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Nature, Body And Text In Early Medieval Theology: From Eriugena To Chartres

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Chapter Summary

In order to evaluate the role of the body in the early Middle Ages, both the corporeal and the cosmic body, we should engage in a careful study of the age’s mental tools. The following two aspects prove especially important. Firstly, the story of nature is always one of divine creation, its features betraying a biblical and paradisical character, even as the literal order of Genesis becomes ever more transformed into a grand, cosmological narration. Secondly, due to the fact that it depends entirely on literary models, as the early Christian Hexaemeral pattern remained in place, cosmic analysis in the early Middle Ages was particularly complex. This chapter illustrates the perspective of John the Scot Eriugena’s Periphyseon. It then analyzes both Thierry of Chartres and William’s position on the origin of the cosmos and the creation of the first human beings.

Keywords: Christian Hexaemeral pattern; cosmic body; divine creation; Genesis; John Scottus Eriugena; nature; Periphyseon; Thierry of Chartres; William of Conches



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