The Consolation Tradition in the Latin Church

Ronald K. Rittgers

in The Reformation of Suffering

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795086
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950171 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

The Consolation Tradition in the Latin Church

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This chapter opens by observing that late medieval clergymen had another source available to them as they ministered to sick and suffering Christians: consolation literature. The chapter examines the history of consolation in the Christian West in order to show the ancient origins—both pagan and Christian—of the wisdom contained in late medieval works of consolation. The discussion proceeds chronologically, focusing first on ancient pagan consolation literature, then on ancient Christian sources, and finally on medieval and late medieval works of consolation. Key figures include Cicero, Seneca, Cyprian, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Boethius, Isidore of Seville, Johannes von Dambach, and Jean Gerson. The chapter also demonstrates how the Christian consolation literature consistently offered numerous explanations for suffering, only one of which was divine punishment for sin.

Keywords: consolation literature; suffering; Cicero; Seneca; Cyprian; Ambrose; Jerome; Augustine; Gregory the Great; Boethius

Chapter.  11469 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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