An Introduction to the Medieval English: The Historical and Literary Context, Traces of Church and Philosophical Movements in the Literature

Esmail Zare Behtash, Seyyed Morteza Hashemi Toroujeni, Farzane Safarzade Samani


The Transition from Greek to medieval philosophy that speculated on religion, nature, metaphysics, human being and society was rather a rough transition in the history of English literature. Although the literature content of this age reflected more religious beliefs, the love and hate relationship of medieval philosophy that was mostly based on the Christianity with Greek civilization was exhibited clearly. The modern philosophical ideologies are the continuation of this period’s ideologies. Without a well understanding of the philosophical issues related to this age, it is not possible to understand the modern ones well. The catholic tradition as well as the religious reform against church called Protestantism was organized in this age. In Medieval Period, philosophy and theoretical thoughts related to the Christianity were well-organized and the philosophy, science and theoretical thoughts served religion. Philosophy had different forms and orientations in various stages of this period. One of these philosophical thoughts was the Augustinian philosophy which was strongly in favor of church with its different practices and styles. It used Platonic and Neo-Platonic traditions to prove that faith is the result of divine dispensations, not the result of human will power and wisdom. On the other hand, according to Aquinas, we experience different types of the effects that existed in the world around us. He believed that we assign an effective cause to each effect we experienced around us. Additionally, he claimed that reasoning was the only way to reach the real faith. In fact, philosophy of Medieval Period attempted to prove that religious assertions and ideologists were in search of matching their philosophical beliefs with the beliefs of Christianity. Christianity as the dominant factor in Middle English Literature helped English to be stablished as a literary language.



Medieval English Literature; Medieval Philosophy; Augustinian Theology; Aquinas theology

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