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William of St.-Thierry

Scholastic philosopher. Born of a noble family, at Liège, he studied under Anselm of Laon* and entered the Benedictine Abbey of St. Nicasius of Reims (1113); he was later elected abbot of St.-Thierry, near Reims (1119). In the next three years he wrote De Natura et dignitate amoris and De contemplando Deo. He formed a lasting friendship with Bernard of Clairvaux,* but was refused admission there. In the conflict between Cluniacs and Cistercians (1120s) he urged Bernard to defend Cîteaux, resulting in Bernard’s dedicating his Apologia (1124) and De Gratia et libero arbitrio (1128) to him, with a return favor of De Sacramento altaris (1128). Between 1128 and 1135 he wrote several treatises based on the Fathers: the Canticle of Canticles after Gregory the Great, Ambrose, and Origen; De Natura Animae et corporis; a study of Romans. He took part in the first general chapter of Benedictines of Reims province (1130), but resigned his abbacy in 1135 for a strictly contemplative life, joining the Cistercians at Signy. His writings increased: Meditativae orationes (1130- 45) showing his inmost soul; Speculum fidei and Aenigma fidei; and an attack on Abelard. He also began, but did not complete, a life of Bernard.