Every Valley Shall Be Exalted: The Discourse of Opposites in Twelfth-Century Thought

Bouchard, Constance Brittain

Published by Cornell University Press, 2002
ISBN 10: 0801440580 / ISBN 13: 9780801440588
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In high medieval France, men and women saw the world around them as the product of tensions between opposites. Imbued with a Christian culture in which a penniless preacher was also the King of Kings and the last were expected to be first, twelfth-century thinkers brought order to their lives through the creation of opposing categories. In a highly original work, Constance Brittain Bouchard examines this poorly understood component of twelfth-century thought, one responsible, in her view, for the fundamental strangeness of that culture to modern thinking.

Scholars have long recognized that dialectical reasoning was the basic approach to philosophical, legal, and theological matters in the high Middle Ages. Bouchard argues that this way of thinking and categorizing―which she terms a "discourse of opposites"―permeated all aspects of medieval thought. She rejects suggestions that it was the result of imprecision, and provides evidence that people of that era sought not to reconcile opposing categories but rather to maintain them. Bouchard scrutinizes the medieval use of opposites in five broad areas: scholasticism, romance, legal disputes, conversion, and the construction of gender. Drawing on research in a series of previously unedited charters and the earliest glossa manuscripts, she demonstrates that this method of constructing reality was a constitutive element of the thought of the period.

About the Author:

Constance Brittain Bouchard is Distinguished Professor of Medieval History at the University of Akron. Among her many books are "Every Valley Shall Be Exalted," "Strong of Body, Brave and Noble," Holy Entrepreneurs, and Sword, Miter, and Cloister, all from Cornell.

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Title: Every Valley Shall Be Exalted: The Discourse...
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Very Good

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2003. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In high medieval France, men and women saw the world around them as the product of tensions between opposites. Imbued with a Christian culture in which a penniless preacher was also the King of Kings and the last were expected to be first, twelfth-century thinkers brought order to their lives through the creation of opposing categories. In a highly original work, Constance Brittain Bouchard examines this poorly understood component of twelfth-century thought, one responsible, in her view, for the fundamental strangeness of that culture to modern thinking. Scholars have long recognized that dialectical reasoning was the basic approach to philosophical, legal, and theological matters in the high Middle Ages. Bouchard argues that this way of thinking and categorizing--which she terms a discourse of opposites --permeated all aspects of medieval thought. She rejects suggestions that it was the result of imprecision, and provides evidence that people of that era sought not to reconcile opposing categories but rather to maintain them. Bouchard scrutinizes the medieval use of opposites in five broad areas: scholasticism, romance, legal disputes, conversion, and the construction of gender. Drawing on research in a series of previously unedited charters and the earliest glossa manuscripts, she demonstrates that this method of constructing reality was a constitutive element of the thought of the period. Bookseller Inventory # POW9780801440588

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