Bernard of Clairvaux is perhaps the most controversial figure of Western Europe's vibrant twelfth century. Unlike Abelard, who is seen as a proponent of modern thinking, Bernard is often relegated to the darkest corner of the Middle Ages. Nothing is easy with Bernard, but these fresh evaluations of him and their reviews of recent scholarship enable the reader to make a more balanced evaluation of the man, his writings, and his impact on his period. Bernard emerges as a multifaceted figure who sought to reform monasticism and ended up becoming a saint with an appeal to virtually all classes in medieval society. Bernard lives on today with the lay and monastic scholars who continue to find new layers of meaning in his writings.
Contributors include Christopher Holdsworth, Michael Casey, James France, Diane Reilly, John Sommerfeldt, Mette B. Bruun, Burcht Pranger, Chrysogonus Waddell, E. Rozanne Elder, and Brian Patrick McGuire.
Brian Patrick McGuire, D.Phil. (1971) in History, Oxford University, is professor of history at Roskilde University, Denmark. He has published books and articles on medieval friendship, church reform, monasticism and other topics. In 2006 he edited Brill's Companion to Jean Gerson.
“With A Companion to Bernard of Clairvaux, Brill continues its excellent series with a worthwhile collection of essays examining Bernard and his works from a variety of angles. […] McGuire should be commended for his efforts. This work is a wonderful compilation for scholars who desire to deepen their knowledge of and appreciation for this important and complex medieval personality.”
Michael C. Voigts, Asbury Theological Seminary. In: Church History, Vol. 81, No. 3 (September 2012), pp. 671-672.
“This is a collection of essays that, in keeping with the intentions of the series, provides an introduction to, not an exhaustive study of, one of the great figures in medieval monastic history: St. Bernard, founding abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux […]. Cistercian scholars and those coming new to Bernard will find much of interest in this collection.”
Janet Burton, University of Wales Trinity Saint David. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2013), pp. 146-147.
‘’This book is an important updating on Bernardine study, entirely by authoritative scholars […] it will certainly benefit scholars and people with a broad interest in medieval thought, and the footnotes, bibliography and analytic index are invaluable.’’
Marsha L. Dutton, Ohio University. In: American Benedictine Review, 64, 2013, p.449.
‘’McGuire hat mit seinem vorgelegten Band eine neue bedeutsame Arbeit zu Bernhards Leben und Werk geschaffen.’’
Immo Eberl, Ellwangen/Tübingen University. In: Francia-Recensio, 2011/3 Mittelalter – Moyen Âge (500–1500).
Introduction: A Companion to Bernard of Clairvaux. Brian Patrick McGuire Bernard’s Life and Works: A Review. Brian Patrick McGuire Reading Saint Bernard: The Man, the Medium, the Message. Michael Casey OCSO Bernard and William of Saint Thierry. E. Rozanne Elder Bernard of Clairvaux and Peter Abelard. Constant J. Mews Bernard as a Father Abbot. Christopher Holdsworth Bernard the Writer. M.B. Pranger Bernard of Clairvaux and the Landscape of Salvation. Mette B. Bruun Bernard of Clairvaux and Christian Art. Diane J. Reilly The Heritage of Saint Bernard in Medieval Art. James France An Old Man’s Tale: My Many Years With Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Chrysogonus Waddell OCSO Afterword: Looking Back at Bernard. John R. Sommerfeldt Bibliography
Academic libraries, insitutes for medieval studies, Cistercian monasteries (O.C. and O.C.S.O). Anyone interested in the intellectual history of Europe and/or in monastic history.