Many historians, theologians, and philosophers consider Bonaventure’s essay a masterpiece among the shorter works of medieval philosophy. It contains Bonaventure’s interpretation of a vision St. Francis of Assisi had. In the vision, St. Francis receives the wounds of Christ from a six-winged seraph. As Bonaventure saw it, the six wings symbolized six steps along the road to perfection and the divine. The steps or stages he details integrates the Neoplatonic hierarchy of being with Christian doctrine concerning God’s relationship with his creation.
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