Changing Concepts of Nature and Individual Differences in the Late Middle Ages Term Paper

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Changing Concepts of Nature and Individual Differences in the Late Middle Ages

Explore the ways in which the humanities reflect changing concepts of nature and individual differences during the Late Middle Ages. Select specific works to illustrate your view of the changes that have occurred and present explanation of how and why the concepts characterize the period. Make a connection to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome and discuss the changes that are evident.

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It would be too easy to generalize that the ancient Greeks and Romans saw nature as 'good' and that early Christian medieval society did not. Greeks such as Hippocrates celebrated the need to care of the body, while Platonists disdained the value of the material, bodily world in contrast to the heavenly sphere of the 'forms.' Roman Stoics stressed mastery of the body as a way of becoming more harmonious with the natural world and strove not to counteract humanity's innate sense of balance with nature but the Roman army mastered nature by constructing mighty aqueducts. Later, while Christian ascetics mortified their physical bodies, the natural world could not be rejected entirely by Christians as God had created the world, thus the world must be good, even if humanity was fallen. In fact, the stress upon physical relics that signified the miracles and presence of the saints in the material world were not unlike the religious significance given to the corporal body in Ancient Egypt. Of course, the body itself did not ascend to heaven in Christian belief, as it did according to the pagan, Egyptian belief system. However, the stress upon creating beautiful tombs to enclose the physical remains of the dead is analogous to Egyptian attitudes.

Term Paper on Changing Concepts of Nature and Individual Differences in the Late Middle Ages Assignment

Thus, the divide in human thought regarding the individual and nature is not as clear as one might be tempted to assume. Particularly during the late, as opposed to the early Middle Ages, there was a revivification in the interest shown towards the classical world, and learning which was part of a new respect for the individual and an acceptance of the natural sciences. For example, the early Christian philosopher Augustine wrote that although God had created the universe "as nebulous matter, within which lay 'primal seeds'" that "grew and developed into the universe and its life forms, guided by the natural laws that God had laid down...investigation and debate about such matters was not encouraged in the early Middle Ages; Augustine himself wrote, 'Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand'"… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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