Re-humanizing Quest for Knowledge in Spite of Dehumanizing Ignorance: Hope and Wisdom in Fight for a Better World

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We are in need of finding tools to strengthen global and interdisciplinary dialogue in the midst of the huge challenges of today whether the subject is climate change or religious, social and political issues. Two of the tools needed are wisdom and hope. They enable us to take action with responsibility and care. Instructing his monks in the 12th century the theologian and abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) gave his contribution to the needs not only of his own time but as well of those of today. Speaking in the tongue of his time Bernard says that hope and wisdom emerge from knowledge of God and knowledge of self. Instead of reflecting on these fundamental dynamics humans arrogantly dehumanize themselves by living in double ignorance of God and self; this brings us despair and destruction; allowing ourselves both we degrade ourselves beyond bestiality. Beasts at least are innocent. Humans are not. So how does a human being become humane again? How re-humanize ourselves? Humility is the key. Come and follow the practical instructions of the old abbot and engage yourself in a reflection and a dialogue that may open a cheerful door to joy of wisdom and light of hope.


Keywords: Bernard of Clairvaux, Wisdom, Hope, Knowledge, Ignorance, Re-humanize, Humility
Stream: Knowledge
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Re-humanizing Quest for Knowledge in Spite of Dehumanizing Ignorance


Rose Marie Tillisch

PhD Student and Teahing Fellow, Department of Church History
Faculty of Theology, The University of Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

I am MA in Theology, pastor in the Danish Lutheran Church. My diocese, Lolland-Falster Stift, has enabled me to write a PhD dissertation at the University of Copenhagen, where I belong to Department of Church History at the Faculty of Theology. In my dissertation I compare sermons of 12th century theologian Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) with 20th century theologian P.G. Lindhardt (1910-1988)concerning their motive of how humans may relate to God as Love. Knowing and loving are closely related. What kind of knowledge enables humans to act lovingly? Another key-person of interest is the theologian and abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) about whom I am the author of three books. Yet another is the scientist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) who substantiated her pioneering studies of the metamorphoses of the butterfly from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly: When God has created the world with all its wonders and she had the ability to study and describe them, she just had to do it. I have developed a didactic programme for elementary school with her plates and studies.

Ref: H08P0172