Six sessions sponsored by the Center for Cistercian and Monastic Studies (CCMS) have been accepted to the International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS). One panel has been accepted as a CCMS-only panel. The CCMS organizing committee is pleased and welcomes submissions to the panels listed below. Please review the information and consider submitting:
- an abstract and the ICMS Participant Information Form (available here in July) for those sessions with room for more participants, or
- if you are willing to be considered for non-ICMS sessions, you can also use the CCMS form.
CCMS does not guarantee consideration of materials sent by replying to CCMS emails.
Rewriting Cistercian exempla between the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century (accepting papers)
Recent years have seen the publications of translations (The Great Beginning of Cîteaux) and critical editions of Cistercian exempla (Collectaneum exemplorum ac visionum Clarevallense; Collectio Exemplorum Cisterciensis; Liber visionum et miraculorum Clarevallensium). It is then important and timely to explore the role of exempla more in depth and from different perspectives. This session will focus on how these short, exemplary stories were used, rewritten and retold inside and outside the order.
Bernard’s De Consideratione and its Afterlife (accepting papers)
Bernard of Clairvaux’s De Consideratione, addressed to his protege Pope Eugene III, enjoyed a rich after-life. It influenced the angelology, moral and sacramental theology of Alexander of Hales and in different ways, provided both Dante and Martin Luther with a rhetorical model for challenging the pope and advancing a bold vision of ecclesiastical reform. The panel will explore the different ways Alexander, Dante and Luther received and redeployed Bernard’s provocative epistolary treatise.
St. Gertrude the Great, Orthodoxy, Originality and Universality of her doctrine (accepting papers)
Since 2012 the Benedictine and Cistercian Orders move forward the joint project of the Nomination of St. Gertrude as a Doctor of the Church. That title means the recognition of her teaching as eminent doctrine, standard involving the aspects of orthodoxy, originality, universality, opportunity, currency and a broad influence of her writings over the centuries. This panel focuses in the three features mention at first: Orthodoxy indicates that her doctrine refers to main aspects of the Christian Faith, in full concordance and continuity with the Scriptural, Patristic and Medieval tradition; originality implies that her teaching marks a progress in the comprehension of the content of the faith or proposes a single and peculiar way of access to it; and universality means that her doctrine applies to every age, every culture and every ambiance in the Church, because it concerns both the divine revelation and what is truly human. In promoting these panels the Committee looks to awake the interest of the scholarly community towards the Nomination of St. Gertrude as a Doctor of the Church, as well as to foster local contributions about its writings in the wide fields of theology, philosophy, history, linguistic and literary studies.
The Monastic and Early Scholastic Theology – More Likeness Than Difference? (accepting papers)
After Jean Leclercq’s L’amour des lettres et le désir de Dieu from 1957 it has been generally accepted in medieval research in history of theology to draw a clear distinction between the theology written by monks and the theology written by clerics and teachers “in the world”. Thus, modern investigations can notice the difference between the experience of the monastics and the speculation of the schoolmen, the different view on the relationship between faith and reason, the difference between the humility of the former and the pride of the latter, the difference between the affectus (feeling or taste) of the divine and the dialectic of the latter, which all lead to “… le divorce de la théologie et de la spiritualité” (Denis Cazes, La théologie sapientielle de Guillaume de Saint-Thierry, 2009, pp. 803ff and 841f). The condemnations e.g. of Peter Abélard in 1121 and 1140 are most clear evidence of the different standpoints of the monastic critics and the rational speculations of a schoolman.
The suggested panel seeks to challenge this otherwise well documented analysis of the theological landscape of the 12th century. Contributions are invited which want to show that there can be more likeness than difference between the two worlds of theological thought. Just an example could be the commentaries on Romans by the schoolman Peter Abélard and the monastic William of Saint-Thierry. Another issue could be the interest in Christian philosophy in the monasteries. One planned contribution would deal with the interpretation of the famous verse 5:5 of the Letter to the Romans in which the typical monastic reading (the identification of the Holy Spirit with the human caritas) is shared by a considerable number of schoolmen (following Peter Lombard’s theory in Dist. 1:17) but also finds critics both among schoolmen and theologians from the monastic world.
Floral Metaphors in the Material and Spiritual Culture in Medieval Monasticism (fully booked)
Inspired by sessions from the 2016 and 2017 Cistercian Conferences the presenters would like to explore the role that gardening metaphors play in the understanding and experience of spirituality for medieval monks and nuns. Simply put we shall investigate how monks and nuns employed metaphors of planting, grafting, flowering, and gardening to interconnect their experience of the material world with their spiritual life. The first presenter will focus on Carolingian manuscripts. (Matthew Ponesse, Ohio Dominican). This paper will explore the use of floral metaphors in the organization and production of ninth-century manuscript compilations. The second paper will examine images of flowers in early Cistercian manuscripts, and will highlight the spiritual connections made between flora, wine, and medicine. (Dan M. La Corte). The third paper will investigate Aaron’s rod, flowering trees and fruit as metaphors for the Resurrection in the writings of Aelred of Rievaulx. (Jason Crow, Monash University). The fourth paper will explore the work of Monastic gardening in parallel with the idea of the Garden of Eden in the writings of Hildegard of Bingen. (Rose Marie Tillisch, Strandmarkskirken)
Aelred of Rievaulx and the Dramatic (fully booked)
Scholars frequently write of Aelred of Rievaulx as a teacher who creates formal situations within which and audiences for whom he can teach. What has been less remarked upon is the variety of dramatic forms he uses as pedagogical tools, sometimes formal dialogues, at other times extended responses to questions he says he has been asked. Most of his treatises are lively narratives in which groups of figures play leading roles, with individuals emerging from the groups to become active participants, often identified by name, occupation, and even physical appearance.
But general neglect of the conscious literary skill and pedagogical purpose with which Aelred incorporates such prominent narrative and dramatic elements into his works has frequently misled scholars into taking at face value the validity of his occasional claims to literary and rhetorical incompetence. This view of Aelred as an untutored and therefore necessarily unskilled writer relies to some extent on both Saint Bernard’s letter saying that Aelred claimed to come to the monastery “from the kitchen, not the school” (the Prologue to Aelred’s Speculum caritatis) and Walter Daniel’s explanation that Aelred had not sat before a master but was instead self-taught (Vita Aelredi).
This panel is designed to highlight the conscious literary and pedagogical skill with which Aelred incorporates dramatic elements into his treatises providing instruction in Christian doctrine and life. It will pay particular attention to the way he uses characterization, invented speeches, and narrative structure in his works. It seeks to understand the way in which the power of his teaching resides in his rhetorical method as well as in the theological acumen of the ideas he conveys with that method.
Contemporary Studies in Saint Bernard in Honor of Father Luke Anderson, OCist (fully booked)
The prominence of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) in the survival and then astonishing growth of the Cistercian Order from the twelfth century to today has been a central topic among Cistercian scholars over the past fifty years. Among the best known and best loved of those scholars, especially among participants in the annual Cistercian Studies Conference, is Fr. Luke Anderson, OCist. Fr. Luke’s commitment to exploring and explaining the Bernardine teaching of his treatises and his sermons has shaped several generations of young Cistercian scholars.
This panel is open-ended in its definition, focusing on Saint Bernard and on the contributions Fr. Luke has made to the study of Bernard over these years. Its central purpose is to honor Fr. Luke.