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Mysteries of the middle ages : the rise of feminism, science, and art from… (edition 2006)

by Thomas Cahill

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907189,716 (3.72)32
Member:puttocklibrary
Title:Mysteries of the middle ages : the rise of feminism, science, and art from the cults of Catholic Europe
Authors:Thomas Cahill
Info:Nan A. Talese/Doubleday (c2006), 1st ed., hardcover, color illustrations
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:christianity, feminism, history, illustrated, middle ages, nonfiction

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Mysteries of the Middle Ages by Thomas Cahill

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» See also 32 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Interesting European personalities of the middle ages. ( )
  madamepince | Jul 14, 2014 |
Enjoyed another perspective on the Middle Ages, although the story on some individuals did get a bit slow at times. ( )
  robeik | Jan 31, 2014 |
A good read, with a lot of great information about the Middle Ages. My biggest issue with this particular book is the attempt by the author at pushing a feminist view of history, instead of just letting the history speak for itself. ( )
1 vote camainc | Oct 17, 2013 |
Thomas Cahill is an academic best known for his "Hinges of History" series. I read the four previous books in the series and written reviews about two of them: "How the Irish Saved Civilization", "The Gifts of the Jews". The fifth book in the series is about the "Mysteries of the Middle Ages". Cahill takes a different approach in this book. Whilst the first four books centered around one topic (Irish clergy in the Middle Ages, the Jews' contribution to mankind, Jesus and the Ancient Greeks), in this book Cahill picks a few "over arching" themes that, in his mind, define the Middle Ages and writes about them from the perspective of one major city. So Alexandria is used to describe Reason; Bingen and Chartres to describe the worship of the Virgin Mary; Florence - poetry; Ravenna - politics; and so on. The book is also different from the previous ones in its beautiful layout and the images and illustrations that adorn every page. Whilst I don't think Cahill has unearthed any "mysteries" in this book, he deserves credit for the presentation and popular (sometimes too popular) style of writing. ( )
1 vote ashergabbay | Jul 7, 2013 |
This is a Christian book - like, it assumes God exists and the Christian faith is correct. Which I find inappropriate in a history book, and irritating because it doesn't advertise that fact on the jacket. Y'know, WARNING: THIS BOOK BEGINS WITH A CENTRAL AND INCORRECT ASSUMPTION.

I gave it two stars because it's not badly written; if you're Christian yourself, or just enjoy proselytizing, you may like it more than I did. ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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So does Geoffrey Chaucer describe the convening—at the Tabard Inn in Southwark on the southern bank of the River Thames—of twenty-nine pilgrims.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
What the Critics Say

"The author wears his erudition lightly and leavens his writing with reader-friendly anachronisms....The result is a fresh, provocative look at an epoch that's both strange and tantalizingly familiar." (Publishers Weekly)
"A prodigiously gifted populizar of Western philosophical and religious thought spotlights exemplary Christians in the High Middle Ages....Cahill serves as an irresistible guide: never dull, sometimes provocative, often luminous." (Kirkus Reviews)

From AudioFile
John Lee's warm voice and nuanced pace beautifully serve this latest offering in Thomas Cahill's bestselling Hinges of History series. In it, he examines the Middle Ages for origins of modern Western philosophies. Cahill begins his exploration of the roots of philosophy and science deep in the Hellenic and Roman periods and then jumps forward to early medieval times. His lively writing maintains the reader's interest, and Lee's clear, appreciative reading keeps listeners from getting lost amid the crowds of characters and the passing millennia. One may or may not agree with all of Cahill's conclusions, but his window on the past is thought-provoking and, in this production, eminently listenable. (c) AudioFile 2007

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385495552, Hardcover)

After the long period of cultural decline known as the Dark Ages, Europe experienced a rebirth of scholarship, art, literature, philosophy, and science and began to develop a vision of Western society that remains at the heart of Western civilization today.

By placing the image of the Virgin Mary at the center of their churches and their lives, medieval people exalted womanhood to a level unknown in any previous society. For the first time, men began to treat women with dignity and women took up professions that had always been closed to them.

The communion bread, believed to be the body of Jesus, encouraged the formulation of new questions in philosophy: Could reality be so fluid that one substance could be transformed into another? Could ordinary bread become a holy reality? Could mud become gold, as the alchemists believed? These new questions pushed the minds of medieval thinkers toward what would become modern science.

Artists began to ask themselves similar questions. How can we depict human anatomy so that it looks real to the viewer? How can we depict motion in a composition that never moves? How can two dimensions appear to be three? Medieval artists (and writers, too) invented the Western tradition of realism.

On visits to the great cities of Europe—monumental Rome; the intellectually explosive Paris of Peter Abelard and Thomas Aquinas; the hotbed of scientific study that was Oxford; and the incomparable Florence of Dante and Giotto—Cahill brilliantly captures the spirit of experimentation, the colorful pageantry, and the passionate pursuit of knowledge that built the foundations for the modern world. Bursting with stunning four-color art, MYSTERIES OF THE MIDDLE AGES is the ultimate Christmas gift book.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After the long period of cultural decline known as the Dark Ages, Europe experienced a rebirth of scholarship, art, literature, philosophy, and science and began to develop a vision of Western society that remains at the heart of Western civilization today. On visits to the great cities of Europe--monumental Rome; the intellectually explosive Paris of Peter Abelard and Thomas Aquinas; the hotbed of scientific study that was Oxford; and the incomparable Florence of Dante and Giotto--Cahill captures the spirit of experimentation, the colorful pageantry, and the passionate pursuit of knowledge that built the foundations for the modern world.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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