Supplementing theological interpretation with historical, literary, and philosophical perspectives, The Weight of Love analyzes the nature and role of affectivity in medieval Christian devotion through an original interpretation of the mystical theology of the thirteenth-century Franciscan theologian Bonaventure. The Weight of Love intervenes in two crucial and much-studied developments in medieval Christian thought and practice: the renewal of interest in mystical corpus of Dionysius the Areopagite in thirteenth-century Paris and the proliferation of new forms of affective meditation focused on the passion of Christ in the later middle ages. In conversation with the contemporary historiography of emotions and critical theories of affect, The Weight of Love seeks primarily to contribute to scholarship on medieval devotional literature by urging and offering a more sustained engagement with the theological and philosophical elaborations of affectus in medieval texts. It also contributes to debates around the contemporary "affective turn" in the humanities by contextualizing and challenging modern categories of affect and emotion in historical perspective. In particular, The Weight of Love argues that the model of emotion as a cognitive tool for the management of social life is inadequate as a lens through which to view medieval Christian affectus. The discourses of affectivity developed in medieval mystical and devotional literature reveal a very different model of affect as a site of immanent otherness within the soul, a mode of dispossession. Through the exemplary life and death of Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure traces a mystical itinerary culminating in the meditant's full participation in Christ's crucifixion. This mystical death, for Bonaventure, the becoming-body of the soul, the consummation and transformation of desire into the crucified body of Christ.
The Weight of Love by Robert Glenn Davis was published by Fordham University Press in November 2016. The ISBN for The Weight of Love is 9780823272129.