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Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light…
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Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice

by Celia Chazelle

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This is a really interesting collection which addresses the question of why the Middle Ages are relevant when considering modern problems—how it is that people who lived and died over a millennium ago may be able to provide us, if not always with answers to modern social problems, then with new ways of approaching those social problems. Not all of the essays are equally well thought out, and there is at times a tendency for very important terms (such as "power" or "community") to go undefined, or occasionally even to mean different things even within the same essay. Yet those essays which are strong—Felice Lifshitz's on the anti-feminism masquerading as faux feminism in The Da Vinci Code or Dyan Elliot's on clerical sexual scandals—are very thought-provoking, and the collection as a whole is well worth a read. I think it should be of interest to not just graduate students and faculty, but even the interested lay person or upper level undergraduates. ( )
  siriaeve | May 28, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0415780659, Paperback)

The word "medieval" is often used in a negative way when talking about contemporary issues. Why the Middle Ages Matter refreshes our thinking about this historical era, and our own, by looking at some pressing concerns from today’s world, asking how these issues were really handled in the medieval period, and showing why the past matters now. The contributors here cover topics such as torture, marriage, sexuality, imprisonment, refugees, poverty, work, the status of women, disability, race, political leadership and end of life care. They focus on a variety of regions, from North Africa and the Middle East, through Western and Central Europe, to the British Isles.

This collection challenges many negative stereotypes of medieval people, revealing a world from which, for instance, much could be learned about looking after the spiritual needs of the dying, and about integrating prisoners into the wider community through an emphasis on reconciliation between victim and criminal. It represents a new level of engagement with issues of social justice by medievalists and provides a highly engaging way into studying the middle ages. All the essays are written so as to be accessible to students, and each is accompanied by a list of further readings.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:49 -0400)

"The word "medieval" is often used in a negative way when talking about contemporary issues. Why the Middle Ages Matter refreshes our thinking about this historical era, and our own, by looking at some pressing concerns from today's world, asking how these issues were really handled in the medieval period, and showing why the past matters now. The contributors here cover topics such as torture, animal rights, marriage, sexuality, imprisonment, refugees, poverty and end of life care. They focus on a variety of regions, from North Africa and the Middle East, through Western and Central Europe, to the British Isles. This collection challenges many negative stereotypes relating to medieval people, revealing a world from which, for instance, much could be learned about looking after the spiritual needs of the dying, and about integrating prisoners into the wider community through an emphasis on reconciliation between victim and criminal"--Back cover.… (more)

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