Bernard of Clairvaux

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Bernard of Clairvaux

Saint. ?1090--1153, French abbot and theologian, who founded the stricter branch of the Cistercians in 1115

Bernard of Clairvaux


(Bernardus abbas Clarae Vallis). Born 1090, at Fontaine, Burgundy; died Aug. 20, 1153, in Clairvaux. Figure in the Catholic Church, theologian, and mystic.

Bernard of Clairvaux came from a noble Burgundian family. At the age of 23 he became a monk of the Cistercian Order, and in 1115 he became abbot of the monastery that he founded in Clairvaux. He participated in the creation of the order of the holy knights, the Templars, and he inspired the Second Crusade (1147). He opposed the theological rationalism of P. Abelard and various heretical tendencies. Defending the firmness of church tradition and criticizing emerging Scholasticism for innovation, Bernard simultaneously gave sharply personal spirit to mysticism. Bernard’s mystical texts are characterized by lyricism and an attempt to expose the human ego. They exerted a strong influence on the mystical psychologism of the late Middle Ages (G. Bonaventure, H. Suso, and others). In 1174, Bernard of Clairvaux was canonized.


Opera, vols. 1–6. Paris, 1855–59. (Patrologiae cursus compl., ser. latina . . . , vols. 182–185. Edited by J.-P. Migne.)
In Russian translation:
“Pis’ma.” In P. Abelard, Istoriia moikh bedstvii. Moscow, 1959. Pages 127–51.


Ger’e, V. Zapadnoe monashestvo i papstvo. Moscow, 1913. Pages 27–138.
Sidorova, N. A. Ocherki po istorii rannei gorodskoi kul’tury vo Frantsii. Moscow, 1953.
Gilson, E. La théologie mystique de Saint Bernard. Paris, 1947.
Hiss, W. Die Anthropologie Bernhards von Clairvaux. Berlin, 1924.


References in periodicals archive ?
Collectanea Ordinis Cisterciensium Reformatorum, 11 (1949), 147-48; Bernard de Clairvaux (Paris: Alsatia, 1953), p.
The distinction between sensuous and sensuality is the pertinent point (Leclereq, Nouveau visage de Bernard de Clairvaux [Paris: Cerf, 1976] 153-54).
44) Leclercq, Nouveau visage de Bernard de Clairvaux 26.
44:1-3), he nonetheless preciously preserves in D127 the metaphor of the "benoist cloistre," exploiting for very personal reasons -- reasons which explain, perhaps, the substitution of "chaste" for "benoist" -- and with unequalled poetic mastery, the great mystery of the Incarnation of Christ-God in the body of a woman, this wonderful alliance between fecundity and virginity -- "Virgo fecunda, casta puerpera, mater intacta" -- which Bernard de Clairvaux found so sublime in his Homilies In laudibus Virginis matris.
Bernard de Clairvaux, 168-71: "In fine autem versus: Et nomen, inquit, Virginis Maria.
Bernard of Clairvaux's Image of Womanhood," Cistercian Studies 24 (1989): 215-22; Edith Russel, "Saint Bernard et les dames de son temps," in Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, Editiones Alsatia Paris 6 (Paris: Commission d'histoire de l'ordre de Citeaux, 1953), 411-25.