The Middle Ages span a period of well over a millennium: from the emperor Constantine's Christian conversion in 312 to the early sixteenth century. David Luscombe's clear and accessible history of medieval thought steers a clear path through this long period, beginning with the three greatest influences on medieval philosophy: Augustine, Boethius, and Pseudo-Denis, and focusing on Abelard, Anselm, Aquinas, Ockham, Duns Scotus, and Eckhart among others in the twelfth to fifteenth centuries.
Otto of Freising was one of the most philosophical historians of the Middle Ages who reflected on the position of historical knowledge among the arts. His History of the Two Cities adjusts earlier models of universal history to show, in the light of his interpretation of Daniel’s prophecy in the Old Testament, how far the Roman Empire had declined, a tragedy that nonetheless carried within it signs of progress and divine interventions. His Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa further illustrate Otto’s belief (...) that history teaches philosophical lessons. (shrink)