What new cultures of knowledge and spirituality developed in the high Middle Ages? What relationships existed between philosophical knowledge and mystical knowledge, and why were both so powerful during this period?
Answer these questions (and the appropriate sub-questions) using ONE of the following sources:
A) Peter Abelard, The Story of My Misfortunes (c. 1132)
What do we learn about the culture of learning and knowledge in the twelfth century through Abelard’s account? How is knowledge acquired, distributed, and defended? What issues does Abelard want to discuss, and why is he attacked?
B) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (1273)
Summarize some part of Aquinas’ argument for the existence of a God. What is Aquinas trying to do in this excerpt? How does he approach the problem, and what does this reveal about the culture of knowledge in the thirteenth century?
C) Hadewijch of Brabant, Letters and Poems (1200-1240)
How does Hadewijch define and explain her mystic experiences and relationship with God? Many late medieval mystics were female; can we analyze Hadewijch’s writings in terms of gender? Comparing her writings to others we have read, why do you think lay mystics (particularly female ones) might have been objects of suspicion?
[It might also be helpful to look at the optional reading on mystics I posted in my blog , though not required.]
Remember to situate your source historically and to informally cite it.