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The Medieval Discovery of Nature by Steven A. (University of Kansas) Epstein


The Medieval Discovery of Nature by Steven A. (University of Kansas) Epstein

This book examines the relationship between humans and nature that evolved in medieval Europe over the course of a millennium. From the beginning, people lived in nature and discovered things about it. Ancient societies bequeathed to the Middle Ages both the Bible and a pagan conception of natural history. These conflicting legacies shaped medieval European ideas about the natural order and what economic, moral and biological lessons it might teach. This book analyzes five themes found in medieval views of nature - grafting, breeding mules, original sin, property rights and disaster - to understand what some medieval people found in nature and what their assumptions and beliefs kept them from seeing.


Recommened. -Choice Epstein is a deeply erudite scholar, at home in the main medieval canon of theology, natural philosophy, literature, and law, as well as in obscure but illuminating texts from later medieval Italy, especially Genoa. -Richard C. Hoffmann, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

About the Author

Steven A. Epstein is the Ahmanson-Murphy Distinguished Professor of Medieval History at the University of Kansas. He is the author of numerous articles and six books, including Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528, Speaking of Slavery: Color, Ethnicity, and Human Bondage in Italy and An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 1000-1500.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th April 2018


Steven A. (University of Kansas) Epstein

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Cambridge University Press


217 pages


European history

History of science
Biology, life sciences



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