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Conceptualising Past, Affirming Observance: The “Textual Images” in the Exordium Cistercii

Marko Jerković

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 306 Kb

str. 1-27

preuzimanja: 388



The article deals with the Cistercian narrative entitled Exordium Cistercii, probably composed in the early 1130s. It is well-known that this short narrative provides us with the basic information on the early history of the Cistercian order, and the initial impulses which motivated the group of monks from Molesme Abbey to leave their community and establish a new one, where they could live fully by the Rule of St Benedict. However, the Exordium Cistercii is not just a short and simplified narrative account of the origins of Cîteaux Abbey. Rather, the text
carefully selects episodes from the Cistercian past and uses them to historically support and validate the nascent observance. The narrative, thus, conceptualised the image of how the earliest ideals had been conceived and explained the initial impulses standing behind the monastic version that heavily relied on the eremitic standards. The present paper treats these images as ‘textual images’ since they represent narrative reflections on the origins of the Order created by later generations of the Cistercians, rather than historical accounts in the strict sense of the word.
The paper analyses how the Cistercians conceptualised their past and which textual images they used to create a functional and spiritual background for their observance. Within this context, special emphasis is placed on the question of which elements of the Cistercian observance were textually pointed out and affirmed as crucial in the formation of a distinct monastic identity.

Ključne riječi

Exordium Cistercii; Cistercian observance; textual images; validity of observance; poverty and asceticism; solitude and desert; stability; love

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