Medieval times - A enlightened era…

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skakos
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Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by skakos » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:55 pm

Many people refer to the Middle Ages as a “dark” era. But why do they say that?

The main reason is that during these ages research in sciences like mathematics, geometry, astronomy et cetera was not so intense as, e.g., in the era before Christ. But is that really bad? Do we need cold geometry more than divine inspiration? Do we need raw mathematics more than the acknowledgement of our higher essence? Do we need astronomy more than a reason to look at the stars?

Why is research in more humanistic issues “bad” and does not constitute “progress”? Why is the Enlightenment… “light”? Don’t forget that history is written by the winners. And the winners in this case were crude enough to verify their win by naming their era with a name which is synonym to Light!

Any thoughts are more than welcome!

thedoc
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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by thedoc » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:09 pm

Much of the 'Dark' in the dark ages did not come from the sciences being studied less intently, but from active suppression by the church because it was believed that some scientific findings would contradict what the church was claiming. And in fact when the study of science finally broke free of the influence of the church there were many discoveries that did contradict what the organized church had been claiming. It should be noted that the contradictions were with what the church was claiming, which was often a misinterpretation of scripture, and not a contradiction with scripture itself. It should also be noted that much of scripture had been rewritten to align with church teaching and varied from the actual teachings of God.

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skakos
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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by skakos » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:36 am

You forget an important thing: The church taught what was the SCIENCE of that era... However I more focus to the fact that humanitarian sciences progressed much during this era. And this is something we really miss today.

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HexHammer
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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by HexHammer » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:37 pm

@ skakos

You are dead wrong, the mother church burned heretics daring postulate that the Earth was orbiting the sun, such nonsens! Everybody knew that the perfect Earth was the center of the universe!

Ever heard about the Inqusition where they burned heretics doing magic, even if one did objective good deeds such as healing wounds, it was considerd herecy, so all medical knowledge belonged to God, not humans.

It was a time with superstision and stupidity, not much different thatn philosophers today.

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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by Skip » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:20 pm

skakos wrote:Many people refer to the Middle Ages as a “dark” era. But why do they say that?
Candles - expensive and taxed - for the rich; grimy oil lamps for the late-labouring artisan; smoky rush torches or no illumination at all for the poor; moonlight for the peasants....

....who got whipped and trampled a lot by their mounted betters, barely scratched out a living and had most of that tithed away by landlord and church, slept on louse-ridden straw next to their livestock and believed in every-scary-thing from gnomes to archangels with flaming swords, from the evil eye to demonic possession and witches...

.... who had an even worse time, never mind that most of them were innocent, well-intentioned herbalist midwives, often the only source of medical care* for those self-same peasants who so delighted in their occasional ducking and burning...

... * except itinerant barbers and leeches and charismatic healers, who, if anything, were even filthier than their patients, given that their migrant lifestyle often obliged them to sleep in byres but offered few laundry or bathing facilities...

... even in the town and cities, where sewage flowed freely down the central gutter of every street, uninhibited drunks vomited, draft animals defecated and both urinated at will; plague-bearing rats scampered about and multiplied unimpeded...

....by cats, which, being unlucky and associated with witchcraft, were abhorred, often tortured, persecuted and hunted (and sometimes eaten) to near extinction...

....which was bad news for the granaries upon which all citizens depended for bare sustenance during the winter, bad harvest years, quarantine and sieges in war-time...

... which was quite a lot of the time, what with all the rival kings, dukes, princes, counts, bishops and the bastard children of legitimate - and not quite so legitimate - rulers who figured they had a shot at the draughty palace...

... where the poorly preserved art and literature was nowhere close in quality to the naughty classical stuff that triumphant Christians had smashed and burned with gleeful righteousness.

Other than that, almost paradisiacal.
.... Do we need cold geometry more than divine inspiration?
Only if we want the doors to close and the floor to be level.
Do we need raw mathematics more than the acknowledgement of our higher essence?
Only if we expect the correct change for a dollar. Or the agreed-on recompense for our labours.
Do we need astronomy more than a reason to look at the stars?
Only if it matters whether we land at New York or Barcelona.
Why is research in more humanistic issues “bad” and does not constitute “progress”?
Economics and political "science" get researched, without showing appreciable progress. Does that help?
Why is the Enlightenment… “light”?
en - light - en - ment ---- there it is!
Don’t forget that history is written by the winners.
What are your references for this?

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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by thedoc » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:50 pm

skakos wrote:You forget an important thing: The church taught what was the SCIENCE of that era... However I more focus to the fact that humanitarian sciences progressed much during this era. And this is something we really miss today.

The church taught religious dogma based on the literal reading and misinterpretation of the Bible. The church also suppressed anything that might have contradicted the established dogma, which was often wrong. What the church taught as science was a regression from the knowledge gained by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Much of the technological knowledge was lost because of superstitions based on the teachings of the church in the 'Dark Ages'.

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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:03 pm

skakos wrote:Many people refer to the Middle Ages as a “dark” era. But why do they say that?

The main reason is that during these ages research in sciences like mathematics, geometry, astronomy et cetera was not so intense as, e.g., in the era before Christ. But is that really bad? Do we need cold geometry more than divine inspiration? Do we need raw mathematics more than the acknowledgement of our higher essence? Do we need astronomy more than a reason to look at the stars? ...
Why did you ask a question if you thought you knew the answer?

The reason why historians coined the phrase 'The Dark Age' is because after the fall of Rome there was for a long time little in the way of historical records. That the non-historian has interpreted the phrase to suit their beliefs is just one of the problems of an unphilosophical training.

In answer to the rest of your questions the answer is, in the main, yes!

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skakos
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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by skakos » Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:04 pm

HexHammer wrote:@ skakos

You are dead wrong, the mother church burned heretics daring postulate that the Earth was orbiting the sun, such nonsens! Everybody knew that the perfect Earth was the center of the universe!

Ever heard about the Inqusition where they burned heretics doing magic, even if one did objective good deeds such as healing wounds, it was considerd herecy, so all medical knowledge belonged to God, not humans.

It was a time with superstision and stupidity, not much different thatn philosophers today.
First of all, it depends on which church you refer to. The Orthodox Church did not do the same things as the Catholics.
Secondly, Bruno who was burned was not an advocate of science. He talked more about magic and things that would make you laugh at him...
Thirdly, the case of Galileo is not as clear as you might think. Galileo was not persecuted because he stated some theory (the theory of the heliocentric system existed long BEFORE him without anyone being persecuted) but because he took a stand against a holy book during a highly politically unstable era. Remember that the Pope was a friend of Galileo...
Fourth, the Inquisition was a highly political thing and had nothing to do with the chrurch as a religious insitution. Unless you really believe Christ approved of such things and that those who did them were actually acting in His name.

All in all, astronomy and other sciences were taught by the Chrurch in monasteries. These monasteries later became the universities you now know...

It is hard to acknowledge, but it is the harsh truth...

Oversimpyfying things almost always leads to wrong conclusions...

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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by WanderingLands » Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:46 pm

skakos wrote:Many people refer to the Middle Ages as a “dark” era. But why do they say that?

The main reason is that during these ages research in sciences like mathematics, geometry, astronomy et cetera was not so intense as, e.g., in the era before Christ. But is that really bad? Do we need cold geometry more than divine inspiration? Do we need raw mathematics more than the acknowledgement of our higher essence? Do we need astronomy more than a reason to look at the stars?

Why is research in more humanistic issues “bad” and does not constitute “progress”? Why is the Enlightenment… “light”? Don’t forget that history is written by the winners. And the winners in this case were crude enough to verify their win by naming their era with a name which is synonym to Light!

Any thoughts are more than welcome!
Looking above all of the perceptions of the Middle Ages, I'd say that you may have a point when considering there were the scholastics during that era. However, do you have any sources for me and others to help explore this further?

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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by Sappho de Miranda » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:53 am

The Dark Ages, which mark the fall of the Western Roman Empire, also marks the decline in scholastic education and a rise in illiteracy. Even many, or most in power and leadership could not read or write

Blaggard
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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by Blaggard » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:19 pm

The Middle Ages were a sort of intermediate stage between the dark ages where progress developments in art and culture were slower to a burgeoning intellectual shift in the late part of the Middle ages that started in Italy. I don't think it's right to blame anyone institution for it, war and in fighting in the gap left by the Romans probably has a big part to play as probably does disease and famine. It's odd that the church is responsible for most of the science and scholarly activity in the dark and Middle ages at least, and yet at the same time is responsible for pogroms on development too and culture subjugations of races like Jews. Dumb church politics is alive and well though even now. Apparently according to some Bishops the gays are causing floods, clearly to some the Renaissance never happened and the age of enlightenment is a myth. ;)

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HexHammer
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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by HexHammer » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:17 pm

skakos wrote:
HexHammer wrote:@ skakos

You are dead wrong, the mother church burned heretics daring postulate that the Earth was orbiting the sun, such nonsens! Everybody knew that the perfect Earth was the center of the universe!

Ever heard about the Inqusition where they burned heretics doing magic, even if one did objective good deeds such as healing wounds, it was considerd herecy, so all medical knowledge belonged to God, not humans.

It was a time with superstision and stupidity, not much different thatn philosophers today.
First of all, it depends on which church you refer to. The Orthodox Church did not do the same things as the Catholics.
Secondly, Bruno who was burned was not an advocate of science. He talked more about magic and things that would make you laugh at him...
Thirdly, the case of Galileo is not as clear as you might think. Galileo was not persecuted because he stated some theory (the theory of the heliocentric system existed long BEFORE him without anyone being persecuted) but because he took a stand against a holy book during a highly politically unstable era. Remember that the Pope was a friend of Galileo...
Fourth, the Inquisition was a highly political thing and had nothing to do with the chrurch as a religious insitution. Unless you really believe Christ approved of such things and that those who did them were actually acting in His name.

All in all, astronomy and other sciences were taught by the Chrurch in monasteries. These monasteries later became the universities you now know...

It is hard to acknowledge, but it is the harsh truth...

Oversimpyfying things almost always leads to wrong conclusions...
Gallieo was threaten with burning at the stake for what he wrote, but only because he had powerful backing, was he spared and demanded to be silent about his herecy.

Chatholics and prtotestats burned heretics, so far as I know it's only few orders if any that didn't burn heretics.

You speak random Words, Chirst had nothing to do with it, but a monk writing Malleus Maleficarum, hench my name HexHammer = hammer of the witches.

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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by Blaggard » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:37 pm

I don't know why people keep saying Galileo was threatened with burning at the stake he never was. He was threatened yes, placed under house arrest for the rest of his life (which was probably quite a comfortable existence, with comfy chairs, and a nice cup of tea) he was forced to recant, but he never was told he faced the stake. Catholics did many bad things to heretics though that much is true, and protestants likewise to Catholics in rebuke of their actions.

Oh and by the way a hex is a spell cast on someone, could be witchcraft, often means that but who knows. Hex hammer could be interpreted as spellhammer, the opposite of what you meant. Wyrd hammer might be better or Wicca Hammer, or Cailleach or Bandraoí hammer, if you want to use some old Celtic or Anglo Saxon terms for the wise woman who knows some arcane things. The Wyrding Woman and so on.

Mind you to digress and by the by on Hex's name which seems to be about the dumb Christian ideas of withces: Celtic Witches and Christian Witches are very different things. Celtic Witches were just women learned in herbal lore and the nature of the Celtic faith who were mostly well regarded by the population, although feared, where as Christian Witches were always evil, practicing as they did the dark arts. Pretty much any woman in power that pissed off The Church they could attack, so that the local populace would fall more under the sway of their faith, from Midwives to harmless wise women. Frankly it was a Church myth fabricated to take out figures of authority who might not practice strict Christian values, or worse might have more sway with a local populace than The Church. 'Tis ever and so with the black monks nuncle.

It's also interesting to note that the translation of though shalt not suffer a witch to live in The Bible, should more correctly be rendered as a poisoner to live, although the literally translation actually means nothing about killing anyone, just people who use herbs and those magics therein should not be allowed to prosper. But there you go. So they should probably have gone after the Apothecary as Witches didn't do poisons except in myths, but the Apothecary might... ;)

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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by lancek4 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:28 pm

I would offer my tentative analysis : the 'darkness' was 'history less' in that it was a period in Europe when a particular kind of ideology took hold and was needed of working out. The 'history' was seen to have already played Inthe culmination that was Rome. Such 'reality' (Rome) was the effect of a consciousness of progress where the individual was seen as a catalyst of technology, an agent that brought about technological advance in the State (of reality). When such agency failed, for any number of reasons, the thought of humanity went to itself, to the thinking subject of that State, over the technological ideology that apparently could not hold off that of a proposed lesser technology, namely, the 'barbarians'. History was upset, it did not follow what should have 'made sense'. The world did not end, Rome did not endure, Jesus did not come. So the preoccupation became why this was so. The 'world' stopped, so to speak, so people could get a handle on what happened by investigating the ideology that was working at the time to establish truth, a particular route to knowing what is true.

But this working out neglected the aggregate of humanity. And after a while, the conclusion of the ideological discourse was that it could not be solved. So then people like Descartes found an 'out': a restatement of technological progress based upon now the segregation of the subject and object, the agent by which technology is instated: history 'began again'.

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Re: Medieval times - A enlightened era…

Post by skakos » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:06 pm

The case of Galileo

Regarding the case of Galileo, I have written a small analysis at http://harmonia-philosophica.blogspot.g ... ation.html (see Chapter 8). Galileo was a fraud (no, he did not "invent the telescope") and just tried to install his own kind of dogmatism. And he failed. He did not state an opinion. He did not just "say something". He clearly provoked Church in a politically turbulent era. And he got less than what he deserved.

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