Saturday, August 7, 2010

Labourdette on "the KNOWLEDGE at the heart of the religious attitude"

Some of the characteristics of religious (as distinguished from, say, scientific or philosophical) knowledge do become problematic when understood in terms of the tradition and categories of "a certain philosophy of religion without a doubt in itself surpassed but still widely 'popular' [(vulgarisée et diffuse)], a philosophy of religion associated with the ideas of Schleiermacher. This 'philosophy' is characterized by the tendency to dissociate, in the religious fact, affective attitude from intellectual formulation, to see in faith much more an obscure kind of affective experience than the adhesion to ideas. As a consequence one quite commonly imagines that the essence of religion, what sets it apart [(ce qui fait son prix)], is that perception of the divine beyond all creeds and all orthodoxies. These creeds, are they anything more [(autre)] than an intellectual residue—[an] objectification more or less naïve [and] wholly dependent on the [original] religious and cultural milieu—of an experience that cannot be formulated in terms of absolute truth? [A] mentality still too common, despite the fact that the more attentive study of the so-called 'primitive' myths and religions throws the knowledge at the heart of the religious attitude into higher and higher relief."

M.-M. Labourdette, O.P., "La vie théologale selon saint Thomas," Revue thomiste 58 (1958): 599 (597-622).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pseudo-Augustine (Jean de Fécamp) on "the treachery of our unfaithful hearts"

"we are exceedingly frail, and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking: Strengthen our weakness, we beseech thee, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts;" etc.

A condensation and rearrangement (a pastiche) of the 1701 George Stanhope "translation" of chap. 24 of the so-called Meditations of Saint Augustine (Meditationes S(ancti). Augustini) entitled Pious breathings: being the Meditations of S(ain)t. Augustine, his treatise of the love of God, soliloquies, and manual, to which are added, select contemplations from St. Anselm and St. Bernard (London:  1701).  For a digitized copy of an 1818 London reprint, go here, and for chap. 24, here.  What follows is a line-by-line comparison:

The attribution to St. Augustine was, however, a mistake.  The bulk of the Liber meditationum (S(ancti). Augustini) (=PL 40, cols. 901-942) was the work of Jean de Fécamp (c. 990-1078), Abbot there from 1028, and "perhaps the most widely read of early medieval spiritual writers," according to Bernard McGinn (The growth of mysticism:  Gregory the Great through the 12th century, The presence of God: a history of Western Christian mysticism 2 (New York:  Crossroad, 1994):  475n30).  McGinn states that the Meditationes consist of "parts" of Jean de Fécamp's Libellus de scriptoris et verbis patrum (475n28), and Rachel Fulton, on p. 149 of her From judgment to passion: devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800-1200 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002)), includes chap. 24 in her specification of which ("chaps. 12-25, 27-33, and 35-37"), while acknowledging a residue of uncertainty ("even today there are doubts as to which of the many works now attributed to him are actually his") that does not, apparently (?), extend to the authorship of the chain Confessio theologica > Libellus de scriptoris et verbis patrum > Liber supputationum > Liber meditationum (149 and 512n23, citing Vincent Serralda, "Étude comparée de la 'Confessio Fidei' attribuée à Alcuin et de la 'Confessio Theologica' de Jean de Fécamp," Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 23 (1988):  17-27, which "called into question Wilmart's attribution of the Confessio fidei . . . to John", but not, apparently (?), the attribution to John of the Confessio theologica that lies behind the Libellus and therefore ultimately the Meditationes).

According to Fulton, it was Jean Mabillon who, on pp. 127-128 of his Vetera analecta of 1675, "restor[ed] the [Libellus (and therefore the Liber meditationum)] to John" (149 and 512n25).

"The 1701 George Stanhope 'translation,'" I say, because, whatever it's based on, it doesn't correspond very closely at all to chap. 24 in the Latin of PL 40 (which is addressed to the saints for starters, not God the Father).  For an English translation of that, see the rendition by Matthew J. O'Connell, below (Meditations of Saint Augustine).

A scattershot supplemental bibliography
(there being so much more on this out there)

La confession théologique. Ed. and trans. Philippe de Vial, O.S.B. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1992.

Feiss, Hugh.  "John of Fécamp's longing for heaven."  In Emerson, Jan Swango, and Hugh Feiss, eds., Imagining heaven in the middle ages: a book of essays, Garland medieval casebooks 27, pp. 65-81.  New York, NY:  Garland Publishing, Inc., 2000.  "Later, [John] rewrote [the Confessio theologica] several times.  By about the beginning of the thirteenth century the rewritten version was called the Liber supputationum.  This Liber added to the three parts into which John's versions of the Confessio theologica were divided three additional parts formed from prayers which he had added to later versions of the Confessio theologica.  The Liber supputationum appeared in several vernacular versions.  Then, probably in the fifteenth century, the Liber supputationum was reworked to form part of the Liber meditationum S. Augustini.  This book of pseudo-Augustinian meditations was frequently printed in Latin and in translation" (76).

Leclercq, Jean.  Love of learning and the desire for God.  Trans. Catharine Misrahi.  New York, NY:  Fordham University Press, 1961).  See p. 76.

Leclercq, Jean, and Bonnes, Jean Paul, eds.  Un maître de la vie spirituelle au XIe siècle: Jean de Fécamp.  Études de théologie et d'histoire de la spiritualité 9.  Paris:  J. Vrin, 1946.  Some quick notes, not yet integrated above:  "possible or probable succession of the definite [(définis)] works of Jean de Fécamp":  1) "the Confessio theologica in three parts [(pre-1018)], which gives already the essentials of the so-called Meditations of Saint Augustine" (PL 40, cols. 909-936, chaps. 12-37); 2) The Libellus de scripturis et uerbis patrum, with its four-part complement of Preces" (towards 1030-1050); 3) "the Confessio fidei in four parts, published under the name of Alcuin" (towards 1050); and 4) "the second booklet of the manuscript of Metz on contemplation" (manuscript 245 of the municipal library of Metz, but the local Abbey of St. Arnulf originally), to which "it is impossible to assign a date", and leafs 11-35 of which correspond to the Meditations of Pseudo-Augustine and its four-part suite of prayers; and 5 "the Meditationes ad Patrem" (towards the end of John's career) (pp. 31-32, with notes).  Manuale Sancti Augustini = PL 40, cols. 951-968 (p. 34n2).  For some coments on the evolution of the work through these various instantiations, see p. 37.  Confessio theologica III/24 (prayer to the angels, to the saints, and to the Virgin, reproduced on pp. 167-169) ≅ Libellus II/24 (invocation of the saints) (see pp. 39 and 40); and Confessio theologica III/24 (reproduced on pp. 167-169) looks to me like Meditationes 24 (i.e. PL 40, cols. 918-919 (Sanctorum invocatio)), though I have translated neither.  And finally:  "John of Fécamp's little books of prayers passed to posterity under their original form in numerous copies of the Confessio theologica edited, finally, in the 16th century under the name of Cassian or under that of St. Augustine; of the Libellus (the [chapter] titles of which are reproduced in PL 147, cols. 457-560); and of the Confessio fidei.  The first part of this latter work was transmitted equally under the title of the Speculum Sancti Augustini, ed. PL 40, 967-984.  All of the texts which constitute the Libellus figured in the Meditationes Sancti Augustini in the midst of fragments foreign to John de Fécamp.  The success of this collection was considerable, and the editions of it, as well as the translations of it into different languages, are innumerable right on into the present day.  Finally, the compiler of the Manuale Sancti Augustini, PL 40, cols. 951-968, increased [(multiplié)] the borrowings from the mystical works of Jeannelin.  If one adds the elements [(ceux de ces morceaux)] . . . inserted into the two collections attributed to [(couverts du nom de)] St. Anselm, one is in a position to take the measure of the extraordinary diffusion of the work of Jean de Fécamp" (p. 44n1).
Meditations of Saint Augustine.  Ed. Matthew J. O'Connell and trans. John E. Rotelle.  Villanova, PA: Augustinian Press, 1995.

Les méditations selon S. Augustin. Trans. Jean-Clair Giraud. Collection Les Pères dans la foi 43. Paris : Brépols, 1991.

Meditations of Saint Augustine, with an introduction by  by Jean-Clair Girard.  Ed. John E. Rotelle, trans. Matthew J. O'Connell.  Villanova, PA:  Augustinian Press, 1995.

Wilmart, André.  Auteurs spirituels et textes devots du Moyen Âge latin.  Paris:  Bloud et Gay, 1932.