and Calvin. Bernard's epistemology is complex. He was a humanist devoted to the classical literary approach to reality, which aims at achieving wisdom through the appreciation of beauty. He was a scholastic who applied the tools of dialectic to philosophical, theological, and legal questions. And he was a "mystic" who fostered superrational means of ascertaining reality: faith, charismatic knowledge, and contemplation. But mystical, humanist, and scholastic sources of knowledge are not, except in the case of faith, the typical ways people learn. Bernard recognized alternative, common-sense ways of knowing, including counsel and the vocational training necessary to each group in society. So Bernard's view of society and the Church provide the context within which we can best understand his epistemology -- as well as why the titanic Abelard-Bernard conflict has been completely misunderstood.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780809142033
Publisher:
Newman Press
Publication date:
05/28/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.94(h) x 0.53(d)

Table of Contents

Table of Abbreviationsix
Prefacexv
I.Bernard and the Life of the Mind1
A.The Centrality of Epistemology2
B.Mysticism, Humanism, Scholasticism, and Common Sense4
C.The Social and Ecclesial Context7
II.Mysticism: The Truth as Gift12
A.The Certainty of Faith12
B.Charismatic Knowledge17
C.Contemplation: The Monk's Means to the Truth22
III.Humanism: Beauty and the Pursuit of Truth30
A.The Learned Clergy31
B.Friend of the Learned and Patron of Scholars34
C.Education in the Literary Arts36
IV.Scholasticism: The Roles of Reason40
A.Basic Assumptions40
1.A Universe Ordered by Reason40
2.The Essential Service of the Senses42
3.The Function and Limits of Logic43
B.The Range of Reason45
1.God: The Ultimate Reality45
2.The Human Condition47
3.Knowledge of Moral Principles49
C.Reason and the Law50
V.Common-sense Consideration and Counsel55
A.Practical Consideration56
B.The Need for Good Counsel59
VI.The Relationship Between the Paths to Truth69
A.An Epistemological Hierarchy?71
B.Faith, Reason, and Opinion74
VII.Inconsistency and Order81
A.Shepherds and Scholars82
B.The Dangers in Knowledge90
C.Curiosity94
D.Plato, Aristotle, and the "Worldly-wise" Philosophers97
VIII.The Chimaera Revisited104
A.The Writer107
B.Obedient Response109
C.Loving Concern112
IX.The Abelard Affair120
A.Abelard's Method123
B.Abelard's Theology129
C.An Afterword on Gilbert135
Notes139
Bibliography175
Index193

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