Middle Ages, Dark Ages and pre-modern "straight" fantasy

Robyn Starkey robyns at corplink.com.au
Tue Aug 15 08:26:03 EDT 2000


>And all this at a time when universities, or their equivalents, were 
>taking the
>dark ages (what's the adjective from Dark Ages, anyway?) view of knowledge 
>to be
>kept secret and preserved from corruption.  So science and philosophy didn't
>progress much - arguably they regressed, with Aristotle's views being taken on
>so enthusiastically by the Church at that time! - while technology was leaping
>ahead.

Hmmm. As a medievalist, I have to take issue with this one. Knowledge 
didn't need to be kept secret or preserved from corruption, but there was a 
view from certain church authorities that knowledge that was not strictly 
necessary for salvation could be dangerous and lead people in the wrong 
path. If you scratch the surface of this stated piece of doctrine, you can 
uncover a whole lot of fairly seedy reasons why it might be in the best 
interests of those in power to promote such an idea. But I would have to 
say that there is also quite a bit of evidence to suggest that people who 
were questing after knowledge were not always following the church's party 
line, either.

Robyn
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