Skip to main content

Finding a Middle Way: Late Medieval Naturalism and Visionary Experience

Buy Article:

$51.63 plus tax (Refund Policy)


During the later Middle Ages, European theologians increasingly drew on naturalistic explanations of the world to explain supernatural phenomena. Three theologians at the University of Paris, Nicole Oresme (ca. 1323-1382), Henry Langenstein (1325-1397), and Jean Gerson (1363-1429) wrote a series of treatises on religious visionaries warning that natural or medical causes were often behind the claims of Christian and non-Christian religious visionaries. This article traces how this naturalistic analysis of visionary claims became popularized in Christian visionary treatises and considers its effect upon Christian practice as a whole. In particular, I argue that medieval naturalism developed into an explicit challenge to older, ascetic-based ideals of holiness commonly associated with the lives of Christian visionaries.

Keywords: Fourteenth Century; Gerson, Jean (1363-1429); Langenstein, Henry (1325-1397); Natural Philosophy; Oresme, Nicole (ca. 1323-1382); Religious Visions

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2009


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more