Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religion & Culture / Religious Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Peter Erb

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The thesis, a translation of The Book of Mutual Love by the Cistercian Adam of Perseign (abbot 1188-1221), is based on the edition by Gaetano Raciti, but presents a revised form of that edition and includes both notes on the revisions and a commentary on the translation. It is supplemented with a full bibliography of known studies on Adam and an index of Scriptural citations. The introduction puts the treatise into its historical context, with a biography of Adam—the first in English—and a full explication of the structures of the treatise. Adam composed The Book of Mutual Love at the end of the twelfth century for his lifelong friend and confidante, Agnes de Meran (the concubine of King Philip Augustus) and Saint Agnes (the virgin martyr). This trinity of Agneses maps onto the three principal parts of the treatise. It has as much importance for the history of the Fontevrists as for an understanding of Adam and his place in the Cistercians. The setting of The Book of Mutual Love is an enclosed garden. The principal issue addressed is the need for chastity within the sacred marriage to Christ, using the imagery of the Song of Songs. The other relevant Scriptures are the rituals of Exodus 27-33, subjected to lengthy exegesis, and the wisdom of Ecclesiastes. Along the way Adam touches upon many of the problems of the noviciate, for which the Golden Epistle of William of St Thierry is his inspiration and the source of this treatise’s structures and precepts about human nature. The most significant recurring point of theology is a belief in the grace of tears and in the power of the tears of the five fountains of tears in the garden of delights.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season