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 ?
The chapters on Gregory the Great and Bernard of Clairvaux demonstrate conclusively that genuine mysticism often coexists with the so-called "real" world of power and politics.
On the other hand, I am not convinced that we can assume that a process such as this is at work in the metaphorical language of Bernard of Clairvaux simply because it seems to be at work elsewhere.
Bernard of Clairvaux, the most prolix commentator of all on the Song, requiring eighty-six sermons to get to the end of its second chapter,(32) discovered the path that would eventually lead to these sermons while in full flight from female flesh, according to his intimate friend and biographer William of St.
Part 1, "Hadewijch and the Mutuality of Love," compares key passages to Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Guerric of Igny, showing how Hadewijch moves beyond metaphor and analogy in her physical union with God.
The essays range chronologically from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux to Denys the Carthusian (d.
In the mid-twelfth century, Bernard of Clairvaux, praising the newly established Knights Templar, said that they might be considered both monks and soldiers.
Why did Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who detested secular knighthood, become such an enthusiast for the early military orders?
As Mews shows, her ideal is actually not incompatible with that of Bernard of Clairvaux.
The twelfth century saw an increase in religious spirituality as well, as can be demonstrated from such figures as Bernard of Clairvaux and Hildegard of Bingen.
Already in the twelfth century Saint Bernard of Clairvaux had established a clear precedent for associating Mary with a priestly role in one of his sermons for the festival of the Purification, celebrated by the Church as Candlemass on 2 February.
Evans offers an engaging and magisterial overview of perhaps the most significant figure of the twelfth century in Bernard of Clairvaux.
Though Abelard does not always end up looking good in this biography, he is made more approachable, and certainly more likeable than Bernard of Clairvaux would have wanted him to be.