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Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

Boyd Taylor Coolman

Published in print January 2017 | ISBN: 9780199601769
Published online February 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191773167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199601769.001.0001

Series: Changing Paradigms in Historical and Systematic Theology

Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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In the southern shadow of the Italian Alps, Thomas Gallus (d. 1246), or Thomas of St. Victor, the last of the great medieval Victorine theologians, spent his last twenty-five years commenting on the mysterious collection of late antique writings known today as the Dionysian Corpus. The result was a series of extensive commentaries in which Gallus articulates a distinctive theological vision—an account of the nature of God, the nature of the human soul, and the mystical relation between them, as profound as it was influential. Today, Gallus is regarded as the influential architect of a medieval “affective interpretation” of the Dionysian Corpus, which privileged love over knowledge in the soul’s final encounter with God, and which interpreted Dionysius’ account of divine–human union accordingly. This affective priority has also led some to read him as anti-intellectual, as opposed to rigorous intellectual speculation, and as excluding knowledge from the soul’s ultimate union with God. But Gallus also derives a unique account of the soul from Dionysius, a Dionysian anthropology through which he conceives of a complex, dynamic, and ultimately reciprocal relationship between knowing and loving God, wherein love not only ecstatically exceeds knowledge, but also subsumes it, “affectivizes” it, while at the same time, such affective experience spawns and fecundates deeper intellectual insight and understanding. In the end, through both knowledge and love, the soul spirals eternally into God.

Keywords: Bonaventure; Dionysius; medieval; mysticism; Neoplatonism; Song of Songs; spirituality; theological anthropology; Thomas Gallus; Victorine

Book.  288 pages. 

Subjects: Christian Theology ; History of Christianity

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Medieval Affective Interpretation of Dionysius in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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Pleromatic and Ecstatic Trinity in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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Plethoric Diffusion in Creation in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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Receptive and Ecstatic Human Nature in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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“Lingering in the Dominions” in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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“Becoming a Throne for God” in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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“Every Kind of Knowledge” in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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“The Wisdom of Christians” in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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“As Oil Poured Forth” in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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“Remaining in Blessed Intoxication” in Knowledge, Love, and Ecstasy in the Theology of Thomas Gallus

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