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The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages
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The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  37 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
How did people of the medieval period explain physical phenomena, such as eclipses or the distribution of land and water on the globe? What creatures did they think they might encounter: angels, devils, witches, dogheaded people? This fascinating book explores the ways in which medieval people categorized the world, concentrating on the division between the natural and the ...more
Paperback, 170 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Cambridge University Press
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Gordon
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A brief but interesting rummage through scholastic philosophers' and mediaeval explorers' ideas of the natural, the supernatural and the nature of the differences between them.
I like Robert Bartlett as a television presenter and as a writer. This book is too short for him really to get his teeth into the subject but his humour still comes through.
Be warned, while the book is 170 pages, the last 22 pages are bibliography and index, and a large proportion of many of the pages is taken up by Latin
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N.W. Martin
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A group of lectures converted into a monograph. Bartlett's research is informative if a bit lacking anything new to add. Good work but definitely not as groundbreaking as the Making of Europe.
Amy
May 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I read and reviewed this book for my medieval history class.

I chose to read this book because of its length, or rather, its lack thereof. I know, I know: that is not a good excuse to read a book! However, it seemed like a good idea at a time when I was struggling with a math class and taking another class that involved a lot of writing. Needless to say, when I went through the list of books to choose from and typed the candidates that I had narrowed down into the search bar on Amazon.com, the f
...more
Mark
May 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Interesting discussion of how the natural and supernatural was defined and how beliefs varied.

In particular Bartlett shows that belief in the power of the heavens to influence events could in fact be seen as perfectly natural and part of God's plan. The main conclusion is that beliefs varied and that actually the idea of witchcraft being real and something to be feared developed later in the middle ages and produced the witch-hunts of the early modern period. Medieval thinkers actually thought
...more
Thomas
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Four lectures by Bartlett on medieval understandings of natural and supernatural, concepts of the universe, "marvels" like dog headed people, and Roger Bacon. Bartlett is always interesting and incredibly well-sourced: a rare scholar of the old school who values primary documentation and so has mastered a vast body of medieval literature. The lectures are diverse enough that someone looking for a focused discourse on the titular topic might be disappointed to find the wide spread of subject matt ...more
Maan Kawas
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book, which addressed the natural and supernatural in the Medieval age (e.g. marvels, miracles, and magic), the geography and the inhabited world, the world as a machine, the moon and eclipses, and people with dog head, people with one foot, or people whose faces are in their chests, and so. I found the book interesting, as it showed how people viewed and interpreted things differently throughout history, which in turn affected their beliefs, conduct, and attitudes.
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