Download Sight and Embodiment in the Middle Ages: Ocular Desires by S. Biernoff PDF

By S. Biernoff

Sight and Embodiment within the heart a while breaks new floor by means of bringing postmodern writings on imaginative and prescient and embodiment into discussion with medieval texts and photographs: an interdisciplinary approach that illuminates and complicates either cultures. this is often a useful reference paintings for somebody drawn to the heritage and concept of visuality, and it really is crucial analyzing or students of artwork, technological know-how, or spirituality within the medieval interval.

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Having seen, however, her sensual appetite was aroused. From that moment, Eve was borne by her desire towards that apple. However, for most of Aquinas’s contemporaries, educated and uneducated alike, sensation was not a passive, internal event; and the dividing line between sensation and sensuality—like that between body and flesh—was very faint indeed. Looking, as the most spatialised of the senses, was generally believed to be indivisible from the libidinal excursions of sensuality. 46 S I G H T A N D E M B O D I M E N T I N T H E M I D D L E AG E S So far I have talked about the role of sight in the Fall, but there is a sense in which vision itself ‘falls’ away from God.

In the Ancrene Wisse (Guide for Anchoresses), a devotional handbook written at roughly the same time as Grosseteste’s treatise, the weight of the flesh—like a ‘heavy clod of earth [tied] to the soul’—is contrasted to the dowered body of the resurrection. If in this life ‘the heavy flesh . . pulls the soul down’, in the next ‘the body shall . . become very light, lighter than the wind and brighter than the sun . 121 For this reason, Plato explained, the skull has the barest covering of flesh, while those parts of the body ‘devoid of intelligence .

33 It is therefore no coincidence that images of the divided self often accompany the desire to escape or transcend corporeality, stained as it is by sin and death. To live according to the inner man does not require the renunciation of the body, or of sensation, but their subjugation—or perhaps sublimation—to intellectual and spiritual goals. 34 At its broadest sweep, this tradition of dualism is said to extend from Plato, through the Pauline writings of the New Testament and the Church Fathers of late antiquity, through twelfth-century Neoplatonism, to Descartes and beyond, under the umbrella of the Western philosophical tradition.

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