Article

Medieval Latin Spirituality: Seeking Divine Presence

Anne L. Clark

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Latin Literature

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195394016
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195394016.013.0022

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Medieval Latin Spirituality: Seeking Divine Presence

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  • Classical Studies
  • Religion in the Ancient World
  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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This article focuses on the shaping of subjectivity by the circumstances of medieval Latin literary culture in the field of spirituality. Medieval Latin spirituality can be characterized as the Christian practice of cultivating the self, through reading, hearing, seeing, singing, meditation, often institutionalized and experienced communally, so as to experience the objects of this world—books, architecture, images, nature, other people—as leading one into the divine presence. The focus is on Latin spirituality, which illuminates a domain that was largely limited to the professed religious: men and women who lived in institutions which trained them for literacy and the practice of literate spirituality. This implies that medieval Latin spirituality was, for most of the Middle Ages, a religious practice of the educated. This “professional” or elite constituency opened up in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries with increased literacy and the creation of texts offering versions of Latin spirituality for lay practice.

Keywords: Latin spirituality; divine presence; literacy; religious; professed religious

Article.  9851 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Religion in the Ancient World ; Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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