University of Amsterdam
cosponsored by The Medieval Studies Workshop
and The Theology Workshop
The 12th century monastic reformer Bernard of Clairvaux recruited hundreds of young men to the cloister or claustrum (enclosure) of Cistercian monastic life. The rhythm of life in the monastic enclosure not only rules the structured existence of the monks but also alters their experience of time from linear to circular while maintaining the goal of the world to come. Bernard’s eloquent insistence on this way of life represents the end of an era and, to an extent, the end of the Middle Ages.
Burcht Pranger is Professor Emeritus in the History of Christianity at the University of Amsterdam and, at present, the Thomas F. Martin St Augustine Fellow at Villanova University. He has published widely on medieval monasticism, mainly on Anselm of Canterbury and Bernard of Clairvaux. In his Artificiality of Christianity: Essays on the Poetics of Monasticism (Stanford, 2003) he discusses the work of Anselm at length. In 1994 he published a book on Bernard: Bernard of Clairvaux and the Shape of Monastic Thought: Broken Dreams.