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Roger Bacon and the Defence of Christendom


Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series

  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107531390

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About the Authors
  • The English Franciscan Roger Bacon (c.1214–92) holds a controversial but important position in the development of modern science. He has been portrayed as an isolated figure, at odds with his influential order and ultimately condemned by it. This major study, the first in English for nearly sixty years, offers a provocative new interpretation of both Bacon and his environment. Amanda Power argues that his famous writings for the papal curia were the product of his critical engagement with the objectives of the Franciscan order and the reform agenda of the thirteenth-century church. Fearing that the apocalypse was at hand and Christians unprepared, Bacon explored radical methods for defending, renewing and promulgating the faith within Christendom and beyond. Read in this light, his work indicates the breadth of imagination possible in a time of expanding geographical and intellectual horizons.

    • Offers a radical reading of the life and thought of Roger Bacon
    • Suggests fresh ways of looking at the role and development of the Franciscan order in medieval society
    • The first book in English on Roger Bacon for nearly sixty years
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a meticulous revisiting of the list and thoughts of the thirteenth-century Minorite friar Roger Bacon … By leaving the beaten track and rereading Bacon's works the author has indeed made a positive contribution towards restoring his thoughts to their historical context and to his intellectual patrimony.' Benedict Vadakkekara, Collectanea Franciscana

    'Amanda Power's convincing account emphasizes the depth of Bacon's commitment to an ideal of reform in line with the ideology of his religious order. Her book convinces the reader with a clear historical reconstruction and a rich display of bibliographical references, which help us to appreciate the doctor mirabilis as a scientist and a friar and to realize how rich and innovative the connection between his spiritual and intellectual horizons was.' Cecilia Panti, Speculum

    'To hear Amanda Power tell it, and she tells it convincingly, Roger Bacon is all too often the odd man out … she is a wonderfully inventive and close reader, teasing out hints of personality from the dry details of Bacon's scientific observations … Power reveals a Bacon who is less innovative, but certainly more interesting.' Dallas G. Denery, II, The American Historical Review

    '… offers a fresh and unified picture of this friar's life and thought … [Power's] arguments are clear and cogent; they quietly buttress the principles of her approach. It is a good and objective account that makes ample use of illustrative quotations to explain the thought of one of the exceptional minds of the thirteenth century.' Michael Robson, Church History

    'Power's monograph is a well-written account of Roger Bacon's work and thought and suggests an original argument, which opens up the historical dimension and socio-political connections of this important Franciscan thinker. The descriptive character of some sections along with references to contextual evidence will make this book useful reading for both scholars and students in the field.' Barbara Bombi, English Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107531390
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 154 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A life in context
    2. Traces on parchment
    3. From the world to God
    4. In defence of Christendom
    5. Beyond Christendom.

  • Author

    Amanda Power, University of Oxford
    Amanda Power is a lecturer in medieval history at the University of Sheffield.

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