Volume 20, 2022

χώρα: matière à penser

Maria Borriello
Pages 319-346

Visione e conoscenza : lineamenti di una psicologia mistico‑ascensionale nei Sermones di Garnerio di Rochefort (1140 ca.‑1225 ca.)

In the work of the Cistercian Garnerio de Rochefort, active in the second half of the 12th century, we find the formulation of a psychological doctrine based on the interweaving of the Augustinian model of videre and the Neoplatonic principle of a scalar order of the faculties of the soul. The idea of a visual‑cognitive ascent of the soul is used in the direction of an overtly mystical approach, typical of monastic spiritual theology. For Garnerio, the process of man’s inner refinement towards ecstatic‑cognitive assimilation to the divine coincides with a movement of psycho‑gnoseological progression from sense to intelligence, from the external sight of the sensible world to the spiritual one. The culmination is a direct intuition of the gaze with which God sees and understands all things, reachable only by intelligence. Of course, this vision will only be fully realised in the state of future bliss. However, during their earthly life, some men have been made capable, by divine gift, of approaching this summit of knowledge in an episodic and always imperfect way. For Garnerio, man’s turning to God is therefore conceivable only through the joint concurrence of grace and a perfective movement of the soul requiring an entry into himself in order to go supra se, to a place where he will be with God and in God.