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
3. Like produces like
4. The nature of property
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.