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Medieval Philosophy: An Historical and Philosophical Introduction (Routledge History of Philosophy) Hardcover – November 20, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0415281126 ISBN-10: 0415281121 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge History of Philosophy
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (November 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415281121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415281126
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,696,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Professor Marenbon’s book is an authoritative, comprehensive, yet accessible survey of medieval philosophy, written by an expert at the height of his critical powers. Not only does the book guide the reader through the diverse issues of medieval philosophy, but provides sagacious instruction and illuminating commentary on the central topics of its chosen period of study.' – Martin Stone, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

'Marenbon has managed to write about an enormous array of topics in a lucid and accessible way. His prose is clear without being condescending, informative without being either patronizing or importunate. The beginner will find it approachable and unpretentious.' – Peter King, University of Toronto, Canada

About the Author

John Marenbon is a senior research fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK.

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. LaRocca on April 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book has much to offer those who would like to patch up the Medieval shaped hole in most undergraduate philosophy programs. Marenbon's account does not only relate the progression of ideas in historical context, but at points divulges into various medieval philosophical speculations (in the work these are called "Interludes" and "Studies") while resting these discussions upon fresh bibliographies of primary and secondary works. The content of these "studies" and "interludes" serve as short introductions into very specific topics in medieval philosophy and also season the work with texture. Yet their connection to the "Further reading" and bibliographic information in the back of the book is what makes these interruptions most handy.

The scope of the book is very broad. Marenbon aggrandizes medieval philosophy beyond his previous formulations (now of which are 20 years old). The medieval period begins with the advent of platonic Christian theology (C. 200) and ends in the Enlightenment (c. 1700). Not only so, but medieval philosophy bursts out of the Christian seams of previous limitations, and instead is contextualized with Muslim and Jewish philosophy in long and important chapters. Unfortunately, Marenbon never completely assesses his broad range, and concludes his work at the year 1400.

Marenbon's introduction is a great place to embark on a study of medieval philosophy, however it is not lacking challenges for the industrious reader. I found the challenge to be not running down all the interesting paths Marenbon uncovers.
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By ObservinTheLaws on November 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
For now, I put it three stars. This is because the text is very difficult to read. The book could be reduced by 100 pages if Marenbon's would shorten his sentences. Most sentences could be twice as short and convey as much information, but be of course much clearer. I am only in the first chapter of the book, and could give countless examples of this, but here is one:

"'Metaphysics' was not Aristotle's own name for the text (or, rather, the set of material, not all of which belongs together) by him which goes under that name."

instead of more simply saying:

"'Metaphysics' was not Aristotle's name for the text (or the set of material, not all of which belonging together)."

The text has almost as many comas as it has letter, and has too many adverbs such as "yet", "rather", etc.

I understand that adverbs and comas are useful, and are meant to clarify a text, but in Marenbon's case, they make it much more difficult.
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5 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Erik on December 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because it was on the further reading list in Cantor's "The Civilization of the Middle Ages", which I read to begin a personal study of the middle ages. Marenbon's book did not contribute to my understanding of this period in time. While this book may be a very good exposition of medieval philosophy, its contents were not of interest to me, hence I cannot give it a good review.

I want to learn about how and why medieval society functioned the way it did, how certain ideas influenced progress (or lack thereof), and so forth. Perhaps one could extrapolate from the information in Marenbon's book how philosophy did so; certainly he himself never suggests things along the line of "because of ideas X and Y, so and so led to certain developments in society". I also feel that the book is quite inaccessible to a reader without prior study and knowledge of philosophy (logic) in general, in the sense that such a reader will have to dwell quite a lot on the philosophical terminology and technicalities introduced.

Throughout the book I felt that the focus was on logic and grammar; there is virtually no information on philosophy of ethics and on how society should function, especially in comparison with the large amount of information about logic and grammar. Perhaps my expectations on the book were unwarranted, nevertheless I did not find it enlightening in any respect, I detested reading it, and would not recommend it to anyone who's not specifically interested in philosophy, or rather as I said, logic and grammar.
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