Skip to main content

Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, Volume I: Foundations



Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, Volume I: Foundations

R. W. Southern (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-631-20527-2 September 1997 Wiley-Blackwell 364 Pages


to produce a definitive body of knowledge that would be as perfect as humanity's fallen state permits, and which would provide a view of God, nature, and human conduct, promoting order in this world and blessedness in the next.

List of Maps and Plates.

Abbreviations and Short Titles.

Two Preliminary Maps.



1 Scholastic Humanism.

I Contrasting types of humanism.

II Characteristic features of scholastic humanism.

III The problem of the natural sciences.

IV Summits of success.

V The regulation of social life.

VI The loss of hope.

2 Chartrian Humanism: A Romantic Misconception.

I Introduction.

II Humanism and the School of Chartres.

III Replies to critics.

3 The Sovereign Textbook of the Schools: The Bible.

I The qualities of the Bible in scholastic thought.

II Methods of investigation.

III Bringing the message of the schools to the world.

4 Social and Political Roots of Scholastic Thought.

I Pre-scholastic and scholastic Europe.

II The new symbiosis of schools and government.

III The schools, society and the individual.

IV The schools and the papacy.

5 The Men and their Rewards.

I Scholars of the world.

II Ancients and Moderns.

III The new age.

IV The glory and gossip of the schools.

6 The Scholastic Metropolis of Northern Europe.

I Old institutions: new needs.

II Stages in the triumph of Paris.

III Conclusion.

IV Appendix – A schedule of Parisian masters.


7 The Outlook in Northern Europe.

I Truth and truth-enforcement.

II Law and society in northern Europe.

III Summits of northern European legal scholarship, c. 1050–1120.

IV Federalism v. centralization.

8 The Outlook in Northern Italy.

I Cultural potentialities and limitations.

II Irnerius and the menace of Roman law.

9 The Integration of Doctrine and Law: Gratian.

I Demand and response.

II The man and his work.

III The originality of his work.

IV Method of work and date of compilation.

V Gratian’s change of mind about Roman law.

VI The personality behind the work.

VII Did Gratian teach canon law?

VIII The first masterpiece of scholastic humanism.

IX Time and Place reviewed.


"Here the 'practical, intellectual and spiritual aspects' of twelfth-century history are discussed by a historian whose knowledge of the period and mastery of the art of writing are almost without equal." History Today <!--end-->

"The combination of synthesis with fresh and vivid work on detail is one of Southern's particular gifts ...The proportions of the book will fit harmoniously into the overarching structure outlined at the start of the book, but this volume can also stand just as well on its own - already a classic." Reviews in History

"The recovery of scholasticism therefore calls for two qualities: technical expertise, and lucidity of thought and expression. No historian combines these qualities more conspicuously than R.W. Southern." Times Literary Supplement

"This book is more than a synthesis of a life's work on twelfth-century Western culture by Britain's greatest medievalist - it is the most important book in recent decades on the twelfth-century renaissance and its significance. This is a book to be treasured and reflected upon for years to come." Norman F. Cantor, New York University

"That such a sweeping vision is expressed so lucidly, while simultaneously conveying the human details and experience of the period with a combination of sensitivity and scholarly rigour, justifies the description by its first reviewers: 'masterpiece.'" Journal of Ecclesiastical History

* A compelling, original book which will redefine our perceptions of medieval civilization - and of the renaissance and the evolution of modern Europe.
* Possibly the best book by a man who is widely regarded as the greatest medieval historian.