Scripture Memory and Medieval Saints

In preparation for a series of messages at The Donelson Fellowship from Matthew 5 – 7, I’ve been reading a book entitled The Sermon on the Mount Through the Centuries: From the Early Church to John Paul II. On page 79, I found this great quote about the way medieval Christians such as Hugh of St. Victor viewed the practice of Scripture Memory:

For the medievals, and for Hugh  of St. Victor in particular, memory was a central moral faculty and intellectual act. Much  more than simply a means of information storage and retrieval,  memory in the medieval context was, in a word, soul-forming.  Like a seal on wax, the soul was deeply shaped by what it stored  in memory. For the medievals, furthermore, what was stored in  memory was not simply tucked away. Rather, it thereby was to  be always readily retrievable, so as to be an object of thoughtful  reflection and analysis, that is, to be an object of meditation. The  act of meditation facilitated this formation of the soul. Yet again,  meditation was not an end in itself, but issued forth in virtuous  action.

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