In this graceful, deeply learned book Steven Chase takes readers on a contemplative and theological journey into the angelic wisdom at the heart of the symbol of the cherubim. Providing the guiding hand for this journey is Richard of St. Victor whose twelfth century treatise on contemplation, De arca mystica, focuses on God’s instructions to Moses on the construction of the ark and cherubim in Exodus 25: 18-20. The text from Exodus contains the promise of God to Moses, and finally to us, that atop the ark, between the two cherubim, God will meet with and speak to his people.
“Steven Chase has opened up in a new way the spiritual treasures of the twelfth century Abbey of St. Victor. Angelic Wisdom focuses on the climax of The Mystical Ark, the major text of Richard of St. Victor, who is one of the greatest—but often neglected—authorities on contemplation in the history of Christian spirituality. Chase bases his study on the bedrock of extensive historical research, but like Richard’s own, his interpretation soars. With Richard he leads the reader into the symbolic meaning of the cherubim who hover over the ark and opens the way to a retrieval of medieval angelic spirituality, which he aptly calls ‘angelization.’” — Ewert Cousins, Fordham University
“This book … sheds considerable light on contemporary questions about spirituality, particularly about the varieties of spirituality and the significance of different levels of consciousness in the spiritual life . . . A study of this high quality is an outstanding offering to studies on the history of Western, Christian contemplative and mystical traditions. [A] most valuable resource …” — Christian Spirituality Bulletin
“This is a helpful book: daring in its methodology, insightful in its close analysis of a neglected aspect of Richard of St. victor’s thought, helpful in its marshaling of the evidence for the influence of Pseudo-Dionysius on Hugh and Richard of St. Victor. Certainly anyone interested in Victorine thought or the historical development of the theology of contemplation will want to read it carefully.” — Speculum
“Steven Chase’s book is both a compact and detailed history of doctrine regarding Richard’s treatise on the ark and the cherubim . . . and a personal and impassioned plea for angelic contemplation today.” — Theology Today