This book is aimed at students coming to the study of western European medieval history for the first time, and also graduate students on interdisciplinary medieval studies programmes. It examines the place of the Middle Ages in modern popular culture, exploring the roots of the stereotypes that appear in films, on television and in the press, and asking why they remain so persistent. The book also asks whether 'medieval' is indeed a useful category in terms of historical periodization. It investigates some of the particular challenges posed by medieval sources and the ways in which they have survived. And it concludes with an exploration of the relevance of medieval history in today's world.
The word "medieval" is often used in a negative way when talking about contemporary issues. Why the Middle Ages Matter refreshes our thinking about this historical era, and our own, by looking at some pressing concerns from today’s world, asking how these issues were really handled in the medieval period, and showing why the past matters now. The contributors here cover topics such as torture, marriage, sexuality, imprisonment, refugees, poverty, work, the status of women, disability, race, political leadership and end of life care. They focus on a variety of regions, from North Africa and the Middle East, through Western and Central Europe, to the British Isles. This collection challenges many negative stereotypes of medieval people, revealing a world from which, for instance, much could be learned about looking after the spiritual needs of the dying, and about integrating prisoners into the wider community through an emphasis on reconciliation between victim and criminal. It represents a new level of engagement with issues of social justice by medievalists and provides a highly engaging way into studying the middle ages. All the essays are written so as to be accessible to students, and each is accompanied by a list of further readings.
Scholars and analysts seeking to illuminate the extraordinary creativity and innovation evident in European medieval cultures and their afterlives have thus far neglected the important role of religious heresy. The papers collected here - reflecting the disciplines of history, literature, theology, philosophy, economics and law - examine the intellectual and social investments characteristic of both deliberate religious dissent such as the Cathars of Languedoc, the Balkan Bogomils, the Hussites of Bohemia and those who knowingly or unknowingly bent or broke the rules, creating their own 'unofficial orthodoxies'. Attempts to understand, police and eradicate all these, through methods such as the Inquisition, required no less ingenuity. The ambivalent dynamic evident in the tensions between coercion and dissent is still recognisable and productive in the world today.
Medieval literature is separated from us by so many centuries that it may seem completely foreign, both in its concerns and its techniques. However, this literature has much to say to 21st century readers and Steinberg’s book demonstrates its continuing relevance and appeal. This introduction to medieval literature provides some of the cultural context that readers need to know in order to understand the literature, such as the religious orientation of the people, often deep and sincere but sometimes treated casually or subjected to intense scrutiny. The first chapter provides a brief explanation of medieval religious thought, cosmology and intellectual history. The remaining chapters provide introductions to a number of individual works ranging from Beowulf to the works of Chaucer. Avoiding the tendency to regard the Middle Ages as an era dominated by Christian men, these discussions include works by women writers and Jewish writers and a chapter on the medieval Japanese masterpiece The Tale of Genji. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
This Handbook shows the links between medieval and contemporary philosophy. Topic-based essays on all areas of philosophy explore this relationship and introduce the main themes of medieval philosophy. They are preceded by the fullest chronological survey now available of the different traditions: Latin and Greek, Islamic and Jewish.
The Middle Ages spanned the period between two watersheds in the history of the biblical text: Jerome's Latin translation c.405 and Gutenberg's first printed version in 1455. The Bible was arguably the most influential book during this time, affecting spiritual and intellectual life, popular devotion, theology, political structures, art, and architecture. In an account that is sensitive to the religiously diverse world of the Middle Ages, Frans van Liere offers here an accessible introduction to the study of the Bible in this period. Discussion of the material evidence - the Bible as book - complements an in-depth examination of concepts such as lay literacy and book culture. This introduction includes a thorough treatment of the principles of medieval hermeneutics, and a discussion of the formation of the Latin bible text and its canon. It will be a useful starting point for all those engaged in medieval and biblical studies.
The Middle Ages in Texts and Texture is an introduction to medieval Europe unlike any other. These 26 essays, written by accomplished scholars all trained at the University of California, Berkeley, reflect on medieval texts and the opportunities they present for exploration of the Middle Ages. Introduced in a foreword by Thomas N. Bisson (Harvard University), these essays present a textured picture of the medieval world and offer models for how to reflect fruitfully on medieval sources. To help orient the reader, three maps, the editor's introduction, and an index are provided.
The Middle Ages was a critical and formative time for Western approaches to our natural surroundings.ãeeAn Environmental History of the Middle Ages is a unique and unprecedented cultural survey of attitudes towards the environment during this period. Humankindâe(tm)s relationship with the environment shifted gradually over time from a predominantly adversarial approach to something more overtly collaborative, until a series of ecological crises in the late Middle Ages. With the advent of shattering events such as the Great Famine and the Black Death, considered efflorescences of the climate downturn known as the Little Ice Age that is comparable to our present global warming predicament, medieval people began to think of and relate to their natural environment in new and more nuanced ways. They now were made to be acutely aware of the consequences of human impacts upon the environment, anticipating the cyclical, "new ecology" approach of the modern world. Exploring the entire medieval period from 500 to 1500, and ranging across the whole of Europe, from England and Spain to the Baltic and Eastern Europe, John Aberth focuses his study on three key areas: the natural elements of air, water, and earth; the forest; and wild and domestic animals. Through this multi-faceted lens, An Environmental History of the Middle Ages sheds fascinating new light on the medieval environmental mindset. It will be essential reading for students, scholars and all those interested in the Middle Ages