Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice

書刊名 TitleWhy the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice
作者 AuthorChazelle, Celia, Simon R. Doubleday, Felice Lifshitz, and Amy G. Remensnyder, eds.
出版社 PublisherRoutledge
出版年 Year2011
語言 LanguageEnglish
(10 / 13)
ISBN-10: 0415780659
ISBN-13: 978-0415780650
Bibliography Reference (STC, Duff, GW . . .)
來源網址 Web Linkhttps://goo.gl/kAizHT
評論者 Reviewer郭如蘋
撰寫日期 DateDec. 24, 2016

Ø 書評 Review (中英文不限 Chinese or English) 


                        [Original description]
The word "medieval" is often used in a negative way when talking about contemporary issues. Why the Middle Ages Matter refreshes our thinking about this historical era, and our own, by looking at some pressing concerns from today’s world, asking how these issues were really handled in the medieval period, and showing why the past matters now. The contributors here cover topics such as torture, marriage, sexuality, imprisonment, refugees, poverty, work, the status of women, disability, race, political leadership and end of life care. They focus on a variety of regions, from North Africa and the Middle East, through Western and Central Europe, to the British Isles.

This collection challenges many negative stereotypes of medieval people, revealing a world from which, for instance, much could be learned about looking after the spiritual needs of the dying, and about integrating prisoners into the wider community through an emphasis on reconciliation between victim and criminal. It represents a new level of engagement with issues of social justice by medievalists and provides a highly engaging way into studying the middle ages. All the essays are written so as to be accessible to students, and each is accompanied by a list of further readings.

Celia Chazelle, Ph.D., Yale University, Professor of Early Medieval History and Department Chair of History, the College of New Jersey. Celia Chazelle and Burton Van Name Edwards edited the book The Study of the Bible in the Carolingian Era (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers) in 2003.

Simon R. Doubleday received his B.A. in History (First Class Hons.) from Cambridge University and his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University. His principal area of research is medieval Spanish history; he is Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies. He is also President of the American Association of Research Historians of Medieval Spain (AARHMS).

Felice Lifshitz, medieval historian and professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and of Religious Studies, University of Alberta, now cross-appointed to Women's and Gender Studies and to Religious Studies.

Amy G. Remensnyder, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, Professor of History, Brown University. She has held research fellowships from the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, the American Council of Learned Societies, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and most recently, the Käte Hamburger Kolleg of the Ruhr-Universität in Germany. She is the director of the Brown History Education Prison Project. Her professional service includes terms as a councilor of the Medieval Academy of America and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies.


The "lessons of history" cannot be reduced to some specious argument that knowledge of the past provides a privileged insight into the present. Nevertheless these essays show that a deep understanding of the otherness of the medieval past and of the myriad possibilities of belief, thought, and behavior of this distant and yet creative period, can help us to understand both how the medieval past has shaped our present as well as how this same past offers models for thinking and acting differently. One need not agree with all of the authors represented in this volume either in their reading of the Middle Ages or in their recommendations for the present in order to applaud them for being what everyone should be: a thoughtful, engaged and critical participant in the great adventure of life. These learned and committed essays challenge the notion that the deep past is somehow irrelevant to the present and compel contemporary society to recognize that the human condition is essentially historical and that dialogue with the past is a necessity to build a different and better future. Patrick J. Geary Distinguished Professor of History UCLA

"Recommended. All levels/libraries." - CHOICE, K. F. Drew, Rice University, USA

"…Why the Middle Ages…show[s] how even the distant medieval past can be made relevant to the present through a sensitive integration of modern concerns with considered historical analysis. It offers a provocative starting point for those medieval historians who wish to engage in self-reflection or who are considering begging an ethical turn of their own." –Yvonne Seale, Hortulus Journal