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Open Access What do they mean for us today? Medieval Literature and Philosophy at the Ende of the Twentieth Century. Boethius, Abelard, John of Salisbury, and Christine de Pizan

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The anxiety level among the general public in face of the approaching end of our millennium is noticeably increasing year by year and gradually affects both the lay audience and even scholarship. The apocalypse might be approaching, as some argue, whereas others simply worry about the proper measuring of time in computers which are not set for the new number for the year 2000. Concurrently, but not greeted and discussed with the same dramatic fanfare, the fourth industrial revolution and the emergence of an entirely computerized world have radically transformed everyday life in many respects. Significantly, in face of the rapid transformation of our present the past suddenly seems to attract increasing popularity both in Europe and North America. In particular, the Middle Ages both as an academic study area and as a playful fantasy world have gained astonishing interest inside of academia and outside. Medievalism both as a field of research and as theatrical practice such as in the case of the Society for Creative Anachronism represents a vigorously flourishing discipline and has opened many new perspectives toward an interdisciplinary and interchronological approach to the past and the present. Leslie J. Workman rightly claims: "Over the past twenty years, medievalism has achieved academic recognition and taken a modest place alongside nationalism, classicism, romanticism, socialism, and similar terms," and insists that this discipline has gained considerable scholarly status since the early 1970s. Moreover, he believes that the reason for rhe new interest in the Middle Ages might well be that because we are approaching the end of the second millennium entering an age free of many of the previous political and ideological structures and frameworks, we are in need of a new reference system which, in part, the medieval world seems to offer: "if we are indeed entering upon a New Age, we shall certainly need medievalism, the understanding of the past age, as never before." Quoting Jawaharlal Nehru from a paper he gave at a congress of the Ceylon Association for the Advancement of Science on October 15, 1962, Workman underscores the need to recover, once again, the access to spirituality as it was prevalent in the Middle Ages: "Politics and religion are obsolete; the time has come for science and spirituality."
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • Until a short time ago, in German speaking countries there has neither been a periodical dealing primarly with interdisciplinary research of the Middle Ages, nor has there been a forum for regular publications in other languages. Wishing to close this gap, the journal «Mediaevistik» therefore pursues two aims: 1. To publish research methods and results which deal with studies within the different categories of the Middle Ages as a subject, and 2. to offer a forum for studies in all other important European languages and thus stressing and furthering the internationality of this particular field of research. The time frame is approx. the 8th to the 16th century, corresponding with the geographical boundaries of Latin Christianity in the High Middle Ages.

    All articles in Mediaevistik are published as full open access articles under a CC-BY Creative Commons license 4.0. There are no submission charges and no Article Processing Charges as these are fully funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched, resulting in no direct charge to authors.

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