Academic journal article Arthuriana

Fifty Key Medieval Thinkers

Academic journal article Arthuriana

Fifty Key Medieval Thinkers

Article excerpt

GILLIAN ROSEMARY EVANS, Fifty Key Medieval Thinkers, Routledge Key Guides, London and New York: Routledge, 2.002. Pp. xxxiv, 183. ISBN: 0-415-23663-0. $18.95.

In the first sentence of her Preface, Ms. Evans puts forward a number of philosophical and theological questions which 'have proved to be of perennial importance': 'Is there a God? What is the purpose of human life? What is a person? For whose benefit should society by organised?.. .How do words mean things?' (p.vii). She continues: 'This book is concerned not only with what medieval thinkers contributed to these long-standing debates but also with the interconnectedness of their work and its place in the heritage of western thought. For that reason, the focus is mainly upon the "Latin West."' Indeed, this is a worthy program for a much-needed history of medieval philosophy in English, but it is wide off the mark for what is offered in this book's brief annotations on fifty medieval thinkers (the table of contents gives forty-nine, missing out Peter Lombard, thus causing the page numbering to go awry after p.ioi). The author is well aware that fifty is an arbitrary number and she gives various reasons for her choices: an author may be 'outstanding in any age,' such as Anselm of Canterbury; they may be 'supportive players,' such as Bede, or 'intellectual explorers," such as Peter the Venerable and Adelard of Bath. But her rationale peters out, and epithets for heroes from the later period are not given. Neither is she clear about the 'end' of the Middle Age, merely stating that 'something was changing' and that 'this series of little studies taken as a narrative of the intellectual life of a millennium tells its own story' (p.x).

The problem with this book is not really in the lemmata dealing with these fifty thinkers nor in their selection, although one might object to the virtual exclusion of Arabic Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers (except for Maimonides and Ibn Rushd). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.