Maria L. Ruby Wagner holds a Master of Arts in Medieval History from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The Impact of the Second Crusade on the Angelology and Eschatology of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux†
Article first published online: 1 JUL 2013
© 2013 The Author. Journal of Religious History © 2013 Religious History Association
Journal of Religious History
Volume 37, Issue 3, pages 322–340, September 2013
How to Cite
Wagner, M. L. R. (2013), The Impact of the Second Crusade on the Angelology and Eschatology of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Journal of Religious History, 37: 322–340. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9809.2013.01223.x
For his assistance in translating the source documents and in reading drafts of this article (without incurring any responsibility for its content), as well as his continuous encouragement, the author sincerely thanks Fr John M. McManamon, SJ of Loyola University Chicago.
- Issue published online: 3 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 1 JUL 2013
Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, made a significant impact on twelfth-century Europe and the church. As a result of the proliferation of Cistercian monasteries under his guidance, his numerous theological writings, and the miracles he performed, Bernard was canonised soon after his death. Conversely, there was no lack of criticism levied for his involvement in matters that some considered inappropriate. When Pope Eugenius III called the Second Crusade and requested that Bernard preach it, the infirm abbot could have justifiably declined but instead embarked upon the arduous task. However, he did so in the belief that this task, if successful, might propel humankind into the next age of time. After the crusade failed and as he neared death himself, Bernard's writings reflect a change from his previous assertions surrounding eschatology and the role of angels in the lives of the faithful. These alterations in Bernard's theology may also have encompassed a reaffirmation of his commitment to the contemplative life. It took the disaster of the Second Crusade to return him to his core convictions and ignore the arrogant speculations of those who claimed that they knew what Christ said they never would: the day or the hour.