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RICHARD OF ST VICTOR (d. 1173)

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 298 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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RICHARD OF ST VICTOR (d. 1173), theologian and mystic of the 12th century. Very little is known of his life; he was born in Scotland or in England, and went to Paris, where he entered the abbey of St Victor and was a pupil of the great mystic, Hugh of St Victor. He succeeded as prior of this house in 1162, and was continually contesting the tyrannical authority of the abbot Ervisius. His- writings, some of which are still in manuscript, are very numerous, the best known being his mystical treatises: De statu hominis interioris, De praeparatione animi ad contemplationem, De gratia contemplationis, De gradibus caritatis, De arca nuptica, and his two works on the Trinity: De trinitate libri sex, De tribus appropriatis personis in Trinitate. As is the case with all the Victorines, his mysticism was a reaction against the philosophy of the schools of his time, a perpetual justification of contemplation as opposed to logical reasoning. According to him, six steps lead the soul to contemplation: (1) contemplation of visible and tangible objects; (2) study of the productions of nature and of art; (3) study of character; (4) study of souls and of spirits; (5) entrance to the mystical region which ends in (6) ecstasy. His theory of the Trinity is chiefly based on the arguments of Anselm of Canter-bury, although a certain deification of the social sense is evident.
End of Article: RICHARD OF ST VICTOR (d. 1173)
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