Virtus regens animam: William Peraldus on guiding the pleasures of the senses

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Focusing on the treatment of moderation (temperantia) in William Peraldus’sCompendium on the Vices (before 1236) and Compendium on the Virtues (before 1249), this chapter argues that views of the Middle Ages as a period that suppressed all pleasure ignore the variety of ways of thinking about sin, pleasure, and their opposites found in medieval texts. Peraldus’s treatment of sensory moderation neither completely validates the typical hierarchy of the senses, nor does it offer the expected denunciation of sensory pleasure. His goal is not the anxious guarding of the senses, but their guidance, a progressive process of education that emphasises the value of moderation in sensory pleasures. His work demonstrates the malleability of taxonomies of the senses, which were contoured to meet the needs of changing contexts. It also documents the importance of the edification of the senses as part of the conscious work of pastoral theologians during this period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSensing the Sacred in Medieval and Early Modern Culture
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781317057192
ISBN (Print)9781472454669
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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