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4 The Art of Memory and Forgetting: The Judeo-Andalusi and Scholastic Traditions

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Chapter Summary

The Hellenistic and Christian scholastic traditions have long been associated with such so-called arts of memory, and the construction of elaborate systems of mnemotechniques survived in a series of manuals that are, in their majority, from fifteenth- and sixteenth-century France, England and Italy. The existence of the art of memory in MS Parm. 2666 helps to fill the void, offering a testimony to the circulation and use of such mnemotechniques in Iberia. This chapter explores how memory training was central not only in the Christian scholastic world of the later Middle Ages, but also among Iberian Jewish scholars. The art is one of the series of texts concerned with wisdom and prudence included in MS Parm. 2666. The medieval arts of memory had their origins in a handful of classical texts that describe the now familiar mnemotechniques according to which the content to be remembered is associated with images.

Keywords: art of memory; Iberia; mnemotechniques; MS Parm. 2666; scholastic traditions



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