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§ 105. Hugo and Richard of St. Victor.


Literature for Hugo.—Works, first publ. Paris, 1618, 1625, etc. Migne, vols. 175–177.—Lives by A. Hugonin in Migne, 175. XV-CXXV. In Hist. Lit. de France, reprinted in Migne, 175. CXXVI. sqq.—*A. Liebner: Hugo von St. V. und d. Theol. Richtungen s. Zeit., Leip., 1832.—B. Haureau: Hugues de S. V. avec deux opuscules inédits, Paris, 1859. new ed. 1886.—A. Mignon: Les origines de la scholastique et Hugues de St. V., 2 vols. Paris, 1896.—Kilgenstein: D. Gotteslehre d. Hugo von St. V., Würzb., 1897.—Denifle: D. Sentenzen Z. von St. Victor, in Archiv, etc., for 1887, pp. 644 sqq.—Stökl, pp. 352–381.

For Richard.—Works, first publ. Venice, 1506. Migne, vol. 196.—J. G. V. Engelhardt: Rich. von St. V., Erlangen,—Liebner: Rich. à S. Victore de contemp. doctrina, Gött., 1837–1839, 2 parts.—Kaulich: D. Lehren des H. und Rich. von St. Victor, Prag., 1864.—Art. in Dict. Of Natl. Biogr., Preger, Vaughan, Stökl, Schwane, etc.


In Hugo of St. Victor, d. 1141, and more fully in his pupil, Richard of St. Victor, d. 1173, the mystical element is modified by a strong scholastic current. With Bernard mysticism is a highly developed personal experience. With the Victorines it is brought within the limits of careful definition and becomes a scientific system. Hugo and Richard confined their activity to the convent, taking no part in the public controversies of the age.14431443    St. Victor, the convent which William of Champeaux, Hugo, and Richard made famous, had its filial houses not only in France but also in Ireland. With the French Revolution the convent and its grounds disappeared. Two streets of Paris, the Rue Guy de la Brosse and the Rue de Jussieu, were driven through them. See Wetzer-Welte, St. Victor, XII. 914 sqq.

Hugo, the first of the great German theologians, was born about 1097 in Saxony.14441444    The argument in favor of Saxony is well stated by Preger, Deutsche Mystik, I. 227 sqq. So Zöckler in Herzog, and the art. on Hugo, in Wetzer-Welte.ary writers by whom he is quoted. His most important works are on Learning, the Sacraments, a Summa,14451445    Summa Sententiarum, Migne, 176. 42-172. This work has been denied to Hugo by Denifle on insufficient grounds. Hugo opens the work with a treatment of the three cardinal virtues, faith, hope, and love, and proceeds to the discussion of the Trinity, creation, the five sacraments, and marriage. and also a treatise on what would now be called Biblical Introduction.14461446    He discusses the senses of Scripture, the number of the books, the apocrypha, the translation, the historical difficulties of Scripture, etc. See Migne, 175. 9-28. The same topics are treated in his treatise on Learning. Migne, 176. 778-811.llustration of these three senses is given in the case of Job. Job belonged to the land of Uz, was rich, was overtaken by misfortune, and sat upon the dunghill scraping his body. This is the historical sense. Job, whose name means the suffering one, dolens, signifies Christ who left his divine glory, entered into our misery, and sat upon the dunghill of this world, sharing our weaknesses and sorrows. This is the allegorical sense. Job signifies the penitent soul who makes in his memory a dunghill of all his sins and does not cease to sit upon it, meditate, and weep. This is the anagogical sense.

From Hugo dates the careful treatment of the doctrine of the sacraments upon the basis of Augustine’s definition of a sacrament as a visible sign of an invisible grace. His views are given in the chapter on the Sacramental System.

The mystical element is prominent in all of Hugo’s writings.14471447    Among his mysticalwritings are de arca Noe morali, Migne, 176. 619-680; de arca mystica, Migne, 176. 681-703; de vanitate mundi. Noah’s ark is symbolical of the spiritual house and Christ is the "Captain, the supreme Noah." The wood, windows, and other parts of the ark are all spiritualized. In the second treatise the ark represents the cross.ion. The faculty of contemplation is concerned with divine things, but was lost in the fall when also the eye of reason suffered injure, but the eye of the flesh remained unimpaired. Redemptive grace restores the eye of contemplation. This faculty is capable of three stages of activity: cogitatio, or the apprehension of objects in their external forms; meditatio, the study of their inner meaning and essence; and contemplatio, or the clear, unimpeded insight into the truth and the vision of God. These three stages are likened unto a fire of green fagots. When it is started and the flame and smoke are intermingled so that the flame only now and then bursts out, we have cogitatio. The fire burning into a flame, the smoke still ascending, represents meditatio. The bright glowing flame, unmixed with smoke, represents contemplatio. The carnal heart is the green wood from which the passion of concupiscence has not yet been dried out.14481448    Carnale cor quasi lignum viride necdum ab humore carnalis concupiscentiae exsiccatum, etc. See Liebner, p. 315.

In another place Hugo compares the spirit, inflamed with desire and ascending to God, to a column of smoke losing its denseness as it rises. Ascending above the vapors of concupiscence, it is transfused with light from the face of the Lord and comes to behold Him.14491449    De arca morali, III. 7; Migne, 176. 654.t God is all in all. Love possesses God and knows God. Love and vision are simultaneous.

The five parts of the religious life, according to Hugo, are reading, reflection, prayer, conduct, and contemplation.14501450    de erud. didasc., Migne, 176. 797.’s pen as it was on St. Bernard’s. The words he most often uses to carry his thought are contemplation and vision, and he has much to say of the soul’s rapture, excessus or raptus. The beatitude, "The pure in heart shall see God," is his favorite passage, which he quotes again and again to indicate the future beatific vision and the vision to which even now the soul may arise. The first man in the state of innocence lived in unbroken vision of God.

They who have the spirit of God, have God. They see God. Because the eye has been illuminated, they see God as He is, separate from all else and by Himself. It is the intellectual man that partakes of God’s bliss, and the more God is understood the more do we possess Him. God made man a rational creature that he might understand and that by understanding he might love, by loving possess, and by possessing enjoy.14511451    Quia non potest dei beatitudo participari nisi per intellectum, etc. Summa, II. 1: Migne, 176. 79.

More given to the dialectical method and more allegorical in his treatment of Scripture than Hugo, was Richard of St. Victor. Richard is fanciful where Hugo is judicious, extravagant where Hugo is self-restrained, turgid where Hugo is calm.14521452    See Liebner, Hugo von St. Victor, pp. 81 sq. prior. While he was at St. Victor, the convent was visited by Alexander III, and Thomas á Becket. In his exegetical works on the Canticles, the Apocalypse, and Ezekiel, Richard’s exuberant fancy revels in allegorical interpretations. As for the Canticles, they set forth the contemplative life as Ecclesiastes sets forth the natural and Proverbs the moral life. Jacob corresponds to the Canticles, for he saw the angels ascending and descending. Abraham corresponds to the Proverbs and Isaac to Ecclesiastes.14531453    Migne, 196. 409. The Canticles set forth the contemplative life, because in that book the advent and sight of the Lord are desired.

In the department of dogmatics Richard wrote Emmanuel, a treatise directed to the Jews,14541454    .De Emmanuele, Migne, 196. 601-665 Bernard,14551455    Migne, 196. 995-1011. Richard calls Bernard, divus Bernardus, and "my Bernard," V; Migne, 195. 999. He also addressed other works to St. Bernard.14561456    O felix culpa quae talem ac tantum meruit habere redemptorem, Migne,196. 1003.om experience, ratiocination, and faith. Dialectics are allowed full sweep in the attempt to join knowledge and faith. Richard condemned the pseudo-philosophers who leaned more on Aristotle than on Christ, and thought more of being regarded discoverers of new things than of asserting established truths.14571457    See Engelhardt, pp. 14 sqq.14581458    Fides totius boni initium est atque fundamentum, Migne, 196. 889.ferent persons and just three because two persons, loving one another, will desire a third whom they shall love in common.

Richard’s distinctively mystical writings won for him the name of the great contemplator, magnus contemplator. In the Preparation of the Mind for Contemplation or Benjamin the Less, the prolonged comparison is made between Leah and Rachel to which reference has already been made. The spiritual significance of their two nurses and their children is brought down to Benjamin. Richard even uses the bold language that Benjamin killed his mother that he might rise above natural reason.14591459    Interficit matrem ubi omnem supergreditur rationem. De prep., 86; Migne, 196. 62, etc.

In Benjamin the Greater, or the Grace of Contemplation, we have a discussion of the soul’s processes, as the soul rises "through self and above self" to the supernal vision of God. Richard insists upon the soul’s purification of itself from all sin as the condition of knowing God. The heart must be imbued with virtues, which Richard sets forth, before it can rise to the highest things, and he who would attempt to ascend to the height of knowledge must make it his first and chief study to know himself perfectly.14601460    Animus qui ad scientae altitudinem nititur ascendere, primum et principale sit ei studium se ipsum cognoscere. De prep., 76; Migne, 196. 54.

Richard repeats Hugo’s classification of cogitatio, meditatio, and contemplatio. Contemplation is the mind’s free, clear, and admiring vision of the wonders of divine wisdom.14611461    Contemplatio est libera mentis perspicacia in sapientae spectacula cum admiratione suspensa. De gratia, I. 5; Migne, 196. 67. Here, as in other places, Richard quotes his teacher Hugo.sy, seeing visions, enjoying sublimated worship and inexpressible sweetness of experience. This is immediate communion with God. The third heaven, into which Paul was rapt, is above reason and to be reached only by a rapturous transport of the mind—per mentis excessum. It is "above reason and aside from reason."14621462    Supra rationem et praeter rationem. De prep., 86; Migne, 196. 61. Plato, nor did any of the company of the philosophers.14631463    De prep., 74; Migne, p. 54.

Richard magnifies the Scriptures and makes them the test of spiritual states. Everything is to be looked upon with suspicion which does not conform to the letter of Scripture.14641464    Suspecta mihi est omnis veritas, quam non confirmat scripturarum auctoritas. De prep., 81; Migne, 196. 57.

The leading ideas of these two stimulating teachers are that we must believe and love and sanctify ourselves in order that the soul may reach the ecstasy and composure of contemplation or the knowledge of God. The Scriptures are the supreme guide and the soul by contemplation reaches a spiritual state which the intellect and argumentation could ever bring it to.

Rupert of Deutz.—Among the mystics of the twelfth century no mean place belongs to Rupert of Deutz.14651465    A fall edition of his works is given by Migne, vols. 167-170. See Bach and Schwane. Also Rocholl, Rupert von Deutz. Beitrag zur Gesch. der Kirche im 12ten Jahrh., Gütersloh, 1886.ne convent of Deutz near Cologne about 1120 and died 1136. He came into conflict with Anselm of Laon and William of Champeaux through a report which represented them as teaching that God had decreed evil, and that, in sinning, Adam had followed God’s will. Rupert answered the errors in two works on the Will of God and the Omnipotence of God. He even went to France to contend with these two renowned teachers.14661466    Rupert gives an account of his journey to France to meet William and Anselm in disputation in his De regula Benedicti, I. 1; Migne, 170. 482 sq.

Rupert’s chief merit is in the department of exegesis. He was the most voluminous biblical commentator of his time. He magnified the Scriptures. In one consecutive volume he commented on the books of the Old Testament from Genesis to Chronicles, on the four Major Prophets, and the four evangelists.14671467    The name of the work is De operibus sanctae trinitatis Migne, 167. 199-1827. The first two parts represent the work of the Father and the Son and the third the work of the Holy Spirit, pp. 1571-1827. especially the Canticles and Matthew. In these works he follows the text conscientiously and laboriously, verse by verse. The Canticles Rupert regarded as a song in honor of the Virgin Mary, but he set himself against the doctrine that she was conceived without sin. The commentary opens with an interpretation of Cant. 1:2, thus: " ’Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth.’ What is this exclamation so great, so sudden? Of blessed Mary, the inundation of joy, the force of love, the torrent of pleasure have filled thee full and wholly intoxicated thee and thou hast felt what eye has not seen nor ear heard nor has entered into the heart of man, and thou hast said, ’Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth’ for thou didst say to the angel ’Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be unto me according to thy word.’ What was that word? What did he say to thee? ’Thou hast found grace,’ he said, ’with the Lord. Behold thou shalt conceive and bare a son.’... Was not this the word of the angel, the word and promise of the kiss of the Lord’s mouth ready to be given?" etc.14681468    Migne, 168. 841.

Rupert also has a place in the history of the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, and it is an open question whether or not he substituted the doctrine of impanation for the doctrine of transubstantiation.14691469    De operibus S. trinitatis, II. 10. Bellarmin pronounced Rupert a heretic because of his views on the Lord’s Supper. Schwane, Dogmengesch., p. 641, denies the charge.




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