2: Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, Volume II: The Heroic Age

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9780631220794: 2: Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, Volume II: The Heroic Age

This is the second of the three volumes comprising, Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe. Focussing on the period from c.1090-1212, the volume explores the lives, scholarly resources, and contributions of a wide sample of people who either took part in the creation of the scholastic system of thought or gave practical effect to it in public life.


  • The second volume of a compelling, original work which will redefine our perceptions of medieval civilization, the renaissance and the evolution of modern Europe.

  • Written by a man who was widely regarded as the greatest medieval historian.

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This is the second of the three volumes comprising Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe. Focusing on the period from c. 1090 to 1212, the volume explores the lives, resources and contributions of a wide sample of scholars and others who either took part in the creation of the scholastic system of thought or gave practical effect to it in public life.

At the beginning of the twelfth century a group of scholars, mostly centred on Paris and Bologna began an enterprise of unprecedented scope. Their intention was to produce a once-and-for-all body of knowledge that would be as perfect as humanity’s fallen state permits, and which would provide a view of God, nature, and human conduct, promoting order in this world and blessedness in the next. Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe reconsiders this enterprise, and its long-term effects on European history.

The first of the three volumes examines the origins of the intellectual enterprise from around 1060 AD. This second volume focuses on the period during which scholars developed the fully-fledged method of absorbing, elaborating, Christianizing and systematizing the whole intellectual deposit of the Greco-Roman past to produce a complete body of doctrine about both the natural and supernatural worlds which would be not only rationally unassailable and doctrinally coherent, but also capable of being given practical application in organizing and governing the whole of western Christendom.

The book discusses the contributions of individual masters involved in the intellectual project, tracing the progress of the enterprise from its scholastic origins under Anselm of Laon, to the main masters in the schools of Paris during the 1090s to c. 1160, including men such as Peter Lombard, Peter Abelard, John of Salisbury and the two Peters of Blois. These scholars created a crucial bond between the schools and organized life of European society. The men educated in the great schools during this time brought their scholastic learning to governmental aims and activities, extending the influence of the schools and their intellectual project to the wider world.

Elegantly written, enlivened with wit and vivid anecdote, Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe will be a work of seminal importance for the understanding of the civilization of the Middle Ages, and of the evolution of modern European societies.

About the Author:

R. W. SOUTHERN is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of Balliol, Exeter, and St John’s College, Oxford, and of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He was President of St John’s College, Oxford, from 1969 to 1981. He was Chichele Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford from 1961 to 1969, and is a past President of the Selden Society and the Royal Historical Society. His publications include: The Making of the Middle Ages (1953), Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages (1962), Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages (1970), Robert Grosseteste (1986), and St Anselm: a Portrait in a Landscape (1990).

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