Many thanks to those of you who have contributed ideas and thoughts to some of the threads we have going. I encourage you to get involved!
One of the things I have noticed over the years teaching medieval lit, is the tendency we have today to evaluate the medieval period through the lens of modern (or rather post-modern) thinking and ideology. We have to very careful, if we are truly to understand medieval literature and thinking, NOT to subject the complex and sophisticated thinking of medieval authors to this modern interpretation. Here are some examples of common misconceptions:
(1) Medieval people had no science and were superstitious
One of the key observations in this article is the way in which the Medieval period has been vilified following the Protestant Reformation and (self-aggrandizing) "Renaissance".
(2) The Catholic Church in the Medieval period was anti-science.
(3) Medieval people were prudish about sex, because they were Christian.
We've covered this at length in the forum here and lesson materials, so hopefully you will see the error of this thinking now!
(4) The Church was all-powerful and controlled every aspect of people's lives.
While it is true that most Europeans were Catholic in the Middle Ages, the power of the Church was often very weak and overruled by monarchs and governments. The Catholic faith had a huge influence on people's thinking, but this should not be equated with a blanket authoritarianism. Consider for example, the "Avignon Papacy":
That's a good bit of reading for the weekend! We will cover more "modern interpretations" of the medieval period next week!