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More On Early Science In Europe

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Posted by Harvey on September 18, 2002 01:14:57 UTC


I have an opportunity to cite a few developments in pre-Islamic Europe (referencing "The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages", Edward Grant, Cambridge University Press, 1996):

- In the late 700's, Charlemagne mandated that all cathedrals and monasteries establish schools to educate the clergy

- By late 900's and 1000's teaching masters emerge throughout Europe (e.g., Gerbert of Aurillac (ca. 946-1003) who became Pope Sylvester II (999-1003), Adalberon of Laon, John of Auxerre, Thierry of Chartres, Fulbert of Chartres, Peter Abelard), William of Chonches, Clarenbald of Arras, and John of Salisbury)

- In the 1100's, William of Conchos says the following (which was held in agreement by many of his contempories):

"Ignorant themselves of the forces of nature and wanting to have company in their ignorance, they don't want people to look into anything; they want us to believe like peasants and not to ask the reason behind things... But we say that the reason behind everything should be sought out... If they learn that anyone is so inquiring, they shout that he is a heretic, placing more reliance on their monkish garb than on their wisdom" (Translated in Chenu: Nature, Man, and Society in the Twelfth Century; Essays on New Theological Perspectives in the Latin West, 1968).

- In 1025 two cathedral schools in France conducted a math contest.

- Finally, barbarian invasions end in the eleventh century (which were on-going since the 5th century)

- Universities begin in the eleventh century which evolved from monastery schools.

One interesting point that the author mentions is that the Church in the Middle Ages had a concept of Church as separate from State which goes back to Jesus' words and Christian tradition that Church and State should be separate. This might have had the largest impact for Europe's destiny since theocracies are perhaps the single most negative impact to science.

Warm regards, Harv

Warm regards, Harv

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