Medieval Answers to Modern Problems

(Second Edition)
Edited by Albrecht Classen
©2017, 392 pages

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    The Middle Ages were not only times of military conflicts, the formation of nations, and the rise of the Catholic Church, but also an era defined by profound exploration of what is magnificent and sublime in all aspects of life, including spirituality, aesthetics, architecture, ethics, religion, and philosophy. Rather than focusing extensively on historical events, as is done in many traditional textbooks on the Middle Ages, Medieval Answers to Modern Problems instead focuses on critical issues that have concerned people throughout time, and illustrates how studying the Middle Ages from an interdisciplinary perspective can shed light on contemporary efforts to deal with these issues. Topics covered in this book include the mind-body dichotomy, the relevance of the divine in material existence, interpretations of death and how to cope with death constructively, the pursuit of love in spiritual and earthly terms, and the ideals of honor. Initially the Middle Ages seem completely alien to modern ways of thinking, yet they still speak deeply to our need for both human and divine values, and inner growth. The broad range of documents presented in the book will challenge readers, provoke thought, and demonstrate just how much can be learned from the past.

    Dr. Albrecht Classen is a university distinguished professor of German studies at the University of Arizona, where he teaches and researches medieval and early modern European literature, culture, and art history. He has published close to ninety scholarly monographs, editions, translations, critical volumes, and textbooks, and more than 600 articles. Most recently he published Sexual Violence and Rape in the Middle Ages (2011); Sex im Mittelalter (in German, 2011); War and Piece: Critical Issues in European Societies 800-1800 (2011); Friendship in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age (2011); Mental Health, Spirituality, and Religion in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age (2014); The Forest in Medieval German Literature (2015); and Reading European Medieval Women Writers (2016). In 2010, he published the standard-setting three volume Handbook of Medieval Studies, followed by the Handbook of Medieval Cultures (2015). He serves as editor of the journals Mediaevistik and Humanities. He has received numerous teaching and research awards, most notably the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Band (Order of Merit) from the German government in 2004 and the 2012 Arizona Professor of the Year in 2014.
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