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Literature, art, and the World of Intellect in the High Middle Ages, from about mid-11 th to mid-13 th centuries Haskins, Charles Homer. The Renaissance.

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Presentation on theme: "Literature, art, and the World of Intellect in the High Middle Ages, from about mid-11 th to mid-13 th centuries Haskins, Charles Homer. The Renaissance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literature, art, and the World of Intellect in the High Middle Ages, from about mid-11 th to mid-13 th centuries Haskins, Charles Homer. The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century. [1927] Hollister, C. Warren, ed. The Twelfth- Century Renaissance. [1969] Brooke, Christopher. The Twelfth- Century Renaissance. [1969]

2 Knowles, David. The Evolution of Medieval Thought. [1962] Treadgold, Warren, ed. Renaissances before the Renaissance. [1984] *Chapter 6: The 12 th Century Renaissance by S.C. Ferruolo (cf. Jacob Burckhardt ’ s The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. [1860] -- the traditional view -- Renaissance in Italy in 14 th th centuries)

3 1927Prof. Charles Homer Haskins (US medievalist) published Renaissance of the Twelfth Century refuted the traditional views from the scholars of the Italian Renaissance of the 14 th century (who called the European Middle Ages as Dark Ages [of 1000 years of medieval darkness], etc.). “ The title of this book will appear to many to contain a contradiction. A renaissance in the 12 th century! Do not the Middle Ages, the epoch of ignorance, stagnation, and gloom, stand in the sharpest contrast to the light and progress and freedom of the Italian Renaissance which followed? ” Of course, the answer of Prof. Haskins was NO!

4 Yet, there was the older view (outdated): 1000 years of medieval darkness until the great Italian awakening! Historical periodization: Classical Antiquity Medieval Renaissance (cf. very different in Chinese history)

5 In Europe, the Middle Ages, at best, is a neutral term, suggesting a colorless age, lacking in accomplishment and historical distinctiveness, an age of intermission between 2 creative eras -- the Classical and the Renaissance. Indeed, the sensitive student ought to ask not merely was the medieval period necessarily superstitious and backward, but further, is there necessarily any intellectual coherence in the concept of the Middle Ages as a distinctive cultural epoch running from about 400 or 500 to the eve of the Italian Renaissance?

6 What has 6 th century Europe in common with 13 th century Europe? [Some medievalists (in return) even deny the existence of an Italian Renaissance] Some medievalists agree that there was an Italian Renaissance, but, at the same time, point out that it was merely one of many: Northumbrian Renaissance (England), Carolingian Renaissance (Charlemagne ’ s Frankish Empire), Ottonian Renaissance, and 12 th century Renaissance.

7 Jacob Burckhardt, Swiss historian ( ), The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860), “ In the Middle Ages, both sides of human consciousness -- that which was turned within [inside] as that which was turned without [outside] -- lay dreaming or half awake beneath a common veil [mask]. The veil was woven of faith, illusion, and childish prepossession, ……” Renaissance is defined as rebirth of the forms and spirit of Classical Antiquity in the 15 th century Italy [rebirth, recover + discovery of individual, etc.] -- a new beginning, a period of dynamic and fruitful growth

8 Medievalists claim: 7 th & 8 th centuries Carolingian scholars, such as Alcuin on Classical Culture, have all the above + rationalism, individualism, or even = the birth of modern man (C. Warren Hollister, The 12 th Century Renaissance, + Colin Morris, The Discovery of the Individual, ) John of Salisbury ( ) was a model of Classical humanist. His On Tyranny, “ A ruler who exceeds the bounds of law is no king but a tyrant. ” + the concepts of the majority opinion, and the common goods. + St. Thomas Aquinas (later)

9 Charles Homer Haskins, “ Both continuity and change are characteristics of the Middle Ages, as indeed of all great epochs of history. ” So, the old (outdated) view that medieval Europe was static, superstitious, ignorant, etc. was wrong.

10 11 th to 13 th centuries Europe witnessed the rise of towns and commerce, the maturation of Romanesque architecture and the invention of the Gothic style, the expression of constitutionalism (England), in political theory (John of Salisbury), and practice, the birth of romantic love, + upsurge of philosophical rationalism, increase of population/ food production, and the rise of universities, etc.

11 Nevertheless, Europe between 800 and 1300 definitely changed. Development: economic changes (growth of towns and commerce), + new learning from the East, such as stirrup, printing, compass, and gunpowder (cf. Lynn Whyte, Jr., Medieval Technology and Social Change); + medieval revival of Latin Classics; + complete development of Romanesque art and the rise of Gothic; + the full bloom of vernacular poetry, both lyric and epic; + the new learning and new literature in Latin; + flourishing age of the cathedral schools (which became the later universities, such as Bologne, Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge).

12 + the writing of biographies and memoirs indicating the rise of individualism (cf. Colin Morris, The Discovery of Individual, ); and Peter Abelard ( ) and Heloise -- their love affairs indicating strong sense of individualism. +feudal epics, such as Robin Hood (+ King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table).

13 The 12 th century Renaissance -- unlike the Carolingian Renaissance -- was NOT the product of a court or a dynasty. Unlike the Italian Renaissance, the 12 th century Renaissance owed its beginning to NO single country (Italy); and socially and economically, the 12 th century Renaissance was prosperous, but the 14 th century Italian Renaissance coincided with famines, plagues, and Black Death.

14 Impact of the Crusades on the 12 th century Renaissance: Ideas; Translations (Greek philosophy and science, especially Aristotle) -- Reasons -- Albertus Magnus -- Thomas Aquinas (Dominicans)

15 Conclusion: In addition to continuity, the 12 th century Renaissance = definitely CHANGE or even a great leap forward or at least = transformation and transition

16 The Rise of Universities Baldwin, John W. The Scholastic Culture of the Middle Ages. Ferruolo, Stephen C. The Origins of the University. Rashdall, Hastings. Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages. Cobban, Alan B. The Medieval English Universities -- Oxford and Cambridge. Like Gothic Cathedrals, the medieval European University was a product of the medieval town -- from Cathedral Schools, which were the centers of higher learning of the time.

17 Basic curriculum -- traditional seven liberal arts: 1. Astronomy; 2. Geometry; 3. Arithmetic; 4. Music; 5. Grammar; 6. Rhetoric; and 7. Logic. Higher Disciplines: 1.Theology; 2.Law; 3.Medicine. After completion -- license to teach By 13 th century, there were Universities at Paris, Bologna, Naples, Oxford, and Cambridge.

18 According to Rashdall, there were 3 vital educational values in medieval Universities: 1.A commitment to providing not only useful professional training but also the highest intellectual cultivation possible; 2.A desire not only to conserve and transmit knowledge but also to advance it by research and writing; 3.The idea of joining together of diverse subjects into a single harmonious institution, the ideal of making the teaching body representative of the whole cycle of human knowledge.

19 According to Stephen C. Ferruolo, there were 3 basic characteristics in medieval Universities: 1.It was an enduring and autonomous corporate body. As a formal association with a significant degree of legal autonomy and the right of self-governance, the corporation exercised control over its membership and could make & enforce its own statues. In this sense, the University was similar to the other medieval guilds [trading commercial associations]. In its specific functions, the University was a community engaged in study, a studium. It was an association of men of diverse social status drawn from a wide geographical area, studying a variety of subjects at different levels of expertise; 2.It emphasized on the sharing of transmission of knowledge. The professional identity of the University consisted in teaching or being taught; 3.The University was not narrowly specialized either in its constitution or in its goals.

20 Thomas Aquinas Knowles, David. The Evolution of Medieval Thought. [chapter 21: St. Thomas Aquinas]. Ullmann, Wlater. Medieval Political Thought. [chapter 7: The New Orientation: Thomism]. St. Thomas Aquinas, , was born in a Norman-Italian noble family. His father wished him to be a Benedictine monk (prestigious and high class), therefore, he entered the Monte Cassino Monastery. But, in 1244, (when he was 18 years old), Thomas Aquinas joined the radically new Dominican Order (thus, shocked his father), and he became a student of St. Albertus Magnus (the new Aristotelianism).

21 His education was at the University of Paris (and his nicknamed was dumb ox). According to Walter Ullmann, “ The power of Thomas Aquinas ’ intellect produced a fusion of Christian and Aristotelian themes which entailed an infinity of nice distinction in accommodating a pagan philosophy to Christian cosmology. ”

22 Thomas Aquinas baptized Aristotle into Christian theology, just as St. Augustine had baptized Plato into Christianity. According to Russell, the philosopher, (History of Western Philosophy, London, 1982, p. 444), the impacts and influences of Thomas Aquinas were much greater than those by Kant and Hegel in the 19 th century. Late in life, Thomas Aquinas suddenly turned to mysticism; and it was said that his final confession was as innocent as that of a 5-year-old child.

23 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (comprehensive work): Questions of philosophy, theology, political theory, and morality; Used (pagan) Aristotle ’ s logical methods and categories of thought; Yet, his conclusions were in complete harmony with the Christian faith. Comparison between Thomas Aquinas and Plato: Plato ’ s literary elegance was better than Thomas Aquinas; But, Thomas Aquinas ’ intellectual elegance (i.e., system and organization) was better than Plato.

24 Thomas Aquinas was systematic and exhaustive -- both pro [for] and con [against] -- analyzing every possible argument and every subject in presenting and exploring opinions contrary to his own, i.e. less passionate (or more rational) than St. Augustine [and Plato]

25 There were 631 questions dealing with 10 thousand objections raised in Summa Theologica; for instance, I. 2 God ’ s existence: (i) Whether God ’ s existence is self-evident? Because ……, therefore, conclusion was NO; (ii) Whether it can be demonstrated that God exists? Because ……, therefore, conclusion was YES; (iii) Whther God exists? 5 proofs, therefore, YES.

26 Rigorous analysis First, a series of objections -- set up arguments contrary to his final conclusion, for instance, God does not exist. God means that He is infinite goodness. Therefore, if God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. So, God does not exist.

27 Then, on the contrary, quotation of authority, such as the Scriptures, etc. with logical reasons; then, [like a formula, mechanically]: I answer that, the existence of God can be proved in 5 ways, …... Finally, conclusion with refutation of the earlier objections, for instance, Reply to Objection 1: As Augustine says, “ Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil. ” This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist and out of it, to produce good.

28 Like geometry and law, once a problem is settled, the conclusion can be used in solving subsequent problems, thus, system grows. Thomas Aquinas harmonized faith and reason. Because human reason = a valid avenue to truth (natural truth) Because Christian faith = authoritative truth And the source of both natural truth and authoritative truth came from the same [God]; and truth was one Therefore, reason = faith

29 Thomas Aquinas was similar to Aristotle as they both believed that knowledge came from observation and analysis (contrast to Plato ’ s contemplation and St. Augustine ’ s faith alone)

30 On “ State ”, Previously, Christian thinkers believed that state = necessary evil, (an unfortunate but indispensable consequence of the fall of Adam); But, Thomas Aquinas believed that man ’ s natural instinct brought forth the state, i.e., organized human society; thus, state = a product of nature (law of nature) [cf. Aristotle, “ Man is a creature of the polis ” ], = good and natural outgrowth of humanity ’ s social impulse.

31 Plato -- St. Augustine (main stream throughout the Middle Ages) -- Franciscans Aristotle -- (absent in medieval Europe; went to the Middle East until the Crusades, which brought his ideas back to Europe) -- Dominicans [Albertus Magnus, and then, Thomas Aquinas]

32 But, Thomas Aquinas was condemned by most of his contemporaries that his synthesis of faith and reason was a mirage, as Reason was of little or no use in proving metaphysical problems; Christian doctrine could not be approached by reason at all but had to be accepted on faith;

33 Nevertheless, some scholars now believed that Thomas Aquinas had solved some contradictory problems between theology and philosophy, and expanded the realm of theology; and that the harmony of faith and reason was a breakthrough.

34 All in all, the medieval Europe was not the Dark Ages. It was an Age of striking contrasts -- of fear and hope, of poverty and commercial vitality; and of crudeness and yet sophistication in many areas. Indeed, Europe had already awaken in the High Middle Ages.


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