Muskhelishvili Nikolai

The Tradition of Lectio Divina: a Re-reading from the Point of View of Cognitive Psychology

Muskhelishvili Nikolai (2014) "The Tradition of Lectio Divina: a Re-reading from the Point of View of Cognitive Psychology ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia, 2014, vol. 51, pp. 99-120 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201451.99-120


Besides liturgical and private prayer, lectio divina (literally divine reading) constitutes one of the formative elements of the Christian monastic tradition. Lectio divina means reading in private (that is not in a liturgical format) the Bible, patristic tractates, hagiographies, and other devotional literature. It further entails meditating (meditatio) on these readings and incorporating them into one’s own personal life of prayer (oratio). The author of this article wishes to study how the human consciousness is transfigured through the practice of lectio divina. As sources, he chooses a few classic texts of Western spirituality: the Ladder of the Anchorites by Guido the Carthusian (XII century) and the Meditation on the Life of Christ by Johannes de Caulibus (XIV century). He examines the psychological process through which the monastic reader communes with the text and intuitively assimilates it. The text steps into the role of a type of model-organizer, stimulating and directing the imagination of the reader to assimilate the intuitive meaning of the text. Depending on the tradition which formed the metaphorical structure of the text as well as the starting point of the reader, the experience of the assimilated meaning may result in either or both of two ways: 1) The generation of a new surface structure in the form of a clarification or a revelation which in this case is perceived as emanating from a phenomenal other; 2) The generation of a more profound structure in the form of an inexpressible intuition and/or the immediate sense of being one with the greater All.


Holy Scripture, Meditation, Text, Addressee, Model-Organizer, Symbolism, Intuitive Meaning, Transfiguration of the Consciousness, Metaphor, Prayer, Contemp


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Muskhelishvili Nikolai