The reopening of the Western mind : the resurgence of intellectual life from the end of antiquity to the dawn of the Enlightenment

by Freeman, Charles, 1947-

Format: Print Book 2023
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 3 copies
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Allegheny Non-Fiction Collection CB351.F726 2023x
Location  CLP - Allegheny
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  CB351.F726 2023x
Unavailable (2)
Location Collection Status
CLP - Main Library First Floor - New Non-fiction CHECKED OUT
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - New Non-fiction
Cooper-Siegel Community Library New Books CHECKED OUT
Location  Cooper-Siegel Community Library
Collection  New Books
A monumental and exhilarating history of European thought from the end of Antiquity to the beginning of the Enlightenment--500 to 1700 AD--tracing the arc of intellectual history as it evolved, setting the stage for the modern era. With more than 140 illustrations; 90 in full-color.

Charles Freeman, lauded historical scholar and author of The Closing of the Western Mind ("A triumph"-- The Times [London]), explores the rebirth of Western thought in the centuries that followed the demise of the classical era. As the dominance of Christian teachings gradually subsided over time, a new open-mindedness made way for the ideas of morality and theology, and fueled and formed the backbone of the Western mind of the late Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and beyond.

In this wide-ranging history, Freeman follows the immense intellectual development that culminated in the Enlightenment, from political ideology to philosophy and theology, as well as the fine arts and literature. He writes, in vivid detail, of how Europeans progressed from the Christian-minded thinking of Saint Augustine to the more open-minded later scholars, such as Michel de Montaigne, leading to a broader, more "humanist" way of thinking.

He explores how the discovery of America fundamentally altered European conceptions of humanity, religion, and science; how the rise of Protestantism and the Reformation profoundly influenced the tenor of politics and legal systems, with enormous repercussions; and how the radical Christianity of philosophers such as Spinoza affected a rethinking of the concept of religious tolerance that has influenced the modern era ever since.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Freeman considers a thousand years of medieval and Renaissance thought, continuing his broad-spectrum, multivolume inquiry into the dynamics of Christianity and rational thought that he launched two decades ago with The Closing of the Western Mind (2003). Freeman observes that, as of 1100, there were still few ancient Greek and Latin texts available to Europeans, and they were of questionable veracity, including Etymologies by sixth-century scholar Isodore of Seville, which was "second only to the Bible as the most widely read book of the Middle Ages." Freeman also questions conventional historical narratives. The Reformation, he provocatively suggests, was less of a breakthrough for intellectual liberty than it was a fragmentation resulting in similarly intolerant species of Christianity. Yet Freeman's project has brightened and become more nuanced. He again praises Thomas Aquinas as the culmination of classical thought in the late-medieval era, but he also considers the even greater paradigm shifts stimulated by the exploration of the New World. Besides being hugely thought-provoking, this inquiry is a transparently personal work built around particular geographies, thinkers, and epiphanies that have animated Freeman's rich intellectual life."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Historian Freeman (The Closing of the Western Mind) skillfully plows through substantial ground in this doorstop of an intellectual history of Western Europe. Freeman traces key shifts in intellectual development from the end of the Roman Empire in 500 CE to the early Enlightenment, including theological, philosophical, political, and artistic arcs, meticulously following the threads of classical Greek and Roman thinkers as they became woven into the fabric of Western thought, from Thomas Aquinas's embrace of Aristotle to Italian Renaissance humanists' revival of Plato. Freeman also reminds readers of the gap in transmission of thought during early medieval times, when few written texts existed to preserve knowledge. As well, readers are guided through the development of the printing press, which the author notes revolutionized the transmission of knowledge (though didn't immediately allow for flourishing intellectual thought), and how the Catholic church "reasserted itself globally" beginning in the 16th century, with Freeman drawing on a dizzying number of sources (and including color illustrations plus an extensive bibliography). General readers may be overwhelmed by the breadth and depth, but specialists will delight in the considered, comprehensive details of Western European triumphs, discoveries, and setbacks. As ambitious as it is informative, this will have historians of all stripes rapt. (Feb.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Civilization, Medieval.
Civilization, Modern.
Europe -- Intellectual life.
Europe -- Civilization.
Publisher New York :Alfred A. Knopf,2023
Edition First American edition.
Other Titles Awakening
Language English
Notes Originally published as: The awakening : a history of the western mind AD500-1700. London : Apollo, 2020.
"This is a Borzoi Book"--Title page verso.
Description 803 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 746-755) and index.
ISBN 9780525659365
Other Classic View