Book Series Bibliotheca Victorina, vol. 19

Per visibilia ad invisibilia

Theological Method in Richard of St. Victor (d. 1173)

Dale M. Coulter

  • Pages: 293 p.
  • Size:160 x 245 mm
  • Language(s):English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2006

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52386-6
  • Hardback
  • Available


"Coulter's book succeeds in giving the reader a fuller understanding of the underlying assumptions employed."

(I. van 't Spijker in: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 59, 2008, p. 123)

 "[...] important jalon dans les études ricardiennes."

(C. Giraud in: Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France, 93, 2007, p. 529)

"une étude approfondie d’un auteur, Richard de Saint-Victor, dont la pensée est complexe, originale, à la croisée des courants qui boulversèrent la vie intellectuelle du XIIe siècle, et dont tous les aspects sont ici esquissés. Une tâche difficile et cependant réussie au total […]."

(Fr. Gasparri, in: Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, 54, 2011, p. 93)



Dale M. Coulter (DPhil) is assistant professor of historical theology, Lee University, Cleveland, TN.


Approaching Richard of St. Victor’s works through the lense of an ascent to God per visibilia ad invisibilia, the present work argues that Richard develops a consistent theological methodology that weds together an emerging academic theology with a contemplative reading of texts. This methodology begins with an attempt to understand the visible world through the medium of words, created things, and their orderly relation both in text and in creation. Coulter next discusses how Richard’s investigation of the invisible world of the self, the angels, and the divine builds upon his analysis of the visible world. No longer focusing on texts, at this stage the contemplative mind must develop the appropriate intellectual skills to penetrate the mysteries of the invisible world, for which Richard offers the ark of the covenant as a rhetorical symbol. The result is a method that leads the soul to a vision of the divine per visibilia ad invisibilia.