Vices and Virtues by Denis the Carthusian
Contributions by: Idé M. Ní Riain
Vices and Virtues is a serious study of the flawed human condition. It is original sin 'writ large'. Nothing escapes the all-pervading eye of Denis the Carthusian. It is amazing how a hermit could be so conversant with the wiles of humanity. His examples of the various vices of mankind throughout the centuries make for interesting reading, while the virtues, in contrast, are elevated - probably beyond the capacity of most of us - but nevertheless have an inherent beauty in the~particular language of Denis, which is an acquired taste worth cultivating. Born in 1402 or 1403 in Flemish-speaking part of modern Belgium, Denis became fluent in Latin - the language in which is composed his massive array of books. Much sought after and appreciated in his own life time, his writings became still better known after his death in 1471. Printing was still in its very early stages when his entire works were first published and translated into French. Thus they were accessible to those who took up the cause of the Counter-Reformation. His special partiality for St Thomas Aquinas earned him the name of 'Last of the Scholastics'. His mysticism, on the other hand, won him the title of 'Ecstatic Doctor'.
Publication Date: 4/28/2009