At the beginning of the twelfth century a group of scholars, mainly centred on Paris and Bologna, began an enterprise of unprecedented scope. Their intention was to produce a once-and-for-all 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. Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe reconsiders this enterprise, and its long-term effects on European History. It describes the creative intellectual impulse that brought it into being and sustained it for two centuries, and shows how it was able to bring into existence a systematic body of knowledge of the natural and supernatural worlds, including the whole area of human relations, which together embraced all areas of possible truth and defined the conduct required of all members of western Christendom. The whole work will be in three volumes. This first is concerned with the beginnings, in the years between 1060 and 1160, when the main lines of scholastic thought were laid down and its agenda established.
It examines the intellectual principles of enquiry and the sources used in developing the whole field of assured knowledge. It seeks to provide an understanding of the new outlook on the world, the supernatural and an organized Christian society, and to show why this proved so powerful and so attractive to the time. The book explores the social, intellectual, and political developments that provided the conditions to create the new system in the great schools of learning in France and Italy, and the rewards that attracted experts who could both administer the system and make it known and acceptable to the generality of people whose lives were affected by it. Elegantly written, enlivened with wit and vivid anecdote, Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe will be a work of seminal importance for the understanding of the civilization of the Middle Ages, and of the evolution of modern European societies.