Smirnova Viktoriia

Cistercian art of persuasion (13th–16th centuries): dialogus miraculorum by Caesarius of Heisterbach and its reception

Smirnova Viktoriia, Polo de, (2013) "Cistercian art of persuasion (13th–16th centuries): dialogus miraculorum by Caesarius of Heisterbach and its reception ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2013, vol. 34, pp. 152-160 (in Russian).


The article contains detailed summaries of two presentations made at a Paris conference on the Dialogus miraculorum by Caesarius of Heisterbach. The fi rst presentation, «Dialogus miraculorum as an initial source of Scala coeli by Jean Gobi the Younger (1323–1330)» puts forward a thesis that by the 1320s Caesarius had become an auctoritas for the mendicant orders, to which Jean Gobi, the author of Scala coeli belonged. The main problem discussed in the presentation is the contradiction between Jean Gobi’s statement that he borrows his examples from Caesarius and clear stylistic difference between Caesariuss and Jean Gobi’s rendering of the same exempla. M. A. Polo de Beaulieu compares cases of Jean Gobi uninterrupted quoting of the Alphabetum by Arnold of Liege and points out that the rubrication in Scala coeli is the same as in Alphabetum. This leads to the conclusion that Jean Gobi takes his material not directly from Caesarius but through the agency of his Dominican brother, Arnold. In doing this, Jean Gobi prefers to cite the original source and not to mention Arnold, which shows the trustworthiness of a Cistercian author for a Dominican friar. The second presentation, «Accessit abbatis mei imperium... Belief and theology in Caesarius’ of Heisterbach stories», demonstrates (within the framework of the «narrative theology») that in the 9th Section of the Dialogus by Caesarius the narrative structure reinforced by the dialogue epitomises distinctive features of the Cistercian «aff ective theology»: the emphasis on the idea that the cause of the incarnation of God and of the entire divine activity in the world is love; the idea of the personal union of the Christian and God in the Communion when the heart of the faithful, in which Christ is born anew, is likened to Virgin Mary; the attention to the representation of Christ as an infant and to the human nature of Christ. The significance of personal activity in Cistercian theology is expressed on the level of narration in the fact that Caesar’s characters are not passive bearers of faith but actively aspire to the efficient participation in the Sacrament. The narration helps embody the Cistercian creed, nonetheless the Dialogue contain the doctrine of the scholastic Peter of Poitier.


«Scala coeli», Арнольд Льежский, «Alphabetum narrationum»

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Smirnova Viktoriia