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The Place of Germany in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance: Books, Scriptoria and Libraries

The Place of Germany in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance: Books, Scriptoria and Libraries



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The Place of Germany in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance: Books, Scriptoria and Libraries

Rodney Thomson

Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Book Culture -Turning Over a New Leaf : Change and Development in the Medieval Book, Leiden University Press (2012)

Abstract

In recent years I have been attempting to grapple with the great problem of Germany’s place in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, a problem, as I have suggested elsewhere, not much addressed by modern scholarship, perhaps because it has been taken for granted that Germany lagged behind, followed in the wake of, or did not even try to emulate the achievements associated with the schools of Paris and early ‘scholasticism’. According to this school of thought, Germany was ‘off the pace’, not ‘at the cutting edge’.

In a recent article I tried to offer some correctives to this view, and to characterize German cultural and intellectual life over the course of the long twelfth century. In this paper I wish to address what might seem at first sight a simpler and narrower issue; yet it must be clarified and under- stood before further progress can be made on the larger one. From the late eleventh century Germany – by which I mean the Empire north of the Alps – experienced a prodigious growth in the revival and reform of religious communities and the founding of new ones.


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