Great Writers

Fray Luis of León

We’re going to be analyzing the main figures of the spiritual literature. Fray Luis dof León was borne in Belmonte (Cuenca) in 1527, he had Jewish ancestors and his family was originally from the Mountains. He worked as a teacher in Salamanca and was processed by the Inquisition in that exact faculty, gaining a long jail sentence from 1572 to 1576. His four biggest creations are: The Exposition of Song of Songs (written in 1561 and 1562 to Isabel Osorio, a nun from the Sancti Spiritus in Salamanca) where we can see all of his usual topics in his comments; The Perfect Wife written in 1583 for María Varela de Osorio’s wedding, a comment to Chapter XXXI of the Proverbs, which gained popularity although it didn’t get as much of the critic’s attention as it deserved; Commentary on the Book of Job, took him a lot of time to write (maybe from 1570 till 1591), and it reflects a clear ideological and stylistic internal revolution; but his biggest play in Spanish prose was The Name of Christ, a summary of his biblical, theological and philosophical thoughts, which contains the motives seen through all his work, this book represents the author’s idea of perfection because it manages to reduce multiple aspects into one unit.

Fray Louis of Granada

Originally from Dominican Republic, Fray Louis of Granada (1504-1588) was born in Granada and wrote The Sinner’s Guide (Lisboa, 1556-1557) and An Introduction to the Symbol of Faith (Salamanca, 1583). The Guide was included in the 1559 index, and that required some changes here and there.  

Invocation of what was studied

Taking exams. Very often the best way to prove that something has been learnt is through exams. They usually not represent a problem if study was performed correctly although it is advisable to take some precautions:

  • Read the questions carefully in order to correctly understand them.
  • Mentally try to position the required concepts in the synoptic chart previously built.
  • Try to answer using well-built and understandable phrases.
  • It is necessary to explain any technical words being used and, if possible, provide examples. It is a good method to imagine that you are explaining the concept to an alien who does not know anything. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the teacher already knows it all.
  • Make use of all the available time and use any spare time to review.
  • Take the exam with enthusiasm: use good handwriting, cleanliness, do not make corrections, use the appropriate margins, use a ruler to underline the important phrases or concepts.

Even though it might be obvious I want to point out that study is not something to be left for one or two days before the exam but it is an activity that has to be performed as the class is progressing.

It is possible that some of the activities proposed in the orientation guide are challenging at first. Nonetheless, it is worth it to keep on practicing and, if necessary, use any other articles or books about charts or summaries.


Text Comprehension

  1. Pre-reading. It consists of a quick read or the material to be studied in order to get a general idea about its contents.
  2. Comprehensive reading.  Slow reading with the purpose of correctly understanding what is being explained. If any word or phrase is not understood, a dictionary is used.


Concept selection and organization

  1. Underlining key ideas or words. When done correctly, the most important part of a text will be understood by reading what was underlined only. Some texts provide clues about what the important concepts are by highlighting them in bold print or other systems. Nonetheless, some words or phrases will still need to be underlined.
  2. Text summarizing. (Not performed if the text is already noticeably summarized) A good way to build a summary is to write down what is important in fully formed logical phrases. In might be interesting if in the summary the key words or important concepts are underlined as well.
  3. Building a chart. This means to display the words with the highest conceptual weight organized in a synoptic chart or table, per instance. Once done this the student will have the necessary information to study reduced to its minimum and with a graphic representation of the relationship between concepts.

The stories we tell

Extraordinary stories

Whenever we tell a story to a friend or family member it usually is about events beyond the ordinary: extra-ordinary. Events that are worth picking out of otherwise pretty routinary days.

We do not tell every single thing we do during a day because, first, it would be impossible to narrate: to narrate a day exactly the way we live it would take at least a full day (first I took a step, then another one, then one more). In second place, it would be quite boring as well. We all know what it is like to ride the bus during an hour and a half and it would not be very exciting to listen to somebody telling us about it.

This way we do not tell our whole day of work but we do tell about a meeting in which our boss let us know about the chance for a promotion. We do not narrate the whole time we waited in line in the bank but we do tell that two men wearing masks entered the bank with intentions or robbing it. Finally, we do not tell how we saw several pretty looking women at the college campus but we tell about how we talked with one in particular we met that day.