Bernard of Clairvaux on the Life of the Mind

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Paulist Press, 2004 - Religion - 197 pages
Eminent scholar and educator John Sommerfeldt has written a book that will be welcomed by students as well as seasoned scholars in the academic world. It is a one-volume study of all of the essential aspects of Bernard of Clairvaux's thought. A key figure in the first half of the twelfth century, Bernard offers us solutions to the epistemological question that arises as a result of our search for happiness and self-fulfillment. Bernard's epistemology is complex. He was a human devoted to the classical literary approach to reality that aims at achieving wisdom through the appreciation of beauty. He was also a "mystic," who fostered superrational ways of ascertaining reality: faith, charismatic knowledge, and contemplation. Among the many topics that Sommerfeldt explores arc mysticism, humanism, scholasticism, common sense ways of knowing, theology, philosophy, and the Abelard affair. And he emphasizes that Bernard's view of society--and the church--provides the context within which we can best understand his epistemology.
 

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Contents

The Truth as Gift
12
Beauty and the Pursuit of Truth
30
The Roles of Reason
40
Commonsense Consideration and Counsel
55
The Relationship Between the Paths to Truth
69
Inconsistency and Order
81
The Chimaera Revisited
104
The Abelard Affair
120
Notes
139
Bibliography
175
Index
193
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About the author (2004)

John R. Sommerfeldt, Professor of History at the University of Dallas, is the founder of the International Medieval Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

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