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220FRANCISCAN STUDIES a historico-scientific injustice — if such there be — by committing a few more. It would appear that the only trustworthy parts of the work of Fr. Groner are the bibliographical data. E. M. Buytaert O. F. M. Franciscan Institute The Ascent of Mount Sion, by Fray Bernardino de Laredo, O. F. M. Translated by E. AUison Peers, New York, 1951 ; 275 pp. The translator of this book is far better known to English-speaking readers than is its author. Few scholars have contributed more to the Uterary history of Spanish mysticism than E. Allison Peers. His two-volume Studies in the Spanish Mystics, first published in 1930, has become a standard reference work in the field, and his facile translations of the works of St.Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross have been widely acclaimed for their admirable blending of fluency of prose with fidelity to the original text. The present translation is the first in a series being published by Harper under the general title Classics of the Contemplative Life. Before his death in December, 1952, Professor Peers acted as general editor of this series and supervised the publication of its first five volumes. While regretting the untimely demise of this dedicated scholar, Franciscans rejoice that his last major work was a translation of Subida del Monte Sion, a too long forgotten classic of the "Edad de Oro", by Fray Bernardino de Laredo, O. F. M. Fray Bernardino, a native of SeviUe, practiced medicine for three years before entering the Order as a lay brother in 1510 at the age of twenty-eight. He spent most of the thirty years of his religious life at the friary of ViUaverde del Rio near Seville, where he served as infirmarian. Besides The Ascent of Mount Sion, for which he is chiefly remembered, he also wrote two medical treatises, one of which went into four editions. The Ascent was completed in 1529 and published anonymously at SeviUe m ?535· The enlarged and completely revised edition which was published three years later has been six times reprinted, most recently in 1948 as part of Volume II of Místicos Franciscanos. However, it was only with the fifth reprinting, which appeared seventy-seven years after Laredo's death, that his name appeared on the title page as author. Professor Peers has employed the original 1538 edition of the revised text as the basis of his translation — the only translation into any language. There is ample reason for assigning to The Ascent of Mount Sion a prominent place in the history of mystical theology. It contains the first written description of that phase of spiritual experience known as the prayer of quiet. It likewise played a very significant role in the development of the interior life of St. Teresa. In the twenty-third chapter of her Vida, that saint tells us that the reading of this book marked a turning point in her spiritual evolution and that it remained ever after one of the books she frequently consulted. From another Franciscan, Fray Francisco de Osuna, the great CarmeUte Reformer learned the secret of recollection; St. Peter of Book Reviews221 Alcantara was her instructor on the subject of visions and raptures; but it was Fray Bernardino who taught her the prayer of quiet. The sub-title of Laredo's work tells us what it contains: "the knowledge of ourselves; the following of Christ; and the reverencing of God in quiet contemplation." This threefold division corresponds roughly to the three forms of prayer proper to the traditional "three ways". The first part aims at the acquisition of self knowledge through discursive meditation ; the second, knowledge of Christ through affective prayer; and the third, "quiet contemplation of pure spirit and God most high". The theme of quiet runs through the entire work but receives its complete development in the third part. The function of the first two parts is to lay the ascetical foundation for the proper understanding and appUcation of the lofty mystical doctrine of the third. Professor Peers has translated for us only this third part of The Ascent in the belief that it contains Laredo's chief contribution to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 220-222
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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