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God and Reason in the Middle Ages

God and Reason in the Middle Ages


  • Date Published: October 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521003377

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About the Authors
  • Between 1100 and 1600, the emphasis on reason in the learning and intellectual life of Western Europe became more pervasive and widespread than ever before in the history of human civilization. Of crucial significance was the invention of the university around 1200, within which reason was institutionalized and where it became a deeply embedded, permanent feature of Western thought and culture. It is therefore appropriate to speak of an Age of Reason in the Middle Ages, and to view it as a forerunner and herald of the Age of Reason that was to come in the seventeenth century. The object of this study is twofold: to describe how reason was manifested in the curriculum of medieval universities, especially in the subjects of logic, natural philosophy and theology; and to explain how the Middle Ages acquired an undeserved reputation as an age of superstition, barbarism, and unreason.

    • This is the first time that the Middle Ages has been depicted as an Age of Reason
    • Medieval theology is presented as a rationalistic enterprise
    • The early modern and modern characterization of the Middle Ages as an age of superstition and unreason is shown to be untenable
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a most stimulating study and one that should become required reading for all historians.' Contemporary Review

    '… this book provides a good introduction to the uses of logic and reason in the medieval university as well as a strong corrective to the still current view of the middle ages as a period of intellectual sterility.' History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2001
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521003377
    • length: 408 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.557kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The emergence of a transformed Europe in the twelfth century
    2. Reason asserts itself: the challenge to authority in the Early Middle Ages to 1200
    3. Reason takes hold: Aristotle and the Medieval University
    4. Reason in action: logic in the Faculty of Arts
    5. Reason in action: natural philosophy in the Faculty of Arts
    6. Reason in action: theology in the Faculty of Arts
    7. The assault on the Middle Ages
    Conclusion: the culture and spirit of 'poking around'.

  • Author

    Edward Grant, Indiana University, Bloomington

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