There were two Bernards of Clairvaux. The first was the genuine Bernard who lived from 1090 to 1153, and wrote letters, sermons, and treatises that are of major consequence in the history of the twelfth century. The second is a host of writers, most of whom have not been identified, who wrote treatises attributed to the genuine Bernard, but that were not from his pen.
This volume, the first complete translation in more than three hundred years, presents one of the most important texts in the history of medieval Latin spirituality. Written between 1170 and 1190 by an unidentified Cistercian monk-priest, Meditationes piisimae, “Very Devout Meditations,” became one of the most popular and widely distributed pieces of spiritual literature in the whole of the Middle Ages. The work survives in at least 670 manuscripts with the complete English translation of the treatise published in 1701.
David N. Bell is professor emeritus of religious studies and dean of theology at Queen's College, St. John's, Newfoundland, and canon theologian in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John's. He is the author of a number of books published by Cistercian Publications, including Handmaid of the Lord: Mary, the Cistercians, and Armand-Jean de Rancé (CS293, 2021), Everyday Life at La Trappe under Armand-Jean de Rancé (CS274, 2018), and A Saint in the Sun: Praising Saint Bernard in the France of Louis XIV (CS271, 2017).