This book is an interesting collection of fascinating writings by an important historical figure, collected by able scholars. St. Bernard often speaks great wisdom. I myself frequently quote St. Bernard in his inspired and sacred exhortation:
"You wish to see? Listen; hearing is a step toward vision."
This wonderful insight would seem applicable not only in its direct religious/spiritual context, but more generally to all that humans might listen to, take in and learn from. But St. Bernard is also quoted in his anti-semitism. For example, here are some such actual words of St. Bernard himself:
"What will the just and merciful Lord do when he discovers the Jews boasting of the law and flattering themselves on their own righteousness, blind to their need for mercy and scorning the pagans who feel that need? ... The Jews still make merry outside with their friends the demons, who are pleased to see them swallowing down the insipid kid of their own sinfulness, to see them stowing it away, foolishly concealing it in their sluggish stomach. Meantime they despise the justice of God, and with the purpose of substituting their own, declare themselves free of sin, free of the need to kill the fatted calf, because in their own eyes they are made clean and just by the works of the law. "
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, : "The Church of Christ and the Jews", On the 'Song of Songs' (ironically, a Jewish text)
Yes, as with the rest of these writings, such passages can contructively be seen as 12th century histroy, just as we might learn historically from the Vatican's 20th century deadly preachings - recently-recanted by Pope John Paul - about Jews being an enemy of the Church for having supposedly killed Christ. Whatver its hostorical value (which I concede)it is for me difficult to consider passages like the excerpt here quoted as apt to coming to better know God or as a path to Godliness, as suggested by one of the reviewers here.
Still, as noted above, the collection is a good, varied and valuable one for the study of Medieval Christian History -- an important subject in its own right. IN a more ecumenical spirit than St. Bernard's, I do not recommend skipping the collection; only reading it with an active, critical mind, especially on the subject of the Church and the Jews.
Anyone, I mean anyone searching for a greater understanding on such things as Loving God, Humility and Pride,or conversion of Heart, or many other Topic, should Consider this book as a treasury of Wisdon. St. Bernard takes complicated ideas and concepts and makes them clear for those of us without the Saintly Mind. I would certantly say that his writings are some of the best in All of Christian history. This translation is consice and leaves nothing of importance out, I commend the translator on this edition. My hopes are that many will find this book a great help in your own Spiritual Journey.