Author: Gray, Gordon Michael
In 1159 CE, the English diplomat and ecclesiastic John of Salisbury published two books, the Policraticus and the Metalogicon, the former a treatise on the nature of good governance, and the latter a defence of classical education. Believing that political leadership should be based on moral precepts, John observed that moral judgment seemed to have been largely replaced in both church and state by personal ambition for wealth and power. Believing further that the knowledge required for moral judgment should be gained through proper education, John reasoned that knowledge itself had become fractured, and that it was necessary to return to that point and rebuild knowledge anew. Concluding that the fracture occurred with Adam’s expulsion from paradise for eating from the tree of knowledge, John reasoned that mankind must ‘return to the tree.” This thesis analyzes John’s “return to the tree” within the intellectual context of the twelfth-century renaissance.
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Thesis advisor: Dutton, Paul
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