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Chapter 15 - History at the Universities: Oxford, Cambridge, and Paris

from Part II - Place

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 December 2019

Jennifer Jahner
Affiliation:
California Institute of Technology
Emily Steiner
Affiliation:
University of Pennsylvania
Elizabeth M. Tyler
Affiliation:
University of York
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Summary

Given its absence from the university curriculum and the apparent indifference of ‘scholasticism’ to the subject, it has been assumed that medieval university scholars neither wrote nor read history. Although the universities were indeed not centres of historical writing, several friars and monks who had studied at university did write history, and many university alumni owned historical works and donated them to their college and university libraries. Moreover, evidence for university scholars’ interest in history increases considerably when one discards the modern historicist/positivist definition of historiography and regards it instead as its medieval readers did, as encompassing texts about past deeds and sayings which offered timeless moral and practical lessons. This chapter argues that university scholars’ reading and writing of history was closely tied to their interest in the classics and devotion to pastoral care. It also identifies the historical works at the universities and their owners and donors.

Type
Chapter
Information
Medieval Historical Writing
Britain and Ireland, 500–1500
, pp. 258 - 276
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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