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The Medieval Discovery of Nature

  • Combines subjects usually separated: biology, theology and economics
  • Written for the non-specialist, using a wide variety of sources

By: Stephen A Epstein(Author)

208 pages, 1 b/w illustration

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Nov 2012 | #212565 | ISBN-13: 9781107026452
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £84.99 $108/€95 approx

About this book

The Medieval Discovery of Nature examines the relationship between humans and nature that evolved in medieval Europe over the course of a millennium. From the beginning, people lived in nature and discovered things about it. Ancient societies bequeathed to the Middle Ages both the Bible and a pagan conception of natural history. These conflicting legacies shaped medieval European ideas about the natural order and what economic, moral and biological lessons it might teach. The Medieval Discovery of Nature analyzes five themes found in medieval views of nature – grafting, breeding mules, original sin, property rights and disaster – to understand what some medieval people found in nature and what their assumptions and beliefs kept them from seeing.


1. The discovery of nature
2. Mules
3. Like produces like
4. The nature of property
5. Disaster


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Steven A. Epstein is the Ahmanson-Murphy Distinguished Professor of Medieval History at the University of Kansas. He is the author of numerous articles and six books, including Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528, Speaking of Slavery: Color, Ethnicity, and Human Bondage in Italy and An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 1000-1500.

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