Perfection in Christianism Thought and Cultures

In a clear, coherent, thesis-driven essay of 5-7 pages (1” margins, 12 pt. font), please describe the meaning of perfection in Christian thought in the early medieval period. Using primary and, when necessary (Augustine), secondary texts from the course reader, explain how Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Bernard of Clairvaux 1. define “perfection,” 2. trace the human path to its attainment—including obstacles, 3. and the fruits of its pursuit.

You will want to describe the influence of Neo-Platonism (Plotinus) where applicable, as well the role of the Gospel of John and Song of Songs in determining, for each thinker/mystic, the path and goal of perfection within the medieval Christian world.

Look for shades of difference within each thinker, and point to those moments in your essays. You will want to discuss what role the reality of temporal, embodied life plays in the mystical striving for perfection.