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Reviews 267 Part 3, 'FuU Lives and Careers', has chapters on retirement, the peers, the bishops, and m e n and w o m e n of letters. Evidence for retirement is gathered from sources such as excused attendances from the House of Lords, forced retirements of coroners, and lists of church pensions, hi examining the peers and bishops, Rosenthal notes that there were careers of impressive longevity: 'at Bardney in Lincolnshire a mere five abbots sufficed to span the years between 1404 and 1507. Richard Horncastle covered the last 34 of these' (p. 121). The section on m e n and w o m e n of letters opens with a consideration of the 'durabUity' of Geoffrey Chaucer as both a m a n and a writer. Rosenthal then reviews briefly the lives and achievements of John Gower, Thomas Hoccleve, John Trevisa, Osbern Bokenham and JuUan of Norwich, among others. There is an instructive contrast made between these mature Uterary figues and the Romantic notion of youthful inspiration which the twentieth century has inherited. Part 4, 'Searching for a Context', considers the material examined thus far, and offers some cross-cultural comparisons for the trends isolated from the medieval material. It is a stimulating conclusion to a book which overaU faUs to excite despite the intrinsic interest of the subject. Carole M . Cusack School of Studies in Religion University of Sydney Rummel, Erika, The Humanist-Scholastic Debate in the Renaissance and Reformation (Harvard Historical Studies 120), Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1995; cloth; pp. 249; U S $45.00. 'Humanist' and 'scholastic' are terms widely used when discussing the inteUectual culture of the Renaissance and Reformation, but what do w e understand as the fundamental beliefs held by their proponents, and h o w constant were these opinions throughout the early modern period? Erika R u m m e l undertakes a detaUed study of both sides in the debate, exploring the complexity of the views held by their protagonists and h o w their arguments were influenced over 268 Reviews time by such external intellectual and moral debates as ecclesiastical and university curricular reforms. R u m m e l begins with an overview of the issues with which protagonists were concerned and of the historiography of the debate. Briefly, humanists encouraged the use of phUological studies, looking at original source texts, and were willing to investigate a broad range of intellectual disciplines. Scholastics, by contrast, relied on medieval commentators for their interpretation of earlier work, feared classical works as pagan influences, and saw biblical studies as a distinct area of knowledge which could not be improved by humanist methods. R u m m e l outlines h o w previous discussion of the debate has, to give examples, doubted the existence of the two distinct points of view, or that there was enmity between humanists and scholastics, and doubted the importance of differing views between Northern and ItaUan scholars. R u m m e l argues that the debate itself cannot be viewed as a controversy between two sides with distinct and unchanging creeds. She suggests that many of the points of contention between previous scholars about the nature of the debate are really more complex when one recognises the differences in intellectual and stylistic trends over various phases of the debate, as contemporary currents influenced the protagonists' views. This introduction to the topic is extremely helpful, and highUghts the relevance of Rummel's work in separating distinct phases of the debate, one of her major concerns. In the early stages of the debate in the fifteenth century, protagonists had not yet adopted the aggressive and often personal attacks so frequent in later sixteenth-century works. Rather, Rummel argues, these early works were characterised by an 'atmosphere of cultured leisure' (p. 41). They were epideictic, concerned with the grace and elegance of the writing, poUte exchange and dispute as an inteUectual exercise. Authors often gave the impression of presenting a balanced discussion by arguing both sides of the debate. Yet, R u m m e l argues, as the debate moved to the Northern universities, its focuses changed. Scholars debated the supremacy of theology over other disciplines...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 267-270
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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