Volume 85, Issue 1, Winter 2011
The Feminine and Masculine as Principles of Ascent in the Itinerarium mentis in Deum
Bonaventure in his Itinerarium mentis in Deum traces the mystical journey of the spiritual wayfarer from the state of man posterior to the Fall of Adam and Eve
to union with the Trinity as a partaker of the inter-Trinitarian love life. This journey takes the form of an ascent characterized by a Procline and Augustinian influenced ontology. I argue that the first two levels of the three-tiered ascent are understood ontologically as feminine and masculine principles, or evaluative metaphors, and mirror the coinciding of the opposites of Good and Being in Bonaventure’s Trinitarian theology. Furthermore, the process of the ascent is operative by means of yearning, or desire, acting as a unitive force in the ascent. The ascent of the Itinerarium is best realized in the person of Francis of Assisi upon whose very corpus is the ascent impressed according to the signs of the crucified Christ, the stigmata.