the intellectual history of the middle ages

  • Mishtooni Bose
Part of the Palgrave Advances book series (PAD)


According to Alain de Libera, ‘the thirteenth-century appearance of the intellectual’ (‘l’apparition de l’intellectuel’) was a decisive moment in the history of the West.1 Tracing the evolution of medieval intellectual life has led to similarly decisive developments in modern historiography. The study of medieval intellectual history is a particularly engaging and seductive task for modern scholars because the objects of our study can seem rather gratifyingly like ourselves: clercs, mediators between different social worlds, leading lives fraught with paradox; at once closely bound up with, and distant from, the worlds of commerce and politics, simultaneously admired and distrusted, consulted and controlled. The parallels could be taken further, casting modern intellectual historians as hopeful interpreters of culture, and thereby playing roles analogous to those of the medieval theologians described by Jean Dunbabin as ‘go-betweens’ in their own ‘two-culture society’.2


Fourteenth Century Intellectual History Public Intellectual Intellectual Life Intellectual Freedom 
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© Mishtooni Bose 2006

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  • Mishtooni Bose

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