Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

ÆLred De Rievaulx, 1110-1167: De L'homme éClaté À L'être Unifié. Essai De Biographie Existentielle et Spirituelle

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

ÆLred De Rievaulx, 1110-1167: De L'homme éClaté À L'être Unifié. Essai De Biographie Existentielle et Spirituelle

Article excerpt

>Ælred de Rievaulx, 1110-1167: De l'homme éclaté à l'être unifié. Essai de biographie existentielle et spirituelle. By Pierre-André Burton. (Paris: Les éditions du Cerf, 2010. Pp. 650. euro39,00 paperback. ISBN 978-2-204-09033-9.)

In recent years St. Ælred has gained in popularity; previously, his friend and fellow abbot, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, tended to receive the lion's share of attention. A flood of monographs and articles have demonstrated intense scholarly interest in Ælred's life, works, and teachings.

With this hefty volume Pierre-André Burton has contributed his encyclopedic knowledge of the sources, a synthesis of previous scholarship, and a novel approach that offers deeply insightful and far-ranging results. Burton draws on the literary, doctrinal, sociohistorical, and psychohistorical approaches of recent scholars, notably his mentor, the late and much-revered Charles Dumont. Burton's own design is an interlacing of two threads: an ordering principally, although not systematically, chronological and what he calls an existential ordering. These approaches are integrated through considerations of the principal events or works of each stage of Ælred's life. Burton's exposition of this methodology constitutes the first part of the book.

The second part, "The Time of Human and Spiritual Foundation," encompasses the period 1110-34. Of particular interest are chapters 3 and 4, which focus on Ælred's intellectual formation and his stay at the Scottish court that culminated in his conversion. That conversion Burton characterizes as a triple quest for peace, freedom, and internal unity.

The third part offers insights into Ælred's monastic formation and first pastoral responsibilities. Burton sees this stage of Ælred's growth reflected in his Mirror of Love. …

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