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Early medieval theologians and philosophers approached emotions mainly from the Neoplatonic and Stoic perspectives. Generally speaking, the attitude to emotions was negative in both of these traditions, considering them to be disturbances of the soul which should be fought against. Emotions often had an important role in mystical theology. This is especially true of the French mystic, Bernard of Clairvaux, who united spiritual contemplation with a personal experience of love. In the first decades of the thirteenth century, a new influential taxonomical principle concerning emotions was put forward by several Aristotelian writers, including among others the French Franciscan theologian John of la Rochelle. John of la Rochelle associated the new taxonomical principle with a detailed classification of the emotions which became very influential. He simplified Avicenna’s theory in treating all emotions as acts of the motive powers which are accompanied by bodily changes; none of them were treated as cognitions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Medieval Philosophy
EditorsRichard Cross, J.T. Paasch
Number of pages7
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Publication date12 Jan 2021
ISBN (Print)9780415658270
ISBN (Electronic)9781315709604
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

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Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology

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