England from 1000-1200 Intellectual - Research Paper Example

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Last Name, First Name Paper England from 1000 -1200 — intellectual. The period from 1000-1200 in England marks the shift from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages. At this time the country was experiencing waves of invasion from Vikings and other Scandinavian groups, and large areas were ruled by Danish Kings…
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England from 1000-1200 Intellectual
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"England from 1000-1200 Intellectual"

The key intellectual figures of the day were mostly churchmen, because the Christian Church in those days was where education and scholarly activity took place. One of the most famous thinkers of the eleventh century was Anselm of Canterbury, who brought Italian ideas for monastic reform from his homeland in Italy. Some techniques and approaches borrowed from Aristotle and other classical authors were put to good use in arguing theological points against ideas regarded by the mainstream church as heretical, and against other religions like Judaism and Islam. This was an age when people started applying logic to their faith, and thinking more deeply about grammar and language. Latin was, of course, the preferred language for scholarly writings, but French was increasingly spoken by the upper classes because of the royal family’s preference for this elite language rather than the rough and ready English that ordinary people spoke. Anselm’s many writings used human logic, but put it to the service of faith: “The role of rational argument is to clarify the truth of what we believe, not to establish it in the first place.”i Scholars were questioning the basis of key doctrines, like for example arguments to prove the existence of God, in order to be clear about what they were teaching. This paves the way for later thinking, which became secular, even though in the middle ages the arguments mostly deferred to the Christian mainstream doctrines. In 1085 the famous Doomsday book was started, and this was a massive survey document which listed all the lands and assets that belonged to William the Conqueror. This task required a team of educated scribes to note down all the details, and it demonstrated a new interest in ensuring that taxes were gathered in to fund the royal lifestyle and various wars and projects that he was interested in. This book shows how important Churches were in society, since the land was parceled up into parishes and how much wealth was stored there and was one of the first examples of civil servants doing their job of keeping track of the country’s wealth, using their own language and demonstrating a knowledge of secretarial skills. In 1096 Oxford University was founded, and this was the start of a new form of learning organization which was independent, and able to set its own academic standards. It was modeled on the craft guilds, which put undergraduates to work much in the same way as apprentices learned a trade.ii Scholars used to travel to the great cities of Europe like Paris, Oxford and Salerno to learn from the most famous teachers of the day. The subject of rhetoric, or the art of fine speaking based on classical authors such as Cicero was a favorite in this period, and the liberal arts curriculum developed out of a combination of Christian and classical textbooks. Oxford specialized in philology (the study of languages) while others had different specializations such Salerno, where medicine was a priority.iii Reflection When reading about the history of ideas in England in the eleventh and twelfth centuries it is clear that the Church still has a large influence on what is taught at a basic level, but the arrival of the universities is important because it allows a separate place for thinking and discussing to take place. An important function is then not just teaching, but also research, and although there is still a strongly Christian flavor to what it studied, there is also an opportunity for mixing of Read More
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