Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies


Peter Widdicombe




While most analyses of Be mar d's allegory of the two swords frame the discussion from the perspective of Bernard's overall political theology, this approach often ignores the allegory's connection to the Knights Templar. This thesis examines Bernard of Clairvaux's allegory of the Two Swords from a literary and historical perspective. By examining each of Bernard's uses of the allegory separately and in their own contexts, this thesis aims to identify the various ways in which Bernard used the allegory. As well, this work seeks to understand what the allegory can and cannot tell us about Bernard's overall political theology. This thesis argues that Bernard employed the allegory in order to describe the authority by which the pope may protect the Church when it is threatened, but that the allegory's effectiveness for determining Bernard's political theology outside the context of the Church's defence remains limited.

McMaster University Library

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