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Medieval Biological Knowledge

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Medieval Period (aka the Middle Ages) 476 AD 800 ( Dark Ages ) ... Major Works of European Literature from the Romantic to the Contemporary Period, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Medieval Biological Knowledge


1
Medieval Biological Knowledge
2
Medieval Period(aka the Middle Ages)
  • 476 AD 800 (Dark Ages)
  • 1000-1300 High Middle Ages
  • 1300-1450 End of the Middle ages

War in Heaven, France, c. 1320, in The
Cloisters Collection, New York City
http//www.mythinglinks.org/eurowestmedieval.htm
l
3
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
  • The beginning of the middle ages witnessed the
    destruction of the Western Roman Empire

4
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
5
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6
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7
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
  • Various barbarian tribes conquered the
    previously Roman controlled territories

8
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
  • Civilization collapsed and there was a return to
    a simpler, more rural form of society
  • Cities were depopulated
  • Trade and arts declined
  • Learning and knowledge declined (including
    biological knowledge)
  • Literacy almost disappeared
  • Reading and writing barely survived.

9
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
10
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
  • Most importantly, the philosophical approach to
    understanding reality also declined
  • The ancient Greek and Roman texts almost
    completely disappeared

11
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
  • One institution did survive from Roman times

12
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
The Roman Catholic Church
  • Its explanation of reality was deeply influenced
    by the Bible and by the teachings of the Church
    fathers.

13
The Dark Ages476-800 AD
The Roman Catholic Church
  • There was a return to supernatural explanations
    of reality

14
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • However, beginning in the 11th century, trade,
    commerce, and urban life revived.
  • Knowledge also revived and the first European
    universities were built in this period.

15
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
Damn! I wish somebody would invent a Wordprocessor
Marie de France some Medieval female scholars
existed too.
16
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
Will this be on the test, sir?
  • Medieval students at the University of Paris

17
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • One reason for the revival of knowledge was the
    rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman texts.

18
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • Many of these texts were discovered in Arabic
    translation in Muslim Spain
  • Spain had been conquered by Muslim forces since
    the 8th century
  • Cities like Toledo, Cordoba and Granada became
    centers of great learning.

The Alhambra of Granada (Spain). Picture by G.
Tordjman
19
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • Cordoba had dozens of libraries, some of which
    contained the writings of Aristotle, and other
    great Greek, Roman, Jewish and Arabic thinkers.

The Great Mosque (Mesquita) of Cordoba (Spain).
Picture by G. Tordjman
20
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • As the Christian Spanish forces in the north
    slowly re-conquered Spain (The Reconquista), they
    came across these lost ancient works.
  • Jewish and Arabic translators translated them
    into Latin.
  • These works made a huge impact on the elite back
    in Europe.

21
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • Leaf from an Arabic translation of the Materia
    Medica of Dioscorides ("The Pharmacy"), dated
    1224Iraq, Baghdad SchoolColors and gilt on
    paper 12.3 x 9 in. (31.4 x 22.9 cm)Cora Timken
    Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and
    Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken
    Burnett, 1956 (57.51.21)

Ancient Greek texts like this in Arabic
translation were then translated again in Latin
(a language of Europe)
22

23
  • Euclid, Elements of Geometry with commentary by
    Persian scholar Nasr al din Al Tulsi

24
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • Thanks to the re-discovery of these lost Greek
    and Roman texts, the Europeans rediscovered the
    philosophical approach to understanding reality
  • This included the stress on
  • observation of fact (empiricism)
  • Logic and deduction (rationalism)

25
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • Even the Catholic Church was influenced by the
    Greek philosophical approach
  • This produced a kind of fusion of the Greek
    philosophical approach with the Christian
    religious approach to knowledge
  • Two examples of this are
  • The Great Chain of Being concept
  • Natural theology

26
The High Middle AgesThe Great Chain of Being
  • The Great Chain of Being was a Christian inspired
    view of the universe but also contained
    philosophical concepts borrowed from the ancient
    Greeks
  • It pictured the entire world as divided into a
    hierarchy of beings from lowest to highest
    (finally ending up in God).

27
  • On the lowest rung was inanimate matter, rocks,
    minerals and the sort, themselves subdivided into
    ranks
  • Higher up were the plants, themselves also
    subdivided into higher and lower
  • Then came the lower animals, higher animals and
    human beings, which, as Psalm 19 says are just
    lower than the angels.

Imagine this picture so that the center is like
the bottom of a well and the outside rings are
higher and more spiritual
28
The High Middle AgesThe Great Chain of Being
  • Above humans were the angels and then God, the
    Architect of the entire chain.
  • Thus, as one moved up the Chain, one moved from
    the purely material to the purely spiritual
  • Each rung or link on the chain ruled over the
    rung below.

29
  • The Chain was static, meaning nothing could move
    up or down the Chain and no being could be
    removed or added to the Chain.
  • Everything was in its place and there was a place
    for everything

30
The High Middle AgesThe Great Chain of Being
  • The Chain was anthropocentric, meaning that
    humans occupied the central position (between God
    and the rest of creation) and were the highest
    creatures on earth.

31
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • Natural theology
  • regular theology is the study of religion, esp.
    the study of Sacred Scriptures
  • Aka the study of Gods word
  • Natural Theology is the study of nature to reveal
    evidence of the existence, power, wisdom,
    goodness of God.
  • Aka the study of Gods works

32
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • The two main arguments of natural theology
  • The argument from design
  • The cosmological argument (or, the argument from
    first cause)
  • (we will be examining only the former here)

33
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • Natural theology
  • The argument from design
  • 1. Things in the universe (esp. living things)
    show evidence of purposeful design (i.e., they
    show non-random, complex structure and
    organization)
  • 2. Designed things must have a designer
  • 3. The Designer of such things must be none other
    than God
  • Therefore, 4. God exists

34
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • Darwins theory posed a serious challenge to the
    argument from design
  • Darwins theory also gave the last blow to the
    Great Chain of Being concept.

35
The High Middle Ages1000-1300 AD
  • There are few believers in the Great Chain
    concept today,
  • However, the argument from design is still
    popular among some religious groups

36
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37
Medieval Biological KnowledgeSummary
  • Dark ages see collapse of Western civilization
    and decline of knowledge
  • High Middle ages revival of learning due partly
    to rediscovery of ancient Greek philosophy found
    in Arabic translation in Muslim Spain
  • Two key concepts show evidence of revival of
    philosophy natural theology and great chain of
    being concept
  • Natural theology includes argument from design
    seeking to prove God exists by using evidence
    from nature
  • Great Chain concept of universe as a hierarchy of
    beings from lowest to highest with God at the
    summit

38
Credits
  • Mark Damen, USU 1320 History and Civilization,
    SECTION 8 The Fall of Rome http//www.usu.edu/ma
    rkdamen/1320HistCiv/chapters/08ROMFAL.htm
  • Elizabeth Swanstrom, Comparative Literature 30C
    Major Works of European Literature from the
    Romantic to the Contemporary Period, University
    of California at Santa Barbara.
    http//cl30c.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/links-the-vi
    ctorians/
  • British Views Of 18th Century Africa,
    http//courses.wcupa.edu/wanko/LIT400/Africa/index
    .htm
  • http//www.roman-empire.net/
  • Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D., Mything Links An
    Annotated Illustrated Collection of Worldwide
    Links to Mythologies, Fairy Tales Folklore,
    Sacred Arts Sacred Traditions
    http//www.mythinglinks.org/eurowestmedieval.htm
    l
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