Oculus simplex: discernement spirituel et progrès éthique chez saint Bernard

Abstract : In the 12th-century ethical debates on the nature of an erring conscience, Bernard expressed his position in a masterly exegesis of Matthew 6, 22-23 in his Precept and Dispensation, §35-41. For the eye to be simple (simplex), it is not enough that the intention be good, the error must be removed from it. This very balanced reflection has not always been read in and for itself, but as an unfortunate response to the Abelardian emphasis on the central importance intention in moral judgement. Bernard has been accused of expressing “in objective terms (faith as the revelation of divine law through the conscience) a highly subjective problem (good faith).” But if, for Bernard, error is incompatible with a “simple eye”, it is because there is an eschatological idea here which informs his monastic morality of responsibility in obedience. The mystical conscience cannot be divorced from the moral conscience. Faced with the immutable demands of the law of charity, it is the reaffirmation of the capacity of fallible human beings to retain that intimate connection with the Word that makes ethical progress possible.
Mots-clés : Bernard de Clairvaux
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Journal articles
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Laurence Mellerin. Oculus simplex: discernement spirituel et progrès éthique chez saint Bernard. Cîteaux Commentarii cistercienses, ISSN : 0774-4919, 2012, Actes du colloque « Bernard de Clairvaux et la pensée des cisterciens », Troyes, 28-30 octobre 2010, éd. Ch. Trottmann, t. 63, fasc. 1-4, pp.147-164. ⟨halshs-01543399⟩

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