Writings on the Spiritual Life - Victorine Texts in Translation
About the book
Victorine Texts in Translation
Exegesis, Theology and Spirituality from the Abbey of St Victor
Grover Zinn, Editor-in-Chief; Hugh Feiss, O.S.B., Managing Editor
The Canons following the Rule of St Augustine at St Victor in Paris were some of the most influential religious writers of the Middle Ages. They combined exegesis and spiritual teaching in a theology that was deeply rooted in tradition but also attuned to current developments in the schools of Paris. This selection of their writings on the spiritual life treats the development of Christian life from the beginnings of conversion to the perfection of love and contemplation, then moves on to prayer, meditation, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit and finally presents poetical, exegetical and homiletic works honoring Mary, the Mother of God. This rich and representative sampling of Victorine works is a clear window into a world that still has much to offer modern readers interested in spirituality, medieval or modern.
The enormous productivity of the twelfth century canons of Paris's Abbey of Saint Victor had a tremendous influence on the great scholastic masters of the thirteenth century like Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure. Their contemplative spirituality, transmitted via the Low Countries, would also shape the Devotio Moderna and beyond. How fortunate, then, that New City Press will provide an English language series of translations of Victorine biblical exegesis, speculative theology, liturgical works, and mystical texts. Like the householder of the Gospel, the Victorines brought forth old things and new. We are the beneficiaries of those present day scholars who make these nova et vetera available to a wide audience in fresh reliable translation
At last we have in our hands wonderful, easily-accessible translations of the Victorine School! Each of the previous three volumes in Victorine Texts in Translation reveals how neglected these twelfth-century authors have been and contains one insight after another. This latest volume, Writings on the Spiritual Life, offers so many treasures in the art and theology of prayer that readers will undoubtedly exclaim: “so it was not this or that giant of the thirteenth century who first expressed this piece of wisdom. Not only have all those involved in this project furthered scholarship, in this latest volume they have placed invaluable tools in the hands of all those eager to grow in the spiritual life
In the collection of volumes that form Victorine Texts in Translation, the editors have made the happy choice of including the entire field of scholarship of the School of St. Victor in Paris, knowing that its production extended in many directions; and this new volume, Writings on the Spiritual Life, shows us its breadth. This is because the School of St. Victor, a school of thought, is also a school of the cloister. The teachings, spiritual thoughts, and sermons contained here go to the very center of the preoccupations of the School. We must note especially the remarkable Sequence of Adam and a hymn of Godfrey of St. Victor; these verses are not so much a lyric translation of doctrinal themes as a unique manner of penetration into its aspects. The panoply of this volume reflects as well the spiritual life of this Parisian Abbey, not only in the various literary genres that it brings to us, but also in its formal structure and forms of prayer (by week, by degree, by style, and by type), and its themes, (both ecclesiastic and anthropological).