The separation between theology and spirituality: origins, consequences and bridging of the divorce Друк

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    You all know that the Holy Scriptures never mention a possible separation between theology and spirituality. They only describe the separation between faith and incredulity. Also the patristic writings ignore a separation between knowledge and praxis of faith. During the first millennium A.D. writers did not know our current distinction between dogmatic theology and sacramental life, between morals and canon law, between asceticism and mysticism. In the sermons of Saint Augustine and pope Gregory the Great all aspects of faith and ecclesiastical life are discussed.
    However, nowadays we can notice a real divorce between theological reflection and spiritual life in the Latin Church. No doubt this divorce is less evident in orthodox churches, though even those venerable churches, that pay much attention to their ancestral traditions, are not deaf to calls for rationalism. But we will restrict ourselves to the history of theology in the Latin Church.

 

    First we must reflect on the origins of the divorce that is both regrettable and inevitable in cultures such as ours, steeped in rationalism. Certain authors think that the divorce has been caused especially by the juridical mentality of the Council of Trent. But more perspicacious historians realise that it already existed during the rise of scholasticism, let us say at the start of the Thirteenth Century. The scholastic summae intended to develop a structured and well-organised science of the truths of faith. They did not but occasionally treat questions of spiritual life. For that reason I propose to you the hypothesis that theology and spirituality were harmoniously united for the last time in the works of the monastic authors of the Twelfth Century (especially in the works of Bernard of Clairveaux and William of St. Thierry and in the writings of Hugh and Richard of St. Victor). Moreover, the real origin of the divorce can be found in the conflict in which the Cistercians Bernard and William were opposed to the premier dialectician, Peter Abelard.

Nowadays it has become extremely dangerous to criticise Abelard, because the intentions of Abelard were just in the eyes of almost all theologians. Let us thus define our point of view more precisely. We do not want to judge Peter's teachings or merits here. We lack the necessary competence to do so. We shall only try to comprehend why William and Bernard refuted several of his doctrines and why they refused to follow the new paths that Peter Abelard presented to his students.

There is no doubt that William had rang the alarm. We can gather this from an incendiary letter he had sent to his friend Bernard and to Godfrey of Chartres, papal legate to France, during the Lent of 1140.

"To the Reverend Monsignors and Fathers in Christ, to Godfrey, bishop of Chartres and to Bernard, abbot of Clairveaux. I am confused, I the least of all people, because I am forced to interpellate you. It is your task to speak and you are keeping silent about one of the most serious matters that concerns the common good of the faithful. Could I keep silent at the sight of the danger that is threatening the faith of our common hope? This faith that Jesus Christ has sealed with his blood, for which defence the apostles and martyrs have spilt theirs. This faith that was transmitted purely and flawlessly by the watch and work of holy fathers to the deplorable century we are now living in".

Where and how did William realise that the faith was in danger? In the introduction to his Golden Epistle he confidentially tells us the answer. We learn that he met two novices at the monastery of Signy who had followed Abelard's courses and who carried in their luggage a copy of the tract Theologia summi Boni. This tract aroused William's curiosity. He studied the work in no time and came across one surprising subject after another. William thought it his task to reveal and challenge the errors Abelard had taught his students.

"Do not imagine that it is a trifle affair. The faith the Holy Trinity, the person of the Mediator, that of the Holy Ghost, the grace of God and the Sacrament of our Redemption are at stake here. Peter Abelard (already convicted in 1120 in Soissons) started to instruct and to write new things again. His books cross the seas, they cross the Alpes."

The further course of events is known. Bernard did not hesitate. He proposed Abelard to have a public dialogue in Sens. Abelard accepted the proposal, but at the last moment he noticed that the proposed dialogue was actually getting the form of a council that would judge the orthodoxy of his writings. He did not accept the competence of the tribunal and appealed to the papal court. Innocent II did not hesitate to condemn Abelard and to silence him.

Let us now return to our first issue regarding this case. For which reasons did William and Bernard oppose Abelard's theology? We are thinking of two motives of a different character.

First there is the dialectic method he uses while instructing. William summarises his objections to that in the following sentence: "He treats the Holy Scriptures like he is used to treat dialectics". Above all Abelard was a dialectician. He hoped to make comprehensible the truths of faith with the help of logic. "Indeed, he said, what do dogma's mean to a believing lay person if he does not understand them at all?" William and Bernard affirmed that Abelard criticised all elements of faith using rational arguments. In his intellectual system, reason was having the first and the last word! That is why they thought the essence of the Christian revelation was endangered.

There is a second reason why William and Bernard distrusted this extremely popular lecturer. There were many rumours about his private life. Everyone remembers his love affair with Heloise. We know that the canon Fulbert took revenge by having him castrated. We know that Abelard has caused division and discord in all the monastery's he visited. Bernard summarises this as follows: "On the outside he pretends to be a monk, but inside he is a heretic. His life, his behaviour and his books prove that he is a persecutor of the Catholic faith and an enemy of the cross of Christ." (Bernard, Letter 331, PL 182, p. 331)

 

In fact, William and Bernard distrusted this renowned tutor because his private life was not at all in harmony with his teachings. Before Abelard had come to the scene, everyone agreed that the only possible way to acquire the science of divine mysteries was to enter a monastery or in a collegiate school. The instruction of theology was submitted to the authority of the hierarchy and conform behaviour was supposed. Abelard wanted to liberate theology from its ecclesiastical yoke. He considered it as a rational science, without relationship to one's private life. The symbolic expression of this is the conflict between Abelard and William of Champeaux, archdeacon of Paris, that took place in 1110 already. The latter had forbidden Abelard to continue instructing at Notre Dame School. Abelard moved his professorial chair to a place just outside the city walls, near St. Genevieve Church (the current Pantheon). With reason, this symbolical act was considered as the founding of the first independent university. Indeed at that place, the Quartier Latin, the Sorbonne would later be established.

Pope Innocent II clearly condemned Abelard and his theology. It is not justified to brand Abelard as a heretic, because he has accepted the church's decision. Nevertheless he died a broken man. Later in history he would be proved right. The condemned innovator would gradually be considered as the precursor of scholasticism. This was an exclusively academic phenomenon. Peter Lombard turned theology into an academic discipline which meant the end of monastic theology. About 1250, the abbot of Clairveaux, Etienne of Lexington, founded St. Bernard's college in Paris, next to the great schools, to let the clever monks study there. That way Abelard was proved right almost a century after his death. The Cistercians themselves only studied scholastic theology.

William and Bernard had a presentiment and tried to stop the developments. From a historical viewpoint their efforts have been in vain. Nevertheless, they discerned a totally real problem: the imminent divorce between theology and spirituality. Theology would become a purely rational science, while spirituality would be relegated to the margin zone of ascetics and mysticism (or even worse: to the irrational zone of emotions). In the Thirteenth Century a certain Thomas Aquinas would reconcile reason and faith. But still, reason and the love of God kept disengaging themselves from each other.

William and Bernard did not want to neglect the cognitive aspect of spiritual life. They paid much attention to the role of reason. The spiritual aspect must be studied in a true science of faith. But this science, that masters and organises, must be accompanied by wisdom, that tastes and savours in affectivity. "[T]he part played by knowledge and reason in his [= the spiritual man] activity belongs to wisdom in the affective order. Knowledge amasses treasures, but not for itself. Like the bees, it makes honey, but for someone else. It is allowed a certain outward use of the things it has amassed, but their inward savor is reserved for another, and for another place. The study by which knowledge is gained requires the discipline of life in society, but the perfection of wisdom calls for solitude and secrecy and the heart that is solitary even amid the crowd" (William of St. Thierry, Exposition on the Song of Songs CF 7, p. 23, (Cistercian Fathers Series, 7)

 

 

Consequences of the divorce

 

For several centuries, scholasticism has occupied the entire field of theology. Spirituality was almost excluded from school curricula, to the detriment of both theology and spirituality. The latter has found refuge in the writings of monastic women and beguines throughout the Thirteenth Century and in the work of several mystical authors of the Fourteenth Century. Generally, the people that represent those separated fields are amply ignored. Sporadic contacts prove the mutual misunderstandings and condemnations. The criticism that Jean Gerson formulated against certain writings of St. Bernard and Ruysbroeck are very instructive on this topic. Gerson rejects the entire third book of Spiritual Espousals. Especially because Ruysbroeck never mentions the "light of glory" (lumen gloriae) that St. Thomas considers necessary for the created man to contemplate the uncreated light. It is thus the summit of spiritual life, the loving encounter between God and the human spirit, that is at stake. Ruysbroeck was defended by his confrere Jean van Schoonhoven, but also by an anonymous Carthusian monk of Erfurt, who was perfectly informed on the polemics between the eminent mystical author and the great chancellor of the Parisian university. He remarks very judiciously that Gerson's sight and hearing were very developed (acutissimus in duplici sensu visus et auditus), while his three other senses, especially smell, taste and touch were perfectly obtuse and weak. On the contrary, there are less-instructed persons who are blind and deaf to the maxims of scholastic philosophy, but who have very developed senses of breathing, tasting and touching spiritual realities.

"O excellent Master Doctor Gerson, I am going to use your own words, the words you wrote in the penultimate chapter of your treaty on mystical theology. There you wrote how difficult it is for scholars and savants to know mystical theology well. You said: "Let us place two persons before the eyes of our understanding, of whom one has an extremely developed sight and hearing, while his three other senses (smell, taste, and touch) are weak and obtuse. The other person is blind and deaf, but his three other senses (smell, taste, and touch) are alert and penetrant. It is certain that this second person could experience sensual delectations in a better way."

We derive from that comparison that savant philosophers and theologians have strong spiritual sight and hearing, but it happens that many of them lack the three other senses, or that those senses are obscure and obtuse. On the contrary, concerning simple people without education, one is able to say that they stay blind and deaf to the comprehension of scholastic philosophy , while their other senses (spiritual smell, taste, and feeling) are well developed.

O excellent Master John, renowned Doctor, you wrote and you said that you would like to accord mystical theology with scholasticism. It is clear that you prevail in spiritual sight and hearing, but that you are limited with regard to smell, feeling, and taste. Since you did not yet reach the wisdom of theology, that one learns trough ignorance, through irrationality, and through alienation and (holy) folly. Nonetheless, one can read in the letter you wrote to the Carthusian Bartholomew, there where you reject the third book of Ruysbroeck's treaty Spiritual Espousals: "In my opinion, the two first books are satisfactory enough. I cannot find anything contrary to faith or good manners, though they often demand much of a modest reader or of a reader who has not much experience with the affections evoked in the second book." (Weimar H.A.A.B. Qu 51) Ex Carthusia Erfordis - saeculi XV, 242/r.

After the scholastic period, the reform focused attention on mutual doctrinal differences. Spirituality became classified under certain pietist movements that are on the margins of traditional churches. The musical works of J.S. Bach are much more spiritual than the theology courses of the German universities.

And still, since the Fifteenth Century there have been calls against the dichotomy between theological reflection and praxis of the faithful. These calls could be heard in two distinct though often related movements: humanism and modern devotion. I would like to mention the great man Erasmus (1469-1536) here. In 1503 he described his theological program in the Manual of a Christian Soldier.

 

"In bringing the mysteries to light you must not follow the conjectures of your own mind, but you must learn the method and the art, so to speak, which was handed down by a writer named Dionysius in his book De divinis nominibus and by Augustine in his De doctrina Christiana. It was the Apostle Paul who, after Christ, opened up certain sources of allegories. He was followed by Origen, who is by far the predominant figure in this branch of theology. Theologians of the present day either practically despise allegory or treat it very coolly. In the art of subtle distinction they are equal or even superior to ancient commentators, but in the treatment of this subject they cannot even compare with them, for two reasons, as far as I can determine. First, mystical exegesis cannot fail to fall flat if it is not seasoned with the powers of eloquence and a certain gracefulness of style, in which the ancients achieved an excellence that we cannot even approach. The second reason is that thej are satisfied with Aristotle alone and banish the Platonists and Pythagoreans from the schools. But Augustine preferred the latter two, not only because many of their ideas are perfectly consistent with our religion, but also because their figurative mode of expression, as I mentioned, and frequent use of allegory are very close to the language of Sacred Scripture. It is no wonder, then, that theological allegories were more suitably treated by those who could adorn and enrich arid and tedious subjects through their eloquent command of language, and who, by virtue of their wide learning in all aspects of antiquity, had long since practised in their study of the poets and philosophers the approach that was necessary for the interpretation of the Scriptures. It is their commentaries, therefore, that I wish you to peruse, since I am not training you for scholastic debate, but imparting moral principles", (translation C. Fantazzi)

Leon Halkin has summarised this program in his excellent book "Erasme parmi nous" (1987). Erasmus preaches humility to theologians, because theology studies the mystery par excellence. Because this mystery is written in the Revelation, theology is first of all biblical; it is patristic because it is history and tradition, conscience of the church in evolution. At last, it is mystical, because it has to rise to the spiritual sense of the Scriptures in order to taste them by the heart instead of by the spirit.

Erasmus did not only present that program in his writings. He made it the program of his life. He edited the Greek text of the New Testament. He studied and edited several Church Fathers, the Greek Fathers as well as several Latin Fathers. It was in the city of Louvain that he founded the "collegium trilingue" with money his friend Jerome Busleyden had left to him. Thus he wanted to assure the instruction of the three biblical languages: Greek, Latin and Hebrew. From 1517 to 1521 he has occupied himself intensely with this foundation that had accepted the task of supporting three professors and eight students. The faculties of arts and theology became afraid of this independent college. They thought of it as a Trojan horse, whose fighters could attack the bastion of theology.

One could remark that Erasmus has neither written a manual of spirituality, nor even a history of spirituality. Then he would have answered that the circumstances did not allow him to. First he had to explore the field, this means editing reliable texts, from both the New Testament and the great Church Fathers. With this task Erasmus has charged himself. And it seems that many Belgian theologians follow in his footsteps. I want to mention the Bollandists' project, the library of Syriac texts, the studies by Father de Ghellinck, the journal Scriptorium, the Corpus Christianorum (Latin and Greek) etc. It is impossible to mention all great works of positive theology that have developed the field and have made accessible the spiritual treasures of the past.

 

Whatever the merits of Erasmus and his disciples, we must admit that the current situation needs other initiatives. To me it seems that the faculties of theology (and the seminars) have to look for other structures. It is also necessary to reconsider the question of the exact nature of theological knowledge. Let us precise our ideas considering these two subjects.

 

Bridging the divorce

 

We recall Malraux's words: "The 21st century will be spiritual or it will not be at all." It is so that the faculties of theology are hardly prepared for their new task, so adapted structures have to be found. The academic faculties create a department of spirituality that multiplies the courses on history of Christian spirituality and that organises workshops on specific themes of spiritual life. This means a remarkable progress compared to the situation of the past century. Only, the multiplication of institutes and courses does not at all guarantee that global theological research will follow more spiritual paths. Without doubt specialisation is inevitable, but it also causes new problems, concerning e.g. the relationship between exegesis and dogmatics, canon law and evangelical ethics. The renewed interest in spirituality will not solve its isolation and current separation.

The new structures have to go hand in hand with a new reflection on the specific character of theological knowledge. Let us take as an axiom that Christian theology is looking for a deepened knowledge of Christian faith. We all know of course that it is possible to speak of an agnostic theology. We know that the Bible and the Quran are part of the universal patrimony of the entire mankind. Still, all churches should be granted the right to formulate and elucidate the contents of their specific message.

Very early, the Christian faith had to find its own way in a pluriform, but totally rational civilisation. The evangelical message had to be inculturated in the Hellenistic civilisation that, though less scientific than ours, was very attentive to the possibilities of human reason. The Alexandrians used all means to find the 'gnose' or the knowledge of the ultimate truth. Without doubt we can speak about a typical Christian gnose. We can find it evocated in the writings of both St. Paul and of St. John.

How should we define the sense of this 'Christian gnose'? Let us reconsider Karl Rahner's description of it in several of his writings. It is about knowledge that is the fruit of love rather than reasoning and that is, according to St. Paul, characteristic of spiritual people. This knowledge enables spiritual souls to know God 's incomprehensible love, that has been revealed especially by the cross of Christ. Thanks to such a comprehension, the faithful person gets more and more seized by that ultimate love. It is self-evident that that knowledge is an element of faith and that it develops inside the faith (without ever exceeding it).

We can find the same understanding of faith in the tract by William of St. Thierry, titled The Mirror of Faith (SC 301). The author distinguishes three stages in faith as a science. "The first stage is not refusing the grace of hospitality towards truths that come to us from the outside and simply granting them faith, by obedience to him who commands. The second stage consists of becoming familiar with those same truths and of receiving them in the participation of the same bread and the same cup (as the purely human truths) (SC 301, p. 151).

 

So the spirit starts to meditate and to deepen that what reaches it from outside. That is the activity of the spiritual examinator. Early or late, its perseverance, its ardent zeal will grant him the light from beyond, the intervention of the Spirit. The illumining grace will take him to the last stage of the knowledge of the faith. This last stage realises itself by the sense of the illumining love. On that point William can write: "Amor ipse intellectus est" "Love itself is knowledge" Even more explicitly: Love is the only source to all true knowledge of God.

That conception of spiritual life is presented more dynamically in the Golden Epistle, in which three degrees of spiritual life are distinguished: animal man, rational man and spiritual man. Every attentive listener will easily understand that William's doctrine approaches the Alexandrine gnose very much, which should not surprise us if we remember that William was an accurate reader of Origen. Only the Alexandrine gnose uses conceptions of Greek philosophy in order to understand faith. Think for example of Contra Celsum by Origen. William comes up against the new dialectical movement of his times. He thus opposes the rationalism of rising scholasticism. To me it seems that the mission of current spirituality is to situate Christian life in relation to the scientific, sociological and psychological views of our contemporaries.

Let us now specify William's thinking. The understanding of love is true understanding. One has to be careful with the traditional scheme: understanding is a case of reason, love is a matter of will. This is a huge mistake! Love is not only a matter of will. It is about the whole human being and it renews the activity of all human abilities. For this reason even the five senses are changed by love and they behave really like the spiritual senses. The Origenian anthropology is the basis of William's anthropology.

Concerning the influence of the Alexandrine theology, one has to watch out for possible misunderstandings. William did not want to adopt nor update Origen's doctrine. He is not a "laudator temporis acti", he does not want to idealise the past. The evolution in his thinking was not determined by historical studies. On the contrary, he has been interpellated by the questions of his time. He was attentive, especially to affirmations of Pseudo-Dyonisius and of negative theology. "Human reason will never succeed in understanding the divine mystery". "The best knowledge of God that is possible in this world, is comprehending that God is unknowable". Gradually William has noticed that this negative approach to the divine mystery would lead to a sort of agnosticism. He has been saved from Dionysian obscurity by the verse from Matthew 11.27: "[...] no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." It is the biblical revelation that opens the path towards a positive knowledge of God.

One can follow the progression of William towards this positive knowledge in Oraisons meditatives: "Where are you, Lord, where are you? And where are you not? I am certain that you are with me here and now. But since you are with me, why am I not with you as well? My soul has the impression of not totally loving you if it cannot enjoy you. But it cannot enjoy you if it does not see nor comprehend you " (SC 324, p. 66).

Let us resume: The soul that loves God wants to enjoy him. But this enjoyment presupposes both the presence of God and the knowledge of him. The understanding of God is an essential element of spiritual experience. A bit further we can find the same reasoning: "Tell my soul whatever it is that it desires when it desires your face. It is so blind that at the same time it consumes itself in desire and still it does not know what it is desiring. Does it want to see you as you are?

 

[...] Seeing that is beyond us, because seeing what you are is being what you are. Well then, nobody sees the Father except the Son, and nobody sees the Son except the Father. But he pursues and says: 'and to the one the Son wants to reveal it' through the Holy Spirit, the Trinity God reveals itself to that friend of God whom He particularly wants to honour". (SC 324, p. 69-71)

William perfectly acknowledges that this knowledge of faith is not the knowledge of the reasoning reason. He states this expressively in his "Commentary on the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans" in a long quote borrowed from St. Augustine. "This man rejects, despises, disapproves everything that comes to his mind. He perfectly knows that that is not what he is looking for, though he does not know yet what he does search. There is therefore in him a certain learned ignorance, an ignorance which we learn from that Spirit of God who helps our infirmities, humiliating man by severe test, until that man is renewed in the image of the one that created him, and starts to be son by unity of resemblance".

It is in his main work "Exposition on the Song of Songs" that William describes the knowledge that is revealed as understanding of love (intellectus amoris). Let us recall that this love is not an activity of the human will, but of the Holy Spirit, with which love is identified. "For from the Bridegroom to the Bride, that first knowledge was a gift from the divine Wisdom, and that first love a gratuitous infusion of the Holy Spirit. But from the Bride to the Bridegroom, knowledge and love are all the same; for here love itself is understanding" {Exposition on the Song of Songs, CF 7, p. 46).

"Therefore when the Bride remembered the Bridegroom, or thought of him, seeking understanding she supposed him to be absent as long as her understanding turned not into love. [...] For love of God itself is knowledge of him; unless he is loved, he is not known, and A unless he is known, he is not loved. He is known only insofar as he is loved, and he is loved only insofar as he is known" (Exposition on the Song of Songs, CF 7, p. 64).

Also here the formal reason for the knowledge of love is the presence of the beloved: a presence that is both active and passive, because it is really about relational knowledge. Here we have to show in which way William compares the knowledge of love with the reciprocal knowledge of the divine persons. But this path will lead us again to the vast fields of Christian mysticism, which is not the subject of this colloquium.

On the contrary, we will quote the text that expresses that love and reason are complementary, two parallel paths that will lead to the contemplation of God. "Contemplation has two eyes, reason and love, as the prophet [Isaias] says: "the riches of salvation are wisdom and knowledge." One of these eyes searches the things of men, according to knowledge; but the other searches divine things, according to wisdom. And when they are illumined by grace, they are of great mutual assistance, because love gives life to reason and reason gives light to love; thus their gaze becomes simple as the dove's in contemplation and prudent in circumspection" (Exposition on the Song of Songs, CF 7, p. 74). That text reconsiders the intuition that William expressed as a youth in his tract The Nature and Dignity of Divine Love. During his adult years he started to appreciate more and more the role of reason, that he had always considered to be irreplaceable in the evolution of spiritual life. William is never irrational nor anti-intellectual.

 

By way of conclusion, we will try to give some characteristics of the knowledge of love.

1. The knowledge of love is part of spiritual experience. Around 1130 Bernard and William have discovered together, in the infirmary of Clairveaux, the importance of personal experience of the divine mystery. Since that moment they have tried to describe that experience by means of language and of symbols from the Song of Songs.

2. The knowledge of love is passive rather than active. William remarks in this respect: "For by the natural understanding the soul grasps the object which it penetrates; but by the spiritual understanding, instead of grasping, it is itself grasped. For the object which it grasps by the natural understanding, it discerns by the use of reason; but what it is unable to see into, it cannot discern" {Exposition on the Song of Songs, CF 7, p. 66).

3. The knowledge of love is enjoyable. It does not only enlighten the reason, but it also touches the five senses of the human being and especially the affective senses, namely taste, touch and smell. The human soul has not the impression that it is loving perfectly, as long as it cannot enjoy the presence of the beloved.

4. The knowledge of love presupposes that one leads a life conform to the demands of the person who was looked for and who is loved. St. Bernard and William thought that monastic life was the only possible school of Christian love. Without doubt, they have been too exclusive on this subject. But they have very well understood the multiple invitations of the bible to an attitude of faith that is sincere and without ambiguities. They follow the well-known adagio that the inspired text has to be read and understood according to the spirit in which it was conceived.

5. The knowledge of love enriches all domains of human intelligence. "Love gives life to reason, and reason gives light to love." By recalling the harmony that is necessary between science and wisdom, William has become the precursor of typical Christian humanism. Is it not because of such humanism that we are gathered at this colloquium for the development of a truly relational theology?

 

 

Appendix

"Weimar, H A A B Qu 51. Ex Carthusia Erfordis, saeculi 1400/1500.".

242/R (-9) O egregie domine doctor Gerson, verbis tuis modo utor, verba que scripsisti in tractatu de elucidacione mistice theologie in penultima consideracione. Ubi scripsisti de difficultate cognoscendi theologiam misticam a litteratis et doctis et ita dicens:

"Constituamus duos homines coram oculis nostre considerationis, quorum unus sit acutissimus in duplici sensu visus et audibus, sed habeat hebetatos penitus et olltusos tres alios sensus (241/V) qui sunt olfactus, gustus et tactus. Constituatur alius qui cecus sit et surdus, sed habeat expedites alios et vivaces sensus, scilicet olfactum, gustum et tactum. Constat quod iste secundus poterit maiores experiri delectationes sensuales quam primus".

 

Coniecturemus ex ista similitudine quod philosophi vel theologi litterati vigent in visu et auditu spiritualibus, sed advenit multis quod tribus aliis careant sensibus vel impeditos vel obtusos prorsus habeant. Advenit contra de simplicibus illiteratis quod velut ceci et surdi sunt ad philosophie scolastice perceptionem, qui ceteris sensibus vigent in spiritualium olfactu, gustu et tactu.

 

O egregie domine Johannes, doctor eximie, scripsisti, dixisti te velle concordare misticam theologiam cum scolastica. Perspicuum est quod viges in visu et auditu in spiritualibus, sed omnino in olfactu, gustu et tactu obtusus es, quia nondum pervenisti ad practicam huius sapientie, huius theologie quae per ignoranciam, per irracionabilitatem et per amentiam et stulticiam addiscitur. Scripsisti tamen in epistola ad patrem Bartholomeum carthusiensem, in qua repudias tertiam partem libri De spiritualibus nupciis a Ruysbroeck compositi. Ibi inter cetera scribis ita:

"Sunt, ut meum interim est iudicium, due partes priores satis utiles, in quibus nichil deprehendi quod non posset salva fide et morum probitate salvari, quamquam modestum lectorem in multis efflagitent, et talem qui non sit penitus expers earum quae secunda pars loquitur affectionum" (Combes, Essai I, p. 616-617)

 

 

Paul VERDEYEN


З французької переклала Barbara Toelen

Оригінальна публікація в Theology and conversation: towards a relational theology/ ed. by J.Haers & P.De Mey, Leuven, 2003 , pp. 675-688

 


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