"The universe is a product of God's infinite love, according to the expansive thinking of Aelred of Rievaulx, a Cistercian abbot of the Middle Ages. Aelred sees human existence, order, and action as reflections of God's love. But Aelred knows that, although they have been created for happiness, humans are neither perfect nor happy. At the same time, however, he is sure that the flood of God's love can overwhelm people who do not reject this divine gift. Because Aelred knows that humans exist only in relationship, he searches out the social order necessary for happiness. So he explores the nature of the church as a community and the support that each social group or calling gives to the whole of existence." "This study examines how Aelred sees God informing the cosmos, and the humans who inhabit it, according to the divine order and principle of love. It follows Aelred's analysis of the disordering sources of human unhappiness, which happens when humans reject God's love, and then investigates Aelred's understanding of God's re-ordering of the human condition through the gifts and graces flowing from his greatest gift: his son, Jesus."--BOOK JACKET.
The contributors explore the life, thought, and works of Aelred, 12th-century Cistercian abbot of Rievaulx Abbey, his sermons, spirituality, and histories and highlight their principal themes (e.g., friendship, community, lay spirituality, and saints’ lives).
This surprisingly modern, twelfth-century classic has long been popular with monks. Now this new edition opens up the riches of this spiritual masterpiece to a wide audience of contemporary readers who see the spiritual life not as a solitary enterprise, but one intimately connected to relationships. Written in dialogue form, Spiritual Friendship offers wise counsel on many aspects of friendship. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., editor of the innovative Classics with Commentary series, has once again provided readers with an invaluable introduction and background. The popular translation by M. Eugenia Laker is complemented by Billy's helpful commentary and thoughtful reflection questions.
For the medieval Cistercian abbot Aelred of Rievaulx, human beings are capable of happiness because human nature is good-but the self-defeating choices of humans have led to their misery. A loving God leads humans to happiness by nudging their free wills toward choosing the good and then, if they respond positively, giving them the power to realize that good. The power, or virtue, which perfects the human intellect is humility, which is not meekness but self-knowledge, gained through introspection and meditation on and through nature and Scripture. The will is perfected through love, without which no human act is good. Love for oneself, for others, and for God are complementary, not competing acts of the will. A special way of loving is firiendship, on which Aelred's teaching is perhaps the most complete and most sophisticated in the history of Christian thought. Perfection is, for Aelred, attainable in this life, since he sees perfection as a process, not a static condition. That condition will be attained in the total fulfillment of the afterlife.
During his twenty years as abbot of the Yorkshire monastery of Rievaulx, Aelred preached many sermons: to his own monks, in other monasteries, and at significant gatherings outside the cloister. In these thirty-one homilies on Isaiah chapters 13–16, together with an introductory Advent sermon, Aelred interprets the burdens that Isaiah prophesied against the nations according to their literal, allegorical, and moral senses. He sees these burdens as playing a role both in the history of the church and in the progress of the individual soul. This collection of homilies is an ambitious, unified work of a mature monk, synthesizing biblical exegesis, ascetical teaching, spiritual exhortation, and a theory of history.
In Theologizing Friendship, the author aims to revitalize Jean Leclercq's defense of monastic theology, while expanding and qualifying some of the central theses expounded in Leclercq's magisterial The Love of Learning and the Desire for God. The current work contributes to a revised and updated status quaestionis concerning the theological relationship between classical monasticism and scholasticism, construed in more systematic and speculative terms than those of Leclercq, rendered here through the lens of friendship as a theological topos. The work shares with Ivan Illich's In the Vineyard of the Text the conviction that the rise of the Schools (Paris, Oxford, etc.) constitutes one of the greatest intellectual watersheds in the history of Western civilization: where Illich's ruminations are largely philosophical and particularly epistemological, the author's are theological and metaphysical. In his novel proposal that within the monastic and scholastic milieux there obtain parallel threefold analogies among friendship, reading, and theology, the author not only offers an original contribution to current scholarship, but gestures towards avenues for institutional self-examination much needed by the contemporary--modern and postmodern--Academy.
This book places the life of Aelred of Rievaulx, third abbot of the English Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx, within the hundred-year period from the Norman Conquest of England in October 1066 through Aelred's death in January 1167. While exploring what is known of Aelred's life from his own works and especially from the principal work of Walter Daniel, author of The Life of Aelred of Rievaulx, Burton considers the influence of both English and church history on Aelred's personality and purpose as Christian, abbot, and writer. He emphasizes the place of the crucified Christ at the center of Aelred's life while calling spiritual friendship-not only personal but cosmological-the "hermeneutic key" to his teaching.
Covering 2,000 years, this two-volume set is the first encyclopedia devoted to Christian writers and books. In addition to an overview of the Christian literature, this encyclopedia includes more than 40 essays on the principal genres of Christian literature and more than 400 bio-bibliographical essays describing the principal writers and their works.
In addition to being a prolific spiritual writer and the abbot of the premier Cistercian monastery in northern England, Aelred of Rievaulx somehow found the time and the stamina to travel extensively throughout the Anglo-Norman realm, acting as a mediator, a problem solver, and an adviser to kings. His career spanned the troubled years of the civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda and reached its zenith during the early years of the reign of Henry II. In this work, Jean Truax focuses on the public career of Aelred of Rievaulx, placing him in his historical context, deepening the reader’s understanding of his work, and casting additional light on his underappreciated role as politician, mediator, and negotiator outside his abbey’s walls.
Charts the stages of the history of friendship as a philosophical concept in the Western world. Focusing on Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics and Epicureans, and early Christian and Medieval sources, Ancient and Medieval Concepts of Friendship brings together assessments of different philosophical accounts of friendship. This volume sketches the evolution of the concept from ancient ideals of friendship applying strictly to relationships between men of high social position to Christian concepts that treat friendship as applicable to all but are concerned chiefly with the souls relation to Godand that ascribe a secondary status to human relationships. The book concludes with two essays examining how this complex heritage was received during the Enlightenment, looking in particular to Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Hölderlin.
An exhaustive guide to every significant Christian theologian who lived from the first century to 1308, the year in which John Duns Scotus died. The dictionary encompasses the Catholic, Orthodox, Nestorian and Monophysite traditions, including information not previously available in English. Thoroughly indexed, the dictionary incorporates common variants of names and concepts which will help and direct the reader. The main criterion for inclusion has been contribution to the development of Christian theology. Sub-criteria by which that is measured include, above all, originality and influence on later figures. With over 290 entries, the dictionary provides a handy summary of theologiansi lives and writings together with recent scholarship,as well as an up-to-date, definitive bibliography listing primary texts, translations and secondary literature in the major western European languages. Useful for all levels of academia; no other text matches the depth of the dictionaryis bibliographies. The unprecedented thoroughness of Hill's compilation provides an essential resource for studies at all levels on such a large and varied range of Church thinkers.