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Reading Saint Bernard: The Man, The Medium, The Message

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Chapter Summary

The Benedictine and Cistercian became personal friends and allies in pressing for monastic renewal and reform. William seems thereafter to have frequented Clairvaux. William grew more and more convinced that Bernard and his monks were experiencing God in a way beyond anything he himself had attained by reading, reason, or observation. The once-pervasive image of William as Bernard's uncritical admirer has been revised as William studies have multiplied. Whether William's admiration for the austerity of Cistercian life and for the holiness of Bernard caused him, as abbot, to become an advocate of monastic reform among the black monks of the province of Reims, or whether he drew Bernard into a fray of his own devising is, like so much else, open to debate.

Keywords:Bernard; Cistercian; Saint Thierry; William



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