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Imagination in the First Two Kinds of Contemplation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines Richard's views on the imagination and its operation in the first two books of Benjamin Major. It examines his theory by exploring the first kind of contemplation, which begins his sixfold model of contemplation and also deals with the second kind of contemplation. The chapter explores Richard's ideas concerning the initial stages of contemplative life, that is, the lower levels of the spiritual ascent. In this analysis, his interest in the role of the imagination and its significance for contemplation becomes evident. Moreover, the chapter also assesses Hugh of St. Victor's impact on Richard's Benjamin Major and shows how Richard developed many of Hugh's ideas in an original way. The themes of the Benjamin Major derive mostly from Hugh's works such as Didascalicon, De archa Noe, De unione corporis et spiritus, and De tribus diebus, which had a special impact on Richard's vocabulary and basic orientation.

Keywords: Benjamin Major; Hugh of St. Victor; Richard of St. Victor; sixfold contemplation

10.1163/9789004279452_006
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