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The Secret WithinHermits, Recluses, and Spiritual Outsiders in Medieval England$
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Wolfgang Riehle

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451096

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451096.001.0001

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Early Cistercian Theology in England

Early Cistercian Theology in England

(p.15) Chapter 2 Early Cistercian Theology in England
The Secret Within

Wolfgang Riehle

, Charity Scott-Stokes
Cornell University Press

This chapter provides an overview of early Cistercian theology in England, focusing on key figures and ideas that will be important for the subsequent history of English mysticism. It begins with Stephen Harding, an Englishman of distinguished ancestry and a central figure in the founding of the Cistercian order. It then turns to Bernard of Clairvaux, through whom the biblical orientation of the Cistercians would gain ever greater currency in Europe, and two of the most significant figures who were connected to—and deeply influenced by—him, including William of St. Thierry and Guerric of Igny. It also examines the works of Aelred of Rievaulx, including The Mirror of Charity (Liber de speculo caritatis) and Rule of Life for a Recluse (De institutione inclusarum). Finally, it analyzes the poetic diction of the hymn Dulcis Iesu memoria and how Cistercian spirituality was “transposed” into the vernacular texts of the so-called Wooing Group and the related Ancrene Wisse.

Keywords:   mysticism, Cistercian theology, Stephen Harding, Bernard of Clairvaux, Cistercians, Aelred of Rievaulx, Rule of Life for a Recluse, Dulcis Iesu memoria, Wooing Group, England

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