'AFFECTUS' IN ST. BONAVENTURE'S DESCRIPTION OF THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL TO GOD

ELIZABETH ANN DREYER, Marquette University

Abstract

The topic of this study is affectus in Bonaventure's description of the soul's journey into God. Bonaventure (ca. 1217-1274), professor at the University of Paris and later General of the Franciscan Order, was a staunch defender of the Neoplatonic/Augustinian tradition, and also a participant in the more scientific, scholastic world which was discovering anew the works of Aristotle. Some questions addressed in this dissertation include: How does Bonaventure view affectus in the psychology of the human person and in the spiritual life? What role does it play? How does it relate to other components? How does Bonaventure express this aspect of the spiritual life? The aim in this research is to provide historical and textual data in order to come to a precise and complete understanding of the role of affectus in Bonaventure's description of the soul's journey into God. The nature of this study suggested the use of various methods. Background material includes a review of the pertinent literature, a survey of the historical context, and a summary of Bonaventure's theological system as it relates to mysticism (Ch. 1). Following is an examination of Bonaventure's understanding of human psychology (Ch. 2). Then a word study in which thirty terms related to affectus are traced through four documents--the Itinerarium mentis in Deum, the De Triplici Via and two himilies (Ch. 3). Fourth is an evaluation of the sources on which Bonaventure relied for his understanding and articulation of the affective dimension of the spiritual life (Ch. 4). Lastly, there is an explication de texte of the Itinerarium, Bonaventure's masterpiece of the spiritual life. Affective vocabulary is used by Bonaventure in his descriptions of all stages of the spiritual journey, but it becomes predominant at the higher stages where the intellect is subsumed into the affective, and only the "heart" remains in the final ecstatic experience of union with God. In spite of the predominance of affect, Bonaventure presents an artistic and powerful articulation of the harmony between the intellect and the affections. This study provides evidence which cautions against seeing the thirteenth century only in terms of the intellectual efforts of the schools. Bonaventure's emphasis on experience and his vision of theology as basically a practical, not a speculative science, contribute to his preoccupation with affectivity. The goal of theology and therefore of the Christian life was, for Bonaventure, to transform oneself into a resemblance of the Beloved through love.

Recommended Citation

ELIZABETH ANN DREYER, "'AFFECTUS' IN ST. BONAVENTURE'S DESCRIPTION OF THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL TO GOD" (January 1, 1983). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI8317276.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI8317276

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