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Moses and Christian Contemplative Devotion

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Chapter Summary

The practice of lectio divina encouraged contemplatives to meditate on the life of Moses as related in the Bible and to interpret elements of his life both allegorically and typologically as established in exegetical tradition. Moses' experiences of the burning bush (Exodus 3), the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 4-18), and the reception of the Law in a cloud on Sinai (Exodus 19, 20 and 24), among others, all helped contemplative Christians to gain a deeper understanding of their own visionary, prayerful, and ecstatic spiritual experiences. The practice of lectio divina was encouraged by the early Church Fathers: Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, and Gregory as well as Origen and Cassian. The Cloud of Unknowing author's understanding of Moses departs from that of one of his primary influences, Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, from whom he takes the mystical metaphor of his title.

Keywords: Augustine; Bible; Cloud of Unknowing; contemplative Christians; Exodus; Jerome; lectio divina; Moses

10.1163/9789004258549_015
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