Term Paper: Consider the Influence of Christianity on Medieval Western Literature

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Medieval Literature and Christian Themes

The Influence of Christianity on Literature in Medieval Europe

The influence of Christianity on Western literature in the medieval period of world history is significant enough to warrant review and analysis. This paper will address and put into perspective some of those influences - which are found in several published books and journals.

In fact, when one thinks about influential writings in Medieval Europe, the most popular book in that time period - not just the most popular religious book but also the most popular book per se - according to well-known American artist and author Jan Richardson, was the Book of Hours. This classic book empowered ordinary readers who were Christians to "keep a similar rhythm of prayer" with monks, nuns, and priests while they were loyal to the "liturgy of the hours," according to Richardson, writing in the journal the Other Side (Richardson 2003).

The "liturgy of the hours" reflected the eight different times during each day and evening that a prayer (called "offices") service was held. So, Richardson writes, observing the prayer moments in the same way that clergy observed those same daily prayer moments "helped [citizens] remember the presence of God throughout the day and night." In the Book of Hours there was a section called "Horns of the Virgin," which offered prayers "in honor of Mary." Richardson writes that the "brilliant paintings found in the Book of Hours are more than illustrations"; each illumination provides its own "revelations" and urges readers to "enter the story." scholarly look into the influence of Christianity on literature in Medieval Germany is found in the narrative, "Introduction to Anthropology" on the Notre Dame University Anthropology Web site (www.nd.edu/~gantho/anth1-163/introduction10-12.html).Medieval literature in Germany is usually broken down into several categories, the Introduction reports; the alignment that encompasses the first stages of Medieval Germany is the "Old High German period." According to the Notre Dame narrative, a great majority of the literature in the Old High German period that is still available are "Christian didactic works," relating to the conversion of Germanic Tribes to Christianity, and works "concerning the creed and confessions of sin."

Although the great literary "masterpieces" of Medieval Germany "often lack specific Christian references," the Notre Dame Introduction to Anthropology continues, "the impact of religious values is always present." In the book, the City of God, Christian concepts of "virtue and vice and interlaced with ingredients of a knight's courtly behavior. The Notre Dame narrative admits that there is "controversy among scholars" today as to whether some works which are not "obviously moral or didactic in tone" are expressing "normal medieval" ways of approaching subjects. Still, that having been said, it would be "equally questionable," the narrative asserts, to imagine that any literature, "however secular in conception," could have been written without being permeated by "the prevailing intellectual climate, which was thoroughly Christian."

And precisely what was the popular medieval religious culture - what were the thinkers thinking and how did people behave? - in terms of the prevailing intellectual climate in medieval England? That is a question that is much debated by literary scholars, such as Thomas D. Hill, whose essay for the Society for the Study of Mediaeval Languages and Literature points out… [END OF PREVIEW]

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/consider-influence-christianity-medieval/4741838.