Natural philosophy; medieval alchemy; medieval astrology; medieval astronomy; geoffrey chaucer; john gower; robert grosseteste; roger bacon; thomas aquinas; gilbertus anglicus; canterbury tales; treatise on the astrolabe; aristotelian natural philosophy; medieval english medicine; medieval discourse
Translations of works containing Arabic and ancient Greek knowledge of the philosophical and mechanical underpinnings of the natural world—a field of study called natural philosophy—were disseminated throughout twelfth-century England. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, institutional (ecclesiastical/university) scholars received and further developed this natural philosophical knowledge by reconciling it with Christian authoritative sources (the Bible and works by the Church Fathers). The subsequent discourse that developed demonstrated ambivalence towards natural philosophical knowledge; institutional scholars expressed both acceptance and anxiety regarding the theory and practice of alchemy, astrology/astronomy, and humoral/astrological medicine. While the institutional development and discourse surrounding natural philosophical thought is well-represented within medieval scholarship, an examination of the transmission and reception of this institutional discourse by broader sectors of English medieval society is needed. Examining fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Middle English public writings, texts, and copies of Latin works provides an important avenue of analysis when exploring the transmission and reception of institutional natural philosophical discourse to the laity. By comparing the similarities of discourse evident between the institutional and lay texts and the textual approaches the Middle English writers employed to incorporate this discourse, these works demonstrate that the spheres of institutional and lay knowledge traditionally separated by medieval historians overlapped as the clerics and laity began sharing a similar understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of the natural world.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Lorden, Alayne, "Bridging Discourse: Connections Between Institutional and Lay Natural Philosophical Texts in Medieval England" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 691.