Ancient and Medieval Memories: Studies in the Reconstruction of the Past

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This book contains a series of studies that take the ancient texts as evidence of the past, and show how medieval readers and writers understood them. In particular, they examine how medieval readers examined the construction of these texts to find some reflection of how it felt to exist within the ancient world. The studies confirm that medieval and Renaissance interpretations and uses of the past differ greatly from a modern interpretation and uses, and yet the study betrays many startling continuities between modern and ancient medieval theories. Discussion extends from the nature of historical evidence, through theories behind medieval historiography, to various hypotheses relating physiological attributes of the brain to intellectual processes of the mind.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Coleman's work is without question a rich and magisterial survey of an impressive range of medieval thinkers, many of them less well known than they deserve to be." Canadian Journal of History

"...Janet Coleman offers here an impressively learned, highly intelligent, and heavily argued survey of the theory and to a lesser extent the practice of memory from Plato and Aristotle to the later Middle Ages...this is a magisterial performance, a major contribution to the history of philosophy and especially to our understanding of a number of medieval authors concerned with memory theory, and as such it is surely the best book on the subject in any language." American Historical Review

"...students of ancient and medieval philosophy should be grateful to Coleman for making these authors more accessible. The value of the book to specialists lies in the close analysis offered by the author." Times Higher Education Supplement

"...the work represents a genuine tour de force." Elwood E. Mather III, Sixteenth Century Journal

"...provides interesting insights into Western views of memory, and above all demonstrates the value of the author's insistence that 'Memory cannot be treated separately from a more inclusive theory of knowing.'" James J. Murphy, Manuscripta

"Ancient and Medieval Memories offers a vast, generously learned account of philosophies of knowledge and theories of the past. In Coleman's study, the history of memory theory is a doorway to the history of philosophy, and in that respect her book is surely the most comprehensive modern study of medieval theories of mind, perception, cognition, temporality, and language....Ancient and Medieval Memories is a major scholarly achievement, a profound as well as humanely accessible study of how medievals conversed with their past and how we, in turn, can better converse with them." Rita Copeland, Speculum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521411448
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Studies in the Reconstruction of the PAS
  • Pages: 668
  • Sales rank: 1,324,877
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.61 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. The Critical Texts of Antiquity: 1. Plato; 2. Aristotle; 3. Cicero; 4. Pliny and Roman naturalists on memory; Borges's Funes the Memorious; 5. Plotinus and the early neoplatonists on memory and mind; 6. Augustine; 7. Augustine, De Trinitate; Part II. The Practice of Memory During the Period of Transition from Classical Antiquity to the Christian Monastic Centuries: 8. The early monastic practice of memory: Gregory the Great; Benedict and his rule; 9. Bede, monastic grammatica and reminiscence; 10. Monastic memory in service of oblivion; 11. Cistercian 'blanched' memory and St Bernard; 12. Twelfth-century Cistercians: the Boethian legacy and the physiological issues in Greco-Arabic medical writings; Part III. The Beginnings of the Scholastic Understanding of Memory: 13. Abelard; 14. Memory and its uses: the relationship between a theory of memory and twelfth-century historiography; Part IV. Aristotle Neoplatonised: The Revival of Aristotle and the Development of Scholastic Theories of Memory: 15. Arabic and Jewish translations of sources from antiquity: their use by Latin Christians; 16. John Blund, David of Dinant, the De potentiis animae et objectis; 17. John of la Rochelle; 18. Averroes; 19. Albert the Great; 20. Thomas Aquinas; Part V. Later Medieval Theories of Memory: The Via Antiqua and the Via Moderna: 21. John Duns Scotus; 22. William of Ockham; 23. The legacy of the via antiqua and the via moderna in the Renaissance and beyond; Conclusion.

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