Thursday, April 03, 2003

My PhD subject looks like it will be on science around 1500 rather than the fourteenth century where my studies have been concentrated until now. This is quite exciting as it means I can also get involved in humanism and figures like St Thomas More and Erasmus. But it is a fact that renaissance history does seem to be a different kettle of fish to medieval studies although I think this is largely artificial. The idea that we can split history into these eras is pretty daft anyway especially since people seem to see renaissance man as somehow rational and like us, while medieval man was stuck in the dark ages. But the fact is that much of what we think of as 'medieval' like witch trials, the Inquisition, religious wars et al were far more in evidence in the renaissance and early modern period than the middle ages. The seventeenth century must rank as the most religious of them all (at least if you were a Christian). So, just as I am trying to use methods where ever I can find them, it is perhaps a good idea not to allow myself to be stuck as a 'medievalist' if that looks like excluding lots of other interesting stuff.

No comments: