By Steven Botterill
During this research, Steven Botterill explores the highbrow courting among the best poet of the fourteenth century, Dante, and the best non secular author of the 12th century, Bernard of Clairvaux. Botterill analyzes Bernard's visual appeal as a personality within the remaining cantos of the Paradiso within the context of his medieval recognition as a contemplative mystic, devotee of Mary, and, particularly, a preacher of exceptional eloquence. Botterill's new serious stance will impress a reevaluation of Bernard's value within the Commedia.
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Additional info for Dante and the Mystical Tradition: Bernard of Clairvaux in the Commedia
The pattern remains constant throughout Albert's corpus of theological writing and Biblical commentary: a handful of quotations from Bernard (far fewer, indeed, than from many other authors), in which selections from De consideratione and the sermons In Cantica canticorum predominate. In revealing contrast, Bernard is not mentioned at all in most of Albert's strictly philosophical texts. Bernard is useful to him only as a theologian, and, as Albert's predilection for those two particular works strongly indicates, principally as a theologian of mystical experience.
Bernard is not, however, included in the list of Olivi's preferred authorities given by Raoul Manselli, La *Lectura super Apocalipsim* di Pietro di Giovanni Olivi (Rome, 1955), p. 145. Pietro di Giovanni Olivi, Quaestiones quatuor de Dominaf edited by Domenico Pacetti (Florence, 1954). St Bernard in medieval culture 39 Thus, although Olivi evidently respects Bernard and is prepared to turn to him from time to time, he seems not to find his work outstandingly useful. Ubertino da Casale takes a markedly different view.
It is, of course, well known that there was a strong undercurrent of more extreme ideas in thirteenth-century Franciscanism, which existed alongside and in polemic with the officially sanctioned thinking and activity of the Franciscan Order, and found its expression in the sometimes violently subversive offshoot of that Order known as the Spiritual movement. 31 Moreover, because they were to some extent alienated from mainstream Franciscanism intellectually as well as organizationally, the Spirituals did not observe the technical decorum of scholastic writing, its conventions of quaestio and articulus, argumenta and sed contra, as faithfully as did a Bonaventure or an Alexander of Hales.