Language, Self and Love: Hermeneutics in the Writings of Richard Rolle and the Commentaries on the Song of Songs

Language, Self and Love: Hermeneutics in the Writings of Richard Rolle and the Commentaries on the Song of Songs

Language, Self and Love: Hermeneutics in the Writings of Richard Rolle and the Commentaries on the Song of Songs

Language, Self and Love: Hermeneutics in the Writings of Richard Rolle and the Commentaries on the Song of Songs

Synopsis

A fascinating study of mysticism and spirituality in medieval literature, in particular the works of Richard Rolle and William St. Thierry, and how commentaries on the biblical 'Song of Songs' attempt to interpret the love between God and the individual.

Excerpt

The late medieval period has received insufficient attention with regard to its contribution towards a language of interiority. More often than not, the account of Augustine’s immense impact on the language of inwardness for the Western tradition of thought is followed by accounts of the ways authors of the Enlightenment accommodated the Augustinian model to their new preoccupations. the aim of this volume is partly to fill in the gap between Augustine and Rousseau by considering a range of texts which align themselves to the Augustinian model of the inwardness of radical reflexivity while delving into the complexities of a specific biblical text, the Song of Songs. It is also with the appeal to the first-person standpoint that, from the twelfth century onwards, commentators of the Song of Songs engage with this highly performative book in their search for truth.

Language, Self and Love demonstrates the importance of the commentary tradition for the shaping of the medieval self which personally engages with the writing of commentaries in particular, and medieval subjectivity in general. It participates in uncovering this medieval sense of inwardness not by looking at the popular penitential literature which followed the implementations of the 1215 Fourth Lateran Council decisions on the need for the laity to receive confession annually, but by looking at a highly specialized body of Latin and vernacular theologies where the self is described in its attempts at establishing a direct relationship with the deity. That relationship is negotiated with the mediation of the amorous discourse of love of the Song of Songs.

However, before discussing at greater length the case of the commentary tradition of the Song of Songs as textual space from which notions of the self and the language of inwardness developed, let us consider for a moment the Augustinian contribution. the most significant contributions to the language of interiority by . . .

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