Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1995

Abstract

With the exception of St Augustine and perhaps Abelard, often praised as modern before their time, it is not unusual to find it maintained that the individual was not available in any serious conceptual, psychological or even sociological way before the seventeenth century. Our thick and deep self, according to this view, is thus a rather recent phenomenon. Some more expansive souls find the individual already emerging a century earlier, during the Reformation. Within the last three decades, medievalists, chagrined at being contemned by classicists on one flank and an alliance of Renaissance scholars, early modernists, modernists and post-modernists on the other, claimed for the twelfth century the honour of providing the setting for the emergence of the individual. But few non-medievalists believe them and even some medievalists question the emphases in the claim. The fact is that many serious-minded people believe that an interesting psychological life was a historical near impossibility from AD 500 to AD 1500.


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