The compass as predicate to medieval models of thought
Mock, Timothy John.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2008.; Includes bibliographical references. This thesis deconstructs medieval illuminations as a means of identifying an instrumental awareness on the part of their authors. Such a deconstruction may alter our awareness of the historical process of transition from a symbolic, Medieval mindset to an analytical, Enlightenment mindset. Prevailing attitudes regarding the supposed scientific ignorance of the Middle Ages may be productively countered, as well.; It is observed that at the outset of the 1400's, analytical models of thought begin to inform biblical illuminations at the expense of purely symbolic readings of text, especially within the Workshop of the Boucicaut Master. An interpretation of Genesis 1-2:3 as a veiled expression of the division of a circle into six equal parts by its radius (rather than a simple sanctification of empirical time or a proto-scientific exposition) is the most common expression of an analytical model allying itself with a rhetorical model. This interpretation also represents an initial departure from what Richard Krautheimer has observed to be a purely symbolic understanding of both Holy Scripture and the world at large. Other examples presented serve to describe general tendencies of human interpretative mechanism.; Interpretive mechanics are discussed at the outset of the thesis in order to establish a functional matrix of human thought. With respect to Rhetorical thought, Analytical thought is described as possessing a different economy of terms. Further, the instruments of thought creation (the pen and the compass) are discussed as essential delimiters of experience, serving to reduce perception from total Gestalt, but also to regulate perception within a frenetic Gestalt.; By recognizing phenomena of mind in historical discussions, the grand debate between "Science"; and "Religion"; is found to be, more often than not, a distinction of economy. Geometrical knowing is discovered to be an essential predicate to philosophical and religious notions of truth. Ironically, the supposed scientific ignorance of the Middle Ages seems to confirm this perception.
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