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The Reformation of SufferingPastoral Theology and Lay Piety in Late Medieval and Early Modern Germany$
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Ronald K. Rittgers

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199795086

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199795086.001.0001

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The Consolation Tradition in the Latin Church

The Consolation Tradition in the Latin Church

(p.37) 2 The Consolation Tradition in the Latin Church
The Reformation of Suffering

Ronald K. Rittgers

Oxford University Press

This chapter opens by observing that late medieval clergymen had another source available to them as they ministered to sick and suffering Christians: consolation literature. The chapter examines the history of consolation in the Christian West in order to show the ancient origins—both pagan and Christian—of the wisdom contained in late medieval works of consolation. The discussion proceeds chronologically, focusing first on ancient pagan consolation literature, then on ancient Christian sources, and finally on medieval and late medieval works of consolation. Key figures include Cicero, Seneca, Cyprian, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Boethius, Isidore of Seville, Johannes von Dambach, and Jean Gerson. The chapter also demonstrates how the Christian consolation literature consistently offered numerous explanations for suffering, only one of which was divine punishment for sin.

Keywords:   consolation literature, suffering, Cicero, Seneca, Cyprian, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Boethius

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