Understanding the Medieval Meditative Ascent Paperback

Augustine, Anselm, Boethius, & Dante

by Robert McMahon;

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Understanding the Medieval Meditative Ascent

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The Confessions, Proslogion, and Consolation of Philosophy, like the Divine Comedy, all enact Platonist ascents. Each has a pilgrim figure, guided dialogically on a journey of understanding. Each rises to progressively higher levels of understanding and culminates in a supreme intellectual vision. The higher levels contain and surpass earlier understandings and thereby reconfigure them, but implicitly, for the questing pilgrim rarely stops to reflect on the stages of his ascent. Augustine's conclusions about time in book 11, for example, embrace memory as "time past," but he does not reconsider his account of memory in book 10 from this new perspective. He leaves this task for his reader's meditation, as a spiritual exercise. In this way, a Platonist ascent generates implied meditative meanings, which scholars have explored only in part. Each work calls us to read forward, on its journey of understanding, and to meditate backwards on the stages of the ascent and the relations between them. Augustine, Anselm, Boethius, and Dante wrote for readers experienced in meditating on the Bible, adept at exploring relations between far distant passages.
They designed these works as spiritual exercises for the same kind of reading and meditation. Understanding the Medieval Meditative Ascent uses literary analysis to discover new philosophical meanings in these works. Clearly written in nontechnical language, its account of their literary structures and of the hidden meanings they generate will inform nonspecialist and specialist alike.

Understanding the Medieval Meditative Ascent by Robert McMahon was published by Catholic University of America Press in March 2006. The ISBN for Understanding the Medieval Meditative Ascent is 9780813226521.

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Details for Understanding the Medieval Meditative Ascent

Author / Artist
Book FormatPaperback / softback
PublisherCatholic University of America Press (March 2006)
Number of Pages284
Thickness17 mm
Height216 mm
Width140 mm
Product Code4375691
Page last updated 28th May 2018
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