The Mind of the Middle Ages, A.D. 200-1500: An Historical Survey

By Frederick B. Artz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
Underlying Attitudes
THE WAY OF THE MYSTICS
THE INTERESTS OF THE HUMANISTS

BEHIND the great cultural achievements of the mediaeval centuries lay certain basic attitudes of both mysticism and humanism. In some mediaeval minds these attitudes lived together harmoniously, but oftener they were in conflict. Some examination of the writings of the mystics and humanists should bring us close to the heart of mediaeval ways of feeling and thinking. The traditions of both mysticism and humanism had their origins in antiquity; both were an inheritance of the Middle Ages rather than its own creation. But to each of these currents mediaeval men made significant contributions.


2 THE WAY OF THE MYSTICS

THE ESSENCE of mysticism lies in the surrender of a human personality to a spiritual power beyond itself, by which process the personality gains a greater harmony and force. The mystic hopes to arrive at a feeling of deliverance from the world and the flesh, and, free from the chain of causality, to enter into the knowledge of God and into God's very existence. This is what Bonaventura means when he defines mysticism as "the reaching out of the soul to God, through the yearning

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The Mind of the Middle Ages, A.D. 200-1500: An Historical Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface to First Edition vii
  • Acknowledgments x
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiv
  • Acknowledgments xiv
  • Part One - The Dominance of the East 1
  • Chapter I - The Classical Backgrounds of Mediaeval Christianity 3
  • Chapter II - The Jewish and Early Christian Sources of Mediaeval Faith 39
  • Chapter III - The Patristic Age, 2nd-5th Centuries 64
  • Chapter IV - Byzantine Civilization 95
  • Chapter V - Islamic Civilization 132
  • Chapter VI - The Latin West, 5th-10th Centuries 179
  • Part Two - The Revival of the West, 1000-1500 223
  • Chapter VII - Learning (I) 225
  • Chapter VIII - Learning (II) 270
  • Chapter IX - Literature (I) 320
  • Chapter X - Literature (II) 355
  • Chapter XI - Art and Music 384
  • Chapter XII - Underlying Attitudes 419
  • Epilogue 443
  • Notes 456
  • Bibliographical Notes 503
  • Index 559
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