A fundamental character of Christianity in the Middle Ages, Bernard de Clairvaux participated in all the major affairs of his time, such as the rivalry between Cluny and Cîteaux or the Second Crusade. Cleric, politician, man of letters, he enjoys a considerable posterity, until modern times, and still today. It is to this inescapable personality that this rich and complete special issue of the review is devoted Religions & History.
Bernard de Clairvaux: cleric, politician and genius of writing
We can divide this special issue from Religions & History in four parts.
The first is a general presentation of the man, with the article by Guy Lobrichon, which reviews the major stages in the life of Saint Bernard and his posterity with evocative chapter titles: " an heir ", "A discoverer", "A radical", "A founder", " an inventor ", "An object of fascination". With the following article on Bernard de Clairvaux's family (by Constance B. Bouchard), the character is perfectly introduced.
The second part can be seen as the story of Saint Bernard in his time, of the monk (the article by Brother Denis Huerre), until we call the “political”, whether the study of Glauco Maria Cantarella (which addresses the fight of Bernard of Clairvaux against Anaclet II, as well as the Second Crusade), or that of Alexis Grélois dedicated to the fight of Saint Bernard against heresy. In the same part, the special issue obviously gives a large part to the Cistercian Bernard, then founder of the Abbey of Clairvaux (Raphaëlle Taccone). Finally, Constant J. Mews deals with "The friendship and [of] his function in the circle of Bernard de Clairvaux", with the relationship between the abbot and Guillaume de Saint-Thierry, but above all the theological and political conflict between Bernard and Pierre Abélard.
Mette Birkedal Bruun's article is an ideal part / transition before those on the posterity of Saint Bernard. We meet the Bernard there "Genius of writing", a facet that is not really well known to this truly extraordinary character.
The later articles can be seen as a balance sheet of the legacy and posterity of Saint Bernard. If it becomes " a reference " (Paul Payan), his canonization was not, however, taken for granted, despite the efforts of the hagiographers, and it was not until 1174 that the abbot was "Officially worn on the altars" (Guy Lobrichon). Daniel Russo details the rich iconography inspired by the saint even if, as Chloé Maillet specifies, Bernard "Didn't like the pictures". Finally, the articles by Simon Icard and Laurence Mellerin show the importance of the posterity of Saint Bernard ("black legend" included), in the 17th and 18th centuries, and until the 21st ...
In addition to the texts on Bernard himself, the special edition also offers a presentation of Cîteaux (by Alessia Trivellone), a chronology (events, works, etc.), and above all a thematic bibliography.
Do not miss
Remarkably presented, with a rich iconography and feature articles with largely original approaches, this special edition of Religions & History on Saint Bernard of Clairvaux turns out in the end very complete and therefore essential to any lover not only of the character, but also of medieval history, and not only religious, as man was essential in all fields in his time, and well after.
- Religions & History: Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, HS no 6. Currently on newsstands.