Bernard of Cluny


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Bernard of Cluny

(klo͞o`nē) or

Bernard of Morlaix

(môrlā`), fl. 1150, French Cluniac monk, of English parentage. He wrote De contemptu mundi [on contempt for the world], a poem in 3,000 hexameters. On it Horatio Parker based his oratorio Hora novissima, and from it John Mason Neale drew the words of Jerusalem the Golden.
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These primary sources include the writings of Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Josephus Flavius, Suetonius, and Bernard of Cluny. This paper will also incorporate the necessary secondary historical source material, with a special emphasis on the various perspectives from modern feminist scholars of the Bible and early Church history.
One of the most aggressive examples of this can be seen in the Benedictine monk Bernard of Cluny's lengthy poem, De contemptu mundi ('On the Contempt for the World').
Early Church historian Virginia Burrus explains that this kind of heresiological source material was typically "written from the point of view of a self-identified orthodoxy" by men who used the topos of the heretical woman "as a vehicle for the negative expression of their own orthodox male self-identity." (36) This literary phenomenon, which is unmistakable in Bernard of Cluny's De Contemptu Mundi, demonstrates how the topos of the heretical woman has shaped the portraiture of powerful women throughout biblical history.