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Liturgical Press

The Very Devout Meditations attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux

A Translation with Introduction and Notes of the Meditationes piisimae de cognitione humanae conditionis

David N. Bell

The Very Devout Meditations attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux SEE INSIDE
The Very Devout Meditations attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux
SEE INSIDE

ISBN: 9780879071578, CS298P

Details: 180 pgs, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 3/8
Publication Date: 10/25/2023
Cistercian Publications
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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).

ISBN: 9780879071578, CS298P

Details: 180 pgs, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 3/8
Publication Date: 10/25/2023
Cistercian Publications

Reviews

"David Bell has brought to life a fascinating chapter in the larger-than-life image of Bernard of Clairvaux created by the misattribution of many works to this revered Cistercian author. The Most Devout Meditations, with a medieval transmission that far exceeded any of Bernard’s authentic works and a readership that continued into the twentieth century, offers a compelling path toward claiming a place in the heavenly kingdom, a process fueled by the terrors of hell and requiring knowledge of the true nature of the self. Bell’s erudite introduction and careful identification of sources complement the vivid translation, making the volume a great introduction to the rich field of Cistercian spirituality beyond the already well-known giants like Bernard."
Anne L. Clark, Professor Emerita of Religion, University of Vermont

Who knew that the most popular work by Bernard of Clairvaux in the medieval period was not by Bernard at all? David Bell presents this influential anonymous work to modern English audiences with a thorough introduction and essential notes. As usual, David Bell is as entertaining as he is effortlessly erudite. This work will interest everyone who is interested in the way Bernard was perceived in the centuries following his death, and, in general, the way in which reputation and authorship were transmitted and transformed in medieval Europe.
Fr. Lawrence Morey, Abbey of Gethsemani

"The availability of the Meditationes in a well-introduced, well-translated, copiously annotated English version does provide the opportunity to appreciate why it became so popular in its own era, and to consider what insights it might still be able to provide for ours."
Catholic Books Review

"This is a superbly written and translated text, which should be welcomed by all who are interested in mediaeval spirituality and in the mediaeval view of the human condition."
The Downside Review