Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
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Synopsis

BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, b. 1091 at Fontaines, near Dijon, Burgundy; d. at Clairvaux, Aug. 20, 1153; canonized by Alexander III., 1173; was the third son of a noble and wealthy family, and received a complete training in all knightly accomplishments, but felt himself so strongly drawn toward things holy, that, in spite of the remonstrances of his family, he retired in 1113 to the Monastery of Citeaux (Cistertium), and became a monk. Though the Monastery of Citeaux (founded in 1098 by Stephan Harding) was renowned for the severity and strictness of its rules, Bernard, nevertheless, produced a strong impression in the circles into which lie had entered, by the austerity of his ascetic practices, and by the passionate energy with which he concentrated his whole life on the one thing needful. When, in 1115, the monastery proved too small for the number of persons asking for admission, - Bernard, for instance, came in company with thirty others whom he had converted from the world, - and it was found necessary to send out a colony and found a new monastery, Bernard was placed at the head of the emigrants. They settled in the wild and barren gorge of Clairvaux (Clara Vallis); and it cost an incredible amount of perseverance, hard labor, and self-sacrifice, to build a house in this inhospitable region. But the monastery prospered wonderfully, and its abbot soon became famous. He was severe, almost austere, but he was not hard: to all he showed a kindness of heart and a suavity of manners which charmed and consoled. he was humble and meek; but he was not diffident: on one thing he was so sure, that his conviction made him a commander, and a harbor of refuge to every one who felt weak, or doubtful, or tempted. he was young, and singularly inexperienced; but he had that magical intuition into characters and circumstances which comes from perfect sincerity of heart, and furnishes the best aid to any one who is sick, and the best remedy to any thing which is wrong. So great was the confidence he enjoyed, that in 1128 he was called upon to draw up the rules for the order of the Templars.

In the schism which broke out after the death of Honorius II., Bernard immediately and resolutely took the side of Innocent II.; and the enormous energy which he developed in the case decided both the course and the issue of the contest. At time synod of Estampes he induced the French clergy to recognize Innocent. The recognition by Louis VI. of France, Henry I. of England, and Lothair of Germany, followed soon after, and was, partly at least, also the result of his exertions. Lothair he even persuaded to give up some of the claims which he based on the concordat of Worms, and to make a campaign to Italy to expel Anaclet II. While Innocent staid in France, Bernard accompanied him from place to place, and preached to the people in his behalf, with an eloquence whose effect often approached the miraculous. In France he bore down every trace of opposition; and in Italy too, whither he went twice (in 1133 and 1136), his presence was more effective than that of the armies of Lothair. Shortly after the ending of the schism, the controversy with Abelard began. Abelard was a rationalist; Bernard, a mystic: Abelard held that the doctrines of Christianity ought to pass through the sifting of reason, in order to become a fit subject of faith; while Bernard demanded that they should be embraced at once by faith, through an act of the will. With Abelard, faith meant reasoned conviction: with Bernard, intellect meant enthusiastic contemplation. Between those two men a conflict was unavoidable. But at the synod of Sens (1140), where Abelard expected to meet Bernard as his counterpart in a disputation, Bernard appeared as his accuser. Abelard refused to defend himself, and appealed to the Pope; but Bernard frustrated the appeal, and Abelard was in reality condemned unheard. Peter Venerabilis, however, the great Abbot of Clugny, with whom Abelard spent the last years of his life, afterwards brought about a personal reconciliation between the two antagonists. Perhaps the greatest, or, at all events, the most striking, exploit which Bernard performed, was the preaching of the second crusade, 1146. He roused the people of France and Germany to a pitch of enthusiasm hardly surpassed by that which produced the first crusade; but the result corresponded very poorly to the preparations, and be felt himself somewhat embarrassed at the complete failure. Very remarkable, also, was his activity in South-western France (1147-49), among the heretics of Albi and Toulouse, though he was not completely successful in this case, either. He met there with a state of mind which somewhat resembled his own, and the miraculous in his personal influence became somewhat weakened by this circumstance.

The works of Bernard comprise a number of sermons, especially on the Canticles; a number of mystic theosophic treatises, De Diligendo Deo, De Gradibus Humilitatis et Superbiae, etc.; De Consideratione ad Eugenium III. (ed. Hurter, Innsbruck, 1885), a most characteristic work; a poem in hexameter; and a series of hymns, still living both in the Roman Catholic and in the Reformed churches (the most famous is the familiar, "0 sacred head now wounded," which was translated into German by Gerhardt); and four hundred and nineteen letters of the greatest historical and psychological interest. His style is generally strained, artificial, and cumbersome; but his thoughts have often the same power as hunger or thirst. They absorb the whole man whom they beset, and throw him with passionate decision in one direction. The best edition of his works is that by MABILLON, Paris, 1667, 2 vols. folio, afterwards often reprinted, as in Migne, 1854, 4 vols. 8vo. This edition contains his life written by his friend and disciple Godfrey.

Philip Schaff, ed., A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, 3rd edn, Vol. 1. Toronto, New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894. pp.248-249.

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Primary Sources

Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Apologia to Abbot William. Continuum International Publishing Group - Geoffrey Chapman, 1994. Pbk. ISBN: 0879071028. {Amazon.com}
On-line Resource St. Bernard, Apologia for the Second Crusade (Medieval Sourcebook)
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Five Books on Consideration: Advice to a Pope, John D. Anderson & Elizabeth T. Kennan, translators. Continuum International Publishing Group - Geoffrey Chapman, 1976. Hbk. ISBN: 0879071370. pp.224. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Hive of Sacred Honiecombes. Scolar Press, 1974. Hbk. ISBN: 0859671712.
Book or monograph The Letters to St Bernard of ClairvauxBernard of Clairvaux, The Letters to St Bernard of Clairvaux Bruno, new edn., Scott James, translator. Sutton Publishing, 1998. Pbk. ISBN: 0750916877. pp.582. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, On Grace and Free Choice. Continuum International Publishing Group - Geoffrey Chapman, 1990. Pbk. ISBN: 0879070706. pp.116. {Amazon.com}
On-line Resource On Loving God (Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God. Pickering & Inglis, 1983. Hbk. ISBN: 0720805562.
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, The Parables of St Bernard, Michael Casey, translator. Continuum International Publishing Group - Geoffrey Chapman, 1992. Hbk. ISBN: 0879071559. pp.112. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Rule of Good Life. Scolar Press, 1971. Hbk. ISBN: 0854175814.
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected WorksBernard of Clairvaux, Selected Works. Classics of Western Spirituality, G. R. Evans, translator. New York: Paulist Press, 1988. Pbk. ISBN: 0809129175. pp.296. {CBD} {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons for the Summer Season. Cistercian Publications, 1994. Hbk. ISBN: 0879074531. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons of St. Bernard on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Augustine Publishing Co., 1984. Pbk. ISBN: 0851727360.
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on the Nativity. Augustine Publishing Co., 1985. Pbk. ISBN: 0851727409.
Book or monograph Sermons on the "Song of Songs", Vol. 1Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on the "Song of Songs", Vol. 1, new edn. Continuum International Publishing Group - Geoffrey Chapman, 1977. Pbk. ISBN: 0879077042. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on the "Song of Songs", Vol. 3. Continuum International Publishing Group - Geoffrey Chapman, 1979. Pbk. ISBN: 0879079312. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on the "Song of Songs", Vol 4. Continuum International Publishing Group - Geoffrey Chapman, 1981. Hbk. ISBN: 0879071400.
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux: Talks on the Song of SongsBernard of Clairvaux, Talks on the Song of Songs. Christian Classics. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2002. Pbk. ISBN: 1557252955. pp.192. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Bernard of Clairvaux, Treatises, M Basil Pennington, editor. Irish University Press, 1972. Hbk. ISBN: 0716510057.

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Secondary Sources

Book or monograph Bredero: Bernard of Clairvaux: Between Cult and HistoryAdriaan H. Bredero, Bernard of Clairvaux: Between Cult and History. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971. Pbk. ISBN: 0802849938. pp.336. {CBD} {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph James S. Bruno, The Letters of Bernard of Clairvaux. Chicago: Begnery, 1953.
Article Mark Burrows, "Foundations for an Erotic Christology: Bernard of Clairvaux on Jesus as Tender Lover," Anglican Theological Review 80.4 (1998): 477-493.
Book or monograph Joseph Calmette & Henri David, St. Barnard. Paris, 1953.
Book or monograph Michael Casey, Bernard of Clairvaux. Cistercian Publications, 1994. Hbk. ISBN: 0879071990. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Gillian R. Evans, The Mind of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983. Hbk. ISBN: 0198266677. pp.256. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Evans: Bernard of ClairvauxGillian R. Evans, Bernard of Clairvaux. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pbk. ISBN: 0195125266. pp.256. {CBD} {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Gilson: The Mystical Theology of Saint BernardEtienne Gilson, The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard, new edn. London: Geofreey Chapman, 1990. Pbk. ISBN: 0879079606. pp.266. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph M. Kilian Hufgard, Bernard of Clairvaux's Broad Impact on Medieval Culture. Edwin Mellen Press, 2001. Hbk. ISBN: 0773476911. pp.104. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph M. Kilian Hufgard, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Edwin Mellen Press, 1990. Hbk. ISBN: 0889462666. pp.196. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Gillian R. Knight, The Correspondence Between Peter the Venerable and Bernard of Clairvaux. Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2002. Hbk. ISBN: 075460067X. pp.220. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Jean Leclercq, Bernard of Clairvaux and the Cisterician Spirit. Continuum International Publishing Group - Geoffrey Chapman, 1976. Hbk. ISBN: 0879078235. pp.264. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Jean Leclercq, Monks and Love in Twelfth Century France: Psycho-Historical Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979. Hbk. ISBN: 0198225466. pp.156. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Jean Leclerq, Women and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Continuum International Publishing Group - Geoffrey Chapman, 1990. Pbk. ISBN: 0879074043. pp.175. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Merton: The Last of the FathersThomas Merton, The Last of the Fathers. Harvest Books, 1981. Pbk. ISBN: 0156494388. {CBD} {Amazon.com}
Article R.I. Moore, "St Bernard's mission in Lanquedoc in 1145," Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 47 (1974): 1-10.
Book or monograph Pennington: Bernard of Clairvaux: A Lover Teaching the Way of LoveM. Basil Pennington, Bernard of Clairvaux: A Lover Teaching the Way of Love. New City Press, 1997. Pbk. ISBN: 1565480899. pp.128. {CBD} {Amazon.com}
Article Jonathan Phillips, "St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Low Countries and the Lisbon Letter of the Second Crusade," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 48.3 (1997): 485-497.
Book or monograph M.B. Pranger, Bernard of Clairvaux and the Shape of Monastic Thought. Leiden: Brill, 1994. Hbk. ISBN: 9004100555. pp.376. {Amazon.com}
Article Thomas Renna, "Bernard and Bede," American Benedictine Review 44.3 (1993): 223-235.
Article V. Gayle Sarber, "Hymn Poets of Medieval Scholasticism and Mysticism: Peter Abelard and Bernard of Clairvaux," Encounter 48.1 (1987): 151-161.
On-line Resource David S. Schaff, "St. Bernard of Clairvaux," The Princeton Theological Review 1.2 (1903): 180-199.View in PDF format [This material is in the Public Domain and can be freely distributed and copied]
Book or monograph John R. Sommerfeldt, The Spiritual Teachings of Bernard of Clairvaux. Cistercian Publications, 1991. Hbk. ISBN: 087907325X. pp.258. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Tamburello: Bernard of ClairvauxDennis Tamburello, Bernard of Clairvaux. Crossroad, 2000. Pbk. ISBN: 0824525167. pp.168. {CBD} {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Geoffrey Webb & Adrian Walker, editor. St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Mowbray, Oxford, 1960. Hbk. ISBN: 0264653149.
Book or monograph Watkin W. Williams, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Historical Series No 69. Manchester University Press, 1935 / Westminster, MD: 1953.

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