Fiction and Incarnation: Rhetoric, Theology, and Literature in the Middle Ages

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The development of a 'modern' form of scientific enquiry occurred in the late Middle Ages and under the umbrella of Christianity, but Leupin argues that the desire to quantify and find empirical bases for things goes back much earlier than Galileo and Copernicus. This study attempts to prove that an epistemological break took place within Christianity and that it can be traced back to one particular dogma that is unique to Christian faith, that of incarnation. Through studying the writings of Cicero, Quintilian, St Augustine and many others, Leupin considers the dogma involving the embodiment of God and the relationship between discourse and literature.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816637256
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Christian Epistemological Break
1 The Be-Seeming: Cicero and Quintilian 1
2 The Break: Tertullian 25
3 Fornication: Saint Augustine 46
4 Knowledge and Lacunae: Martianus Capella 77
5 A Divine Harmony: Isidore of Seville 96
6 "Sancta Simplicitas": The Old French Sequence of Saint Eulalia 110
7 Axiomatic Fiction; or, Of Books and Heresies: Alain of Lille 130
8 The Counterfeit: The Roman de Renart 146
9 Disincarnation: Guillaume de Machaut 188
Coda 219
Notes 221
Index 249
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2003

    Very enlightening

    This book is a must-read for anybody who is interested in understanding medieval literature or the culture of medieval Europe in general. Leupin juggles the interrelated concepts of Western Christianity, Heresy, and poetry with a skill that allows each to illuminate the others. He shows how each of these movements supports and reinforces the other, how they conflict, and how these conflicts play out on the pages of medieval literature. The text is accessible not only to experts in the field, but also to beginners. The ideas are clearly presented, and the lines between them clearly drawn. The scope of this work goes well beyond the range of medieval exegesis; it raises questions and provides insight into the literature of every time period, and in every place. The translation by David Laatsch was very clear and precise. It does not read like a translation, but as if it were originally written in English. The simple elegance of his work perfectly complements the skill and grace of the author's.

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