Master Class on The Wisdom of Bernard of Clairvaux

Apr 8, 2017
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Bernard McGinnUniversity of Chicago


This master class is open to current students and faculty. PDFs of the readings will be made available for participants.

This one-time Seminar will study selected writings of the great Cistercian theologian and mystic, Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1157). Bernard was one of the most remarkable figures of the twelfth century—monastic leader, ecclesiastical politician, and noted theologian. His most important legacy, however, was as a mystic and mystical writer. His mystical treatises, such as On Loving God (De diligendo Deo), and especially his eighty-six sermons on the biblical Song of Songs (Sermones super Cantica Canticorum), are among the most widely-read works in the history of Christian mysticism. The Seminar will focus on reading and analyzing On Loving God and selected sermons from the collection on the Song of Songs as found in Bernard of Clairvaux. Selected Works, translated by G. R. Evans (New York: Paulist Press, 1987), pp. 173-205, and 209-78. In addition, some other outlines and short extracts will be handed out during the Seminar.


  • G.R. Evans, trans., Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Works (New York: Paulist Press, 1988), pp.173-205, 209-278.


  • Bernard McGinn & Patricia Ferris McGinn, Early Christian Mystics (New Yorl: Crossroads Publishing, 2003), pp. 207-230
  • G.R. Evans, trans., Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Works (New York: Paulist Press, 1988), pp.13-57.


1:30pm   Coffee & Tea
2:00pm   Session I
3:40pm   Break
3:50pm   Session II
5:30pm   Close, Wine & Cheese Reception

Bernard McGinn is the Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School and the Committees on Medieval Studies and on General Studies at the University of Chicago. He has written extensively about the history of apocalyptic thought, spirituality, and mysticism. McGinn's many books include Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with EvilThe Presence of Goda multivolume history of Western Christian mysticism, and most recently Thomas Aquinas’s Summa theologiae: A Biography.