Theoretical and Practical Life: Two Mediaeval Expositions On the Story of Mary and Martha

Document Type : Research Paper



Contemplation and action is among important questions which can be traced back to the Greek era. First in Greek period and then in Medieval times, the question propounded under the topic of ‘theoretical life’ and ‘practical life’. Christian thinkers usually explain the topic by referring to a story in Luke 10:38-42 about two sisters, Mary and Martha, who are considered as the symbols of contemplation and action. This writing is going firstly to present Thomas Aquinas’s theological-philosophical explication, and then to explain the mystical account appeared in The Cloud of Unknowing, and finally to compare in brief the discussion continued in the Middle Ages and the Modern times.


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