In the context of the early twelfth-century urbanization of Paris, Hugh of St Victor developed a pioneering program of intellectual and moral practices focused on reforming the soul. Boyd Taylor Coolman identifies the signature theme of spiritual re-formation as the unifying motif to Hugh's theology and analyzes the symbolic and aesthetic dimensions of re-formation conceived as 'soul-construction', in the manner of Gothic cathedrals being built at the time. This study places Hugh of St Victor within the context of the profound economic, political and cultural changes characteristic of the twelfth century. Drawing on the majority of Hugh's writings, it reveals links between various aspects of his theology - exegesis and spirituality; theology and cultivation of virtue - and highlights the practical nature of his reforming program, aimed both at restoring the beauty of the soul and re-forming the human person into a dwelling place for the presence of God.
Introduction: a theology of re-formation; Part I. 'Works of Foundation': Formation in Wisdom: 1. Creation as formation; 2. Rational creation: formed by wisdom for beauty; 3. Fall as de-formation; Part II. 'Works of Restoration': Re-Formation in Wisdom: 4. Christ; 5. Church and sacraments; 6. Scripture; Part III. Practices of Re-Formation: 7. Memorial practices; 8. Meditative practices; 9. Moral practices; Conclusion; Bibliography of editions of Hugh's works; Bibliography of secondary studies; Index.