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Reviews 181 its climactic scene the Harrowing of Hell (p. 60), as R. W . Chambers had seen in 1924 and H. W . Wells in 1938. As the survey concludes, new insights have been gained into various texts by the identification of the two key themes. Thus, by recognizing that the judge has been deliberately left behind during the Harrowing, w e can recognize Erkenwald as a Christ-surrogate. In Langland's thought, the clergy, unlike Erkenwald, are portrayed as unworthy successors of Christ, and the final Harrowing, Doomsday, is near. In both, grace, indisputable and yet unknowable, is the only answer to the paradox of the virtuous pagan. J. S. Ryan Department of EngUsh University of N e w England Whitney, Elspeth, Paradise restored: the mechanical arts from antiquity through the thirteenth century (Transactions of the American Phdosophical Society, Vol. 80, part 1), Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1990; paper; pp. vi, 169; R. R. P. US$20.00. Since Lynn White published 'Technology and invention in the Middle Ages' in Speculum (1940), the debate on medieval technology has proceeded apace. Today few medievalists would deny that the Middle Ages were a period of remarkable technological advance, particularly the period ca. 1100-1400; even if some of our Renaissance/Early M o d e m colleagues still appear to be unaware of the fact Accompanying research into the actual technology has been an enquiry into the inteUectual milieu of technological innovation and, in particular, a search for the mental motivation for technological innovation and deployment. Some great names have made a contribution: Clarence Glacken, George Ovitt, Jacques le Goff, Guy Alard, M.-D. Chenu, Brian Stock, and Peter Sternagel to name but a few. Whitney's monograph is a further contribution to this debate. It is not a history of technology or of artisan crafts. Nor is it really an analysis of intellectual attitudes to technology and the crafts. For example, St Bernard's famous letter on the technology of the monastery at Clairvaux is not mentioned because it does not form part of an appraisal of technology and the mechanical arts within a scheme of knowledge. Rather this book occupies a niche of its own. It seeks to further the debate by analysis of the place of the mechanical arts and crafts in intellectual schema for ordering knowledge. In Whitney's words: 'The present study examines the intellectual process by which medieval philosophers and theologians revised classical concepts of technology and its place in classifications of the arts and sciences in ordertoredefine technological invention as a full-fledged category of knowledge' (p. 2). 182 Reviews O n antiquity Whitney's analysis is highly interesting. She is able to show that, contrary to the popular perception that classical antiquity had only contempt for manual labour and crafts, there was in some circles a much more positive attitude towards both crafts and technology. The contrast between the liberal arts and the banausic arts (taw banausiaw — the unworthy [arts]), in Latin artes liberales as opposed to artes illiberales/vulgares/sordidae, was much mitigated. Technologies such as navigation could be associated with a Uberal art such as mathematics or astronomy and some authors, such as Philostratus and Plotinus developed an intermediate category, the 0p6sofoi ('somewhat learned') which included navigation. The Fathers of the Church further mitigated the position of the technologies and mechanical arts within analyses of human knowledge as a result of their (generaUy held) view that the world as God's creation was good and that one of mankind's functions was to complete or perfect that creation. Thus St Augustine's famous passage in De Civitate Dei, 22.24 praised human achievements in cloth-making, navigation, architecture, and agriculture. This more positive attitude of late antique classifications was continued in the Early Middle Ages and some technologies became appropriated to the Uberal arts. Isidore of Sevdle, for example, gave equal weight to medicine, mechanica, and astrology as to the mathematical liberal arts (p. 59). However, according to Whitney, it was Hugh of St Victor who, in die twelfth century, developed the idea that the artes mechanicae were a 'discrete and independent group of arts, analogous in form and function to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 181-182
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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