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The Role of Imagination as the Soul Prepares for Contemplation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concentrates on Richard of St. Victor's ideas on imagination (imaginatio) in Benjamin Minor, in which he analyses the relation between imagination and reason, and points out at least three different forms of the activity of the imagination. In this connection, Richard considers the soul's ability to imagine future events with the co-operation of imagination and reason. He also describes how the imagination can serve as a useful instrument for interpreting the Bible. The chapter illustrates how Richard aims to adapt the co-operation between reason and imagination to the spiritual life. Richard wrote Benjamin Minor for a particular audience, the members of the school and monastery of St. Victor. In many twelfth-century texts, imagination is seen as the necessary connection and the mediator between sensitive and intellectual abilities. Richard follows this basic principle in his own explanation.

Keywords: Benjamin Minor; Bible; human imagination; Richard St. Victor



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