Lecture 6 - RELIGIOUS STUDIES 90A Professor Niklaus Largier...

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RELIGIOUS STUDIES 90A Professor Niklaus Largier 09/15/09 Lecture 06 ASUC Lecture Notes Online is the only authorized note-taking service at UC Berkeley. Do not share, copy or illegally distribute (electronically or otherwise) these notes. Our student-run program depends on your individual subscription for its continued existence. These notes are copyrighted by the University of California and are for your personal use only. D O N O T C O P Y Sharing or copying these notes is illegal and could end note taking for this course. LECTURE William of Saint Thierry We look at a new text this week by a medieval monk written in the early 12 th century, shortly after 1100. This is new territory; Augustine was a church father who provided early teachings of the church and established doctrine and set up patterns about how to think of the self, and how to engage in dialogue and read scripture. Anthony we saw was an exemplary figure in Christian thought for monastics and lived his life in solitude in the desert dedicated to God. Thierry is part of a medieval monastic community; such communities were developed after the Roman Empire fell apart and a shift occurred as Christianity spread across Europe. Monasteries became new centers of learning and culture and the transmission of ideas. This is where texts were archived and survived. Thierry wrote from a monastic community and wrote to such a community; he refers to his brethren frequently as he speaks of obedience. Though it is addressed to the monastic community, its influence spread far beyond it. Friendship Remember also the importance of friendship in the texts we have read; Augustine emphasizes it in both texts – he places great importance on conversation. Friendship is an essential element in the patterns of dialogue. The Confessions has a lot of focus on dialogue with the self, with scripture, with friends and with God. In monastic communities the friendship with God becomes an ideal. For Thierry you discover love as a friend in the monastic life. There are still some monasteries throughout Europe from the Middle Ages in Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany and other countries where the culture of community life is cultivated. In Anthony we saw a hermit who still interacted with others, so friendship was even important for him. Later monasteries became quite organized and monks followed rules carefully. The rules of St. Benedict were followed in Benedictine monasteries. Thierry writes about a special type of life in monasteries. Recapitulating the Class We began this class in late antiquity and will end up in the 20 th century; we are following a path and seeing how spiritual writers think of the spiritual life. Thierry in the first sentence talks about the art of loving as the most important art; this echoes the Roman erotic poet Ovid. The concept of art is important here; the word is being used in a way that is somewhat different from its modern connotations. We think of art as a skill or a mind set associated with creativity and the production of art. For Thierry art is not about producing art; for him,
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Lecture 6 - RELIGIOUS STUDIES 90A Professor Niklaus Largier...

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