Sunday, October 06, 2013

Ludolph of Saxony (1)

Ludolph of Saxony teaching
From The Prologue of Ludolph of Saxony (Ludolphus Saxo) the Carthusian, Vita Jesu Christi: ex Evangelio et approbatis ab ecclesia  catholica doctoribus sedule collecta
c, 1470
Paris - Bibl. Mazarine - ms. 0321, folio 1
Collège de Navarre, Paris

The book by the Carthusian Ludolph of Saxony (Ludolphus Saxo) was a best seller when it was written in about 1330

It is supposed to be the first comprehensive chronological life of Christ ever written

It is a meditation on the life of Jesus in the form of a detailed commentary on the gospels.

The book consists of 182 chapters in 777 pages of fine print

It was translated from Latin into seven non-English European languages in 88 printed editions

It was one of the most widely read devotional works of the 15th century

Its influence extended for a very long time and even into the 17th century

All we know of Ludolph was that he was born sometime about 1295 and 1300 and died in 1377

In his youth he joined the Dominican order. When he was about forty he joined the Carthusian order because he wanted a stricter life of silence and solitude

As a former preacher turned solitary, he intended that his work should be read not only by hermits, monks, and nuns, but also by friars, secular clergy, rulers, and ordinary lay people

Here is a recent version of the Latin text from a volume published in 1870 by Palme (although the manuscript on which it was founded may contain errors)

The meditations of the Hours of the Passion were translated by the Jesuit priest and convert , Father Henry James Coleridge in 1887. The prayers have been translated twice: first, by H Kyneston in 1908, and second, by Sister Mary Immaculate Bodenstedt in 1973

The influence of Ludolph`s book on two Doctors of the Church,  St Francis de Sales and St Teresa of Avila was profound. The article in The Catholic Encyclopedia by Ambrose Mougel in 1910 said that St. Teresa and St. Francis de Sales frequently quote from it

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