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The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages / Edition 1

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Overview

How did people of the mediaeval period explain physical phenomena, such as eclipses or the distribution of land and water on the globe? What creatures did they think they might encounter: angels, devils, witches, dogheaded people? This fascinating book explores the ways in which mediaeval people categorized the world, concentrating on the division between the natural and the supernatural and showing how the idea of the supernatural came to be invented in the Middle Ages. Robert Bartlett examines how theologians and others sought to draw lines between the natural, the miraculous, the marvelous, and the monstrous and the many conceptual problems they encountered as they did so. The final chapter explores the extraordinary thought-world of Roger Bacon as a case study exemplifying these issues. By recovering the mentalities of mediaeval writers and thinkers, the book raises the critical question of how we deal with beliefs we no longer share.

About the Author:
Robert Bartlett is Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of St. Andrews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages is sure to interest scholars and students from a range of fields. In this work, Bartlett has offered an encouraging model of how academic writing can not only spur the intellect but also stir the imagination and spark humor." -H-Net, Christopher LeCluyse
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521702553
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2008
  • Series: Wiles Lectures Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 180
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Bartlett is Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews. His previous publications include The Making of Europe (1993), England under the Norman and Angevin Kings (2000) and The Hanged Man (2004).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1 The Boundaries of the Supernatural 1

2 "The Machine of This World": Ideas of the Physical Universe 35

3 Dogs and Dog-heads: The Inhabitants of the World 71

4 "The Secrets of Nature and Art": Roger Bacon's Opus maius 111

Bibliography of Works Cited 149

Index 165

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