Saturday, March 16, 2019

Misconceptions About the Middle Ages

From Aleteia:
One claim we often hear is that medieval people believed the world to be flat, and that it was only in the period of the Enlightenment and the Age of Discovery that the likes of Columbus and Magellan proved that the earth was in fact round. This supposedly demonstrates the medieval opposition to science and rational investigation of the world, that if only they had bothered to try, they would have discovered this very basic fact.

Yet, far from being ignorant of the earth’s roundness, the medievals were well aware of this fact, and actually held it as something easily known. In the very first article of his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas discusses how different branches of science can reach the same conclusions through different means. The example he uses? The roundness of the earth. “For the astronomer and the physicist both may prove the same conclusion: that the earth, for instance, is round: the astronomer by means of mathematics (i.e. abstracting from matter), but the physicist by means of matter itself.” (ST I, a. 1, q. 1, ad. 2)

The scientific method developed in the Enlightenment period did not spring out of nowhere. It was a refinement of the practices of the medieval “natural philosophers,” people like St. Albert the Great and Robert Grosseteste, who were exploring the world around them in a systematic way so as to better understand God’s creation. Far from being “anti-science,” the medievals were deeply curious people. (Read more.)
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1 comment:

Helen D said...

I sent this to,someone who believes thesd myths and he now considers anyone who doesn't believe them,to be a dark ages denialist.