Thomas of Hales

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Thomas of Hales, also known as Thomas de Hales, was a thirteenth-century English Franciscan friar and ecclesiastical writer of intellectually progressive prose and poetry in three languages: Latin, French, and English. Thomas of Hales was one of very few Franciscan lyricists of the mid to late thirteenth century. [1] His "career is an important witness of the literary culture of ... mid-thirteenth-century England. Few other writers show his command of the three major languages in use in medieval England, and his works put him at the forefront of the movement towards affective piety, vernacular literacy, and textual scholarship based on university methods. [2] His English poem Love Rune is frequently anthologized. He is believed to come from Hales, Gloucestershire. A few works of his survive. One, in Latin, is a life of the Virgin Mary called De vita seu genealogia Beatae Virginis Mariae, which survives in a thirteenth-century copy once in the library of the abbey of St Victor (now University of Basel Library, MS B.VIII. 1., fols. 47vb–57vb). It draws from the Gospels, Apocrypha, patristic texts, and the visions of Elizabeth of Schönau. This was his most popular work, and while it is not theologically adventurous its spirit and organization reflect ideas and methods then popular in university settings. Its approach to Mary's life falls in line with trends in affective piety. [2]

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Affective piety

Affective piety is most commonly described as a style of highly emotional devotion to the humanity of Jesus, particularly in his infancy and his death, and to the joys and sorrows of the Virgin Mary. It was a major influence on many varieties of devotional literature in late-medieval Europe, both in Latin and in the vernaculars. This practice of prayer, reading, and meditation was often cultivated through visualization and concentration on vivid images of scenes from the Bible, Saints' Lives, Virgin Mary, Christ and religious symbols, feeling from the result. These images could be either conjured up in people's minds when they read or heard poetry and other pieces of religious literature, or they could gaze on manuscript illuminations and other pieces of art as they prayed and meditated on the scenes depicted. In either case, this style of affective meditation asked the "viewer" to engage with the scene as if she or he were physically present and to stir up feelings of love, fear, grief, and/or repentance for sin.

University Academic institution for further education

A university is an institution of higher education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education.


A second work is a sermon written in French with short prayers written in Latin called the Anglo-Norman Sermon, which can be found in Oxford, St John's College, MS 190. The Sermon is a meditation on the Life of Christ organized according to the Parable of the Talents, where each talent that the sinner renders to Christ at the Last Judgment is a particular event in Christ's own life like the Incarnation or the Ascension. Like the De Vita...Beatae Virginis Mariae, the Sermon encourages an affective response to the life and suffering of its subject. [2]

Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient being who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature is immaterial. In its religious context the word is used to mean the descent from Heaven of a god, deity, or divine being in human/animal form on Earth.

Ascension of Jesus The departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God

[[File:Jesus ascending to heaven. The ascension of Jesus is the departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God in heaven. In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, God exaltated Jesus after his death, raising Him as first of the dead, and taking Him to heaven, where Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God. While in modern times a literal reading of the ascension-accounts has become problematic, as its cosmology is incompatible with the modern, scientific worldview, the real relevance of Jesus' ascension lies in this exaltation.

The third work, the Love Rune or A Luve Ron—or love song, is written in English and was composed between 1234 and 1272. [1] "The jewel-like lyric presented here is to be read in the spirit of a riddle or conundrum, one that imparts a mysterious, holy wisdom to be lived and learned by heart." [3]

Recent evidence has shown that he intervened with Queen Eleanor of Provence, wife of Henry III, on behalf of converts and the religious. [4]

Eleanor of Provence 13th-century French noblewoman and Queen of England

Eleanor of Provence was Queen consort of England, as the spouse of King Henry III of England, from 1236 until his death in 1272. She served as regent of England during the absence of her spouse in 1253.

Henry III of England 13th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Henry III, also known as Henry of Winchester, was King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death. The son of King John and Isabella of Angoulême, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine in the middle of the First Barons' War. Cardinal Guala declared the war against the rebel barons to be a religious crusade and Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich in 1217. Henry promised to abide by the Great Charter of 1225, which limited royal power and protected the rights of the major barons. His early rule was dominated first by Hubert de Burgh and then Peter des Roches, who re-established royal authority after the war. In 1230, the King attempted to reconquer the provinces of France that had once belonged to his father, but the invasion was a debacle. A revolt led by William Marshal's son, Richard, broke out in 1232, ending in a peace settlement negotiated by the Church.

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  1. 1 2 Swanson, Jenny. "Hales, Thomas of". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/11916.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. 1 2 3 Thomas J. O'Donnell, "Thomas of Hales, English Franciscan, poet, and scholar, fl. 1250s," International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages-Online. A Supplement to LexMA-Online, in Brepolis Medieval Encyclopedias <>
  3. Denis Renevey, '1215–1349: texts', in Samuel Fanous and Vincent Gillespie, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Mysticism, (Cambridge, 2011), p101.
  4. Margaret Howell, Eleanor of Provence: Queenship in Thirteenth-Century England, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998), pp92–4.


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