“Fidelity, Faith, and Doubt in the Twelfth Century: Writings of William of St Thierry
in Their Cultural Context”
John Van Engen (University of Notre Dame)
William of St-Thierry (1075/80–1148), a gifted and original monastic intellectual and writer, if often lost in the shadow of his friend Bernard of Clairvaux, wrote two works in the 1140’s on “faith” as such, this more or less a novelty and wrongly tied by scholars to the Abelard controversies. This talk situates those writings in his own life, and more broadly in the contested contemporary culture of schools and monasteries as well as courts.
John Van Engen taught Medieval History at the University of Notre Dame for forty years, and served during fourteen of those years as director of its Medieval Institute. He has written widely on medieval religion, twelfth-century culture and monasticism, medieval women writers, and late medieval movements such as the Devotio Moderna. He is currently completing the reconstruction and translation of the writings of a largely overlooked Netherlandish woman writer named Alijt Bake, to be published as The Writings of Alijt Bake of Utrecht and Ghent (1413–55): Teacher, Prioress, and Spiritual Autobiographer.