In this pioneering work Jacques Le Goff examines both the creation of the medieval universities in the great cities of the European High Middle Ages, and the linked origins of the intellectuals - the first Europeans since the Classic Age to owe their livelihoods to their teaching and accumulation of knowledge.
The author's argument is that the intellectuals, Abelard most typically, were a new category of person (neither monk nor knight) with a new method (scholastic dialectic) and a new objective (knowledge for its own sake). For the first time in Spain, France, England and Germany the luxury of thinking and learning ceased to be the limited preserve of the higher echelons of the Church and the Court. The effect, the author shows, was to bring about an irreversible shift in European culture.
This intellectual history of medieval Europe (translated from the revised French edition of 1984) will be widely welcomed by students and scholars of the Middle Ages throughout the English-speaking world.
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