Locution Locution Locution

M.A. Screech in his book on Erasmus, Ecstasy and the Praise of Folly, provides this intriguing look into the tradition of a playful expression:

The soul of Paul, says Erasmus, in gloss on II Corinthians 5:13, like the anima of all lovers, ‘is not where it animates but where it loves’ (anima non est ubi animat, sed ubi amat). This famous phrase which does not occur in the Moira but is implied there, links the ecstatic love explained in the Annotations and praised by Folly, with a millenium and a half of Christian mysticism.

The Latin is special. And to continue reading Screech is in part to learn why.

The standard expression is Verius est anima ubi amat quam ubi animat — the soul, that is, more truly belongs where it loves than where it simply animates. The expression was coined by St Bonaventura (Solioquium II. 2, no. 12, in Opera VIII, Quaracchi 1898, 49, col. 1). Bonaventura took the notion over from St Bernard, where it is less memorable since it is applied to the spiritus, not the anima (ibid. note 5); so in St Bernard there is no play on the words anima and animat. As Bonaventura coined it, it is one of those powerful expressions which was so widely used that its source was sometimes lost to view; Aquinas even attributed it to St Augustine. In the history of mysticism the idea which it embodies constitutes a bridge by which Platonic rapture passed through Pseudo-Dionysius to Bernard, Bonaventura and mediaeval mysticism generally, then on to high Renaissance ecstatics like John of the Cross, as well as to a scholarly saint like François de Sales.

And so for day 540

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