The version of the Rule of St. Augustine used at the Abbey of St. Victor began with the command to love God above all things and one's neighbor as oneself. Not surprisingly, then, love was a pervasive theme in the writings produced there, many of which are introduced and translated here : (1) five lyrical essays by Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1141): The Praise of Charity; The Betrothal Gift of the Soul; In Praise of the Spouse; On the Substance of Love; What Truly Should Be Loved ?; (2) On the Four Degrees of Violent Love, by Richard of St. Victor (d. 1173), which traces the likenesses and differences between romantic love and the love of God; (3) Achard of St. Victor (d. 1170), Sermon 5 and two of Adam of St. Victor's sequences are examples of how these authors wove love into their writings ; (4) excerpts from the Microcosmus by Godfrey of St. Victor (d. ca. 1195), summarize the central place of love in his humanistic theological anthropology.
The enormous productivity of the twelfth century canons of Paris's Abbey of Saint Victor had a tremendous influence on the great scholastic masters of the thirteenth century like Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure. Their contemplative spirituality, transmitted via the Low Countries, would also shape the Devotio Moderna and beyond. How fortunate, then, that New City Press will provide an English language series of translations of Victorine biblical exegesis, speculative theology, liturgical works, and mystical texts. Like the householder of the Gospel, the Victorines brought forth old things and new. We are the beneficiaries of those present day scholars who make these nova et vetera available to a wide audience in fresh reliable translation. (Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology, The University of Notre Dame)