School of Theology and Seminary Graduate Papers/Theses

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Date of Award


Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology


School of Theology and Seminary

First Advisor

Helen Rolfson OSF

Subject Categories

Christianity | Religion


This essay attempted to look at how Hugh of St. Victor, a twelfth - century Canon Regular, attempted to prepare his students for prayer through his treatise the Didascalicon. The essay points out that the twelfth century was a period of intellectual and social ferment and change. The essay states that Hugh's treatise reflects its own time period by its broad appeal and comprehensive content. The text was designed to appeal no only to persons dedicated to prayer, but also to a wider audience of educated readers who were seeking to put into practice a spirituality of contemplative prayer and activity in the world. According to the Didascalicon, an art is any activity that contributes positively to the human condition. Following this assertion, any art can become a pathway to a deeper prayer life and heightened awareness of God's presence. This essay points out that this manual follows some of the steps outlined by Evelyn Underhill in her book Mysticism. The essay also points out the influence of Augustinian spirituality on Hugh's treatise. The essay traces out various steps of Hugh's thought according to his contemporary text and concludes that the Didascalicon is a manual to help individuals prepare themselves to receive the grace of mystical prayer - the goal of Wisdom.


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