The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard

The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard

The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard

The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard

Excerpt

After a repeated study of the principal mystical writings of St. Bernard it seemed to me that I had sufficiently made out the great ruling lines of his doctrine to enable me to dedicate to him an entire course at the Collège de France in 1933. Invited in the same year by the University College of Wales (Aberystwith) to give five lectures on some question connected with the history of medieval ideas, I essayed to sum up for this new public what is perhaps the most neglected aspect of the Cistercian mysticism, that, namely, which, for want of a better name, we may call its "systematics". In fulfilment of a promise then made, I now publish these lectures, somewhat expanded in substance; happy thus to testify my gratitude to the Welsh University which invited me, and to a faithful public, whom neither the natural difficulties of the subject, nor the timidity of a professor in a language not his own, could ever effectively discourage.

The subject is clearly delimited in the very title of this work. It is concerned neither with the life of St. Bernard, nor with his theology at large, nor even integrally with his mysticism; but with that part only of his theology on which his mysticism rests. Even St. Bernard's own personal mystical experiences, attractive as their study would be, are here touched upon only incidentally and for the sake of the theological speculations which interpret them. This limitation is due to my desire to draw out apart, so as to set it in a clear light, the one really important conclusion that emerges from these studies. "The mysticism of . . .

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