The Twelfth-Century Renaissance: A Reader

The Twelfth-Century Renaissance: A Reader

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Edited by Alex J. Novikoff
Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2016
World Rights
480 Pages
ISBN 9781442605466
Published Dec 2016
ISBN 9781442634244
Published Dec 2016
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442605480
Published Dec 2016
Full purchase $39.95
ebook (PDF format)
ISBN 9781442605473
Published Dec 2016
Full purchase $39.95

The twelfth century was a time of new ideas and creative innovation spurred on by patron-monarchs like King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, poets like Marie de France and Chrétien de Troyes, lovers and intellectuals like Abelard and Heloise, and religious thinkers like Bernard of Clairvaux and Hildegard of Bingen.

In his thoughtful introduction, Novikoff explores the term "twelfth-century renaissance" and whether or not it should be applied to a range of thinkers with differing outlooks and attitudes. With reference to this ongoing historiographical debate, Novikoff embraces the harmony of disharmonies and allows the authors of the twelfth century to define the period for themselves. He situates classic works against a broad backdrop of other sources, many appearing in translation for the first time, in order to highlight the period's diverse currents of thought. Sixteen black-and-white images are included.

Alex J. Novikoff teaches medieval history at Fordham University, where he has also served as the associate chair and director of undergraduate studies at the Center for Medieval Studies. He is the author of The Medieval Culture of Disputation: Pedagogy, Practice, and Performance (2013) and articles on medieval intellectual and cultural history, historiography, and interfaith relations. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain and a recipient of the Berlin Prize.


Part 1: Themes

Chapter One: Spiritual Renewal and the Formation of Theology
1. Two Texts on the Eucharist Controversy
    a. Lanfranc, On the Body and Blood of the Lord
    b. Alberic of Monte Cassino, Against Berengar, On the Body and Blood of the Lord
2. Proving God: Anselm's Ontological Argument
3. Bernard of Clairvaux on Loving God
4. The Premonstratensian Challenge to Traditional Monasticism
    a. Anselm of Havelberg, Apologetic Letter
    b. Philip of Harvengt, On the Knowledge of Clerics
5. Cistercian Spirituality: Aelred of Rievaulx's Dialogue on the Soul
6. Hildegard of Bingen's Heavenly Visions
    a. Letter to Bernard of Clairvaux
    b. Book of Divine Works
7. The Life of Anastasius of Cluny, Monk and Hermit
8. Peter Abelard's Theology
9. Hugh of St-Victor on Sacred Learning: The Didascalicon
10. A Twelfth-Century Textbook: Peter Lombard's Sentences
11. Reading the Bible: The Glossa Ordinaria

Chapter Two: Schools, Scholars, and the Liberal Arts
12. The Letter of Goswin of Mainz to his Student Walcher
13. Bernard of Chartres: The Socrates of the Twelfth Century
14. The Pedagogical Prologues of Thierry of Chartres
15. Guibert of Nogent Reflects on his Early Education
16. Herman of Tournai Describes his Teacher Odo
17. Peter Abelard, The Story of My Misfortunes
18. The Prologue to Abelard's Sic et Non
19. Three Contemporary Views of Abelard's Teachings
    a. Bernard of Clairvaux's Letter to Pope Innocent II
    b. The Life of Saint Goswin
    c. Otto of Freising, The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa
20. Hugh of St-Victor on Secular Learning: The Didascalicon
21. John of Salisbury's Defense of the Liberal Arts
22. Philip of Harvengt on Clerical and Female Literacy
23. Peter of Blois on Clerics and the Liberal Arts
24. Godfrey of St-Victor: The Fountain of Philosophy
25. Gerald of Wales Satirizes the Study of Dialectic
26. Stephen of Tournai's Invective Against the New Learning
27. The Battle of the Seven Liberal Arts: A Trouvère's Satire on Academia

Chapter Three: Polemical Confrontations with Jews, Muslims, and Heretics
28. Gilbert Crispin's Disputation with a Jew in London
29. Petrus Alfonsi's Dialogue Against the Jews
30. Peter the Venerable on Jews and Judaism
    a. Against the Inveterate Obduracy of the Jews
    b. Letter 130 to the King of France
31. The First Accusation of Ritual Murder: Norwich 1144
32. The Monk Rigord Explains the Reasons for the Expulsion of the Jews
33. Two Jewish Polemics Against Christianity
    a. Joseph Kimhi, Book of the Covenant
    b. Nizzahon Vetus
34. Peter the Venerable's Summa Against the Saracen Heresies
35. Anselm of Havelberg's Disputation with the Greeks in Constantinople
36. Bartholomew of Exeter's Penitential Condemning Superstitions
37. Bernard of Clairvaux's Sermon Against Heresy
38. Disciplinary Decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council

Chapter Four: Establishing a New Order: Government and Law
39. The Constitutions of Clarendon
40. Richard FitzNeal's Dialogue of the Exchequer
41. Law and the Invention of Criminal Homicide
    a. Peace and Truce of God
    b. Huguccio, Summa on Gratian's Decretum
    c. Peter the Chanter, On Cases of Conscience
42. Rogerius, Questions on the Institutes of Justinian
43. Ivo of Chartres's Prologue to his Canonical Collection
44. The Decretists: Commentators on Gratian's Decretum
45. Peter of Blois: A Question Concerning Marriage Law
46. Roman Law and Legal Study in Italy
    a. Letter of Abbot Bernard III of St-Victor, Marseille
    b. Frederick I Barbarossa's Imperial Decree: Habita

Chapter Five: Love and its Discontents
47. Abelard and Heloise Revisit their Love Affair
48. Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love
49. Marie de France's Lay of the Two Lovers
50. Hispano-Arabic Love Poetry: A Source of Lyric Courtly Love?
51. The Troubadours
    a. William IX of Aquitaine, "En Alvernhe part Limozi"
    b. William IX of Aquitaine, "Pos de chanter m'es prez talenz"
    c. Jaufre Rudel, "Lanquan li jorn son lonc en mai"
    d. Bernart de Ventadorn, "Chantars no m pot gaires valer"
    e. Vida of Bernart de Ventadorn
    f. Comtessa de Dia, "Ab joi ab joven m'apais"
52. Love Lyrics from the Carmina Burana
53. The Romance of Tristan and Yseut
54. An Anonymous Lover's Lament
55. Love Songs of the Trouvères and Women Trouvères

Part 2: Genres

Chapter Six: Experimentations in Liturgical and Secular Poetry
56. Hildebert of Lavardin's Hymn on the Trinity
57. The Liturgical Poetry of Adam of St-Victor
58. Anonymous Sequences from St-Victor in Paris
    a. Laudes Crucis
    b. Templum Cordis
59. Marbod of Rennes: Poet of the Loire Valley
60. Poems of Nature and Patriotism
61. The Goliards: Poets of Wine, Women, and Song
62. Three Models of Secular Poetry
63. The Archpoet, Confession of Golias

Chapter Seven: Art and Architecture: Theory and Practice
64. Abbot Suger on the Art Treasures of St-Denis
65. The Monk Theophilus's Treatise on the Diverse Arts
66. Bernard of Clairvaux's Protest Against Distracting Art
67. Herman-Judah and Rupert of Deutz Debate Religious Imagery
68. Peter the Chanter's Critique of Sumptuous Architecture
69. Alexander Neckam Describes Contemporary Arts and Crafts

Chapter Eight: Historical Writing and Romance
70. Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain
71. Wace, The Roman de Brut
72. Galbert of Bruges on the Historical Method
73. Chronicles of the Deeds of the Counts of the Angevins
74. History and Legend of Richard the Lionheart
    a. Richard of Devizes's Chronicle of the Third Crusade
    b. A Song of Richard I
    c. Ambroise's History of the Holy War
75. Otto of Freising, History of the Two Cities
76. Walter Map Describes the Trifles of Courtiers
77. An Anonymous Chronicle of the Dukes and Princes of the Poles
78. Walter of Châtillon, The Alexandreis

Chapter Nine: Medicine, Science, and Translation
79. Medicine at Salerno: An Overview
    a. Master Matthaeus's Description of Constantine the African
    b. From Joannitius, Isagoge
    c. Bartholomew of Salerno, Second Salernitan Demonstration
80. The Trotula: The Salernitan Tradition of Gynecology
81. Petrus Alfonsi Urges the Study of Arab Science
82. The Topography of Arab-Latin Translations
    a. Hugo of Santalla, Art of Geomancy
    b. Preface to Burgundio's Translations of Chrysostom's Commentary on St John's Gospel
    c. The Inscription on Burgundio's Grave
    d. Avendeuth to the Bishop of Toledo
    e. Daniel of Morley, Philosophia
    f. Gerard of Cremona, Vita
    g. Paschalis Romanus, Kyranides
    h. Stephen on Antioch, Preface to the Theorica of the Liber regalis dispositionis
83. A Toledan Translator of Arabic Philosophy
84. Bernard Silvestris, The Cosmographia
85. William of Conches, A Dialogue on Natural Philosophy
86. Henry of Huntingdon's Verse Herbal


Index of Topics

This is easily the most comprehensive, diverse, and interesting array of sources we have ever had on twelfth-century renaissance and reform. Useful and provocative, it will be a joy for teaching.

John Van Engen, University of Notre Dame

Theology and philosophy, law and order, literature and art, science and polemics are brought together in this comprehensive introduction to the wonderfully varied yet paradoxically harmonious world of the twelfth century. Insightfully selected and presented, the primary sources are a 'discordant harmony' of witnesses, texts, and personalities. In this reader, Novikoff has captured the genius of the intellectual culture of this dynamic period of medieval history.

Alexander Andrée, University of Toronto