′The whole oeuvre is remarkable for two things: its ability tobring the reader into a sense of intimate encounter with these oldfriends of Southern himself; and the undiminished freshness of thewriting. As always with Southern, the newness comes from theinsights rather than from the discoveries; yet, as always there arediscoveries, especially where a controversial point has to beargued. Such points are pressed with the characteristic vigour, andeven if not all fellow–scholars will agree with the conclusionsnone will come away with his previous ideas in quite the same order... In every part of the text the quite peculiar charm of thetwelfth century is allowed to be distinctively itself.′ Journalof Theological Studies
′We can be grateful to Lesley Smith and Benedict Ward for theirefforts to bring us this volume, a gift from the master of themodern masters.′ Journal of Religion
"R.W. Southern has been worth spending time with, his ownhumanism, wisdom, and insight always evident, always enlightening."Paul Edward Dutton
At the beginning of the twelfth century a group of scholars,mostly centred on Paris and Bologna began an enterprise ofunprecedented scope. Their intention was to produce aonce–and–for–all body of knowledge that would be as perfect ashumanity s fallen state permits, and which would provide aview of God, nature, and human conduct, promoting order in thisworld and blessedness in the next. Scholastic Humanism and theUnification of Europe reconsiders this enterprise, and itslong–term effects on European history.
The first of the three volumes examines the origins of theintellectual enterprise from around 1060 AD. This second volumefocuses on the period during which scholars developed thefully–fledged method of absorbing, elaborating, Christianizing andsystematizing the whole intellectual deposit of the Greco–Romanpast to produce a complete body of doctrine about both the naturaland supernatural worlds which would be not only rationallyunassailable and doctrinally coherent, but also capable of beinggiven practical application in organizing and governing the wholeof western Christendom.
The book discusses the contributions of individual mastersinvolved in the intellectual project, tracing the progress of theenterprise from its scholastic origins under Anselm of Laon, to themain masters in the schools of Paris during the 1090s to c. 1160,including men such as Peter Lombard, Peter Abelard, John ofSalisbury and the two Peters of Blois. These scholars created acrucial bond between the schools and organized life of Europeansociety. The men educated in the great schools during this timebrought their scholastic learning to governmental aims andactivities, extending the influence of the schools and theirintellectual project to the wider world.
Elegantly written, enlivened with wit and vivid anecdote,Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe will be awork of seminal importance for the understanding of thecivilization of the Middle Ages, and of the evolution of modernEuropean societies.