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Introduction: Types And Functions Of Meditation In The Transition From Late Medieval To Early Modern Intellectual Culture

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book, Meditatio : refashioning the self : theory and practice in late medieval and early modern intellectual culture, which examines the forms and functions, ways and means of meditation in the late medieval and early modern period, c. 1300c. 1600. In practice, meditation often consisted of internal exercises that mobilized the sensitive faculties of motion, emotion, and sense (both external and internal) and the intellective faculties of reason, memory, and will, with a view to reforming the soul. Meditation possesses an ancient pedigree, as Pierre Hadot has amply demonstrated in articles and monographs on the Stoic, Epicurean, and Neo-Platonic philosophies. Paul Smith discusses how the process of self-reflection and meditation takes shape in the works of two of the greatest writers of French literature, Montaigne and Rousseau, both of whom worked on large and extremely influential autobiographical projects.

Keywords: early modern intellectual culture; late medieval culture; meditation



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