Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pg. 99: R. Bartlett's "The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Robert Bartlett's The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages.

About the book, from the publisher:
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 supernatural and showing how the idea of the supernatural came to be invented in the Middle Ages. Robert Bartlett examines how theologians and others sought to draw lines between the natural, the miraculous, the marvelous and the monstrous, and the many conceptual problems they encountered as they did so. The final chapter explores the extraordinary thought-world of Roger Bacon as a case study exemplifying these issues. By recovering the mentalities of medieval writers and thinkers the book raises the critical question of how we deal with beliefs we no longer share.
Inside the Medieval Mind, BBC4, April 17 2008, is a television program which is based on parts of the book.

Read an excerpt from The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages, and learn more about the book at the Cambridge University Press website.

Robert Bartlett is a Professor in the School of History at the University of St. Andrews. His books include The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory, and Colonialism in the Middle Ages and England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1225.

The Page 99 Test: The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages.

--Marshal Zeringue