Thursday, November 23, 2017

Uno intendëa, e altro mi rispuose: Bernard in Par. 31

Mankind is engaged in a continual conversation with tradition - Hans-Georg Gadamer.

Part of the work of the Commedia lies in its interaction and conversation with prior texts. These range from Virgil's earliest works to the late Latin poets, through Old and New Testaments to the doctors of the Church, the works of saints like Francis of Assisi and Bernard of Clairvaux.

To encounter a figure in Dante is to encounter the text of that figure, and a reading of that text. Bernard, as he takes up the mediating role of Beatrice, presents a vast spectrum of life and work. Late in Paradise he appears as one more human exemplar -- in this case, a man whose life encompassed action as well as contemplation. In both, his powers of persuasion were consequential. A few links below may be of use.

Saint Bernard and the Duke of Aquitaine, by Marten Pepijn

Bernard of Clairvaux

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