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Humanism and the Council of Florence, 1438-1439

Description: The study begins with the development of the nature and character of fifteenth century Italian humanism. It then proceeds to delineate the humanist methodological approach to three key areas; rhetoric, grammar, and historical criticism. Having thus laid this necessary foundation, the work examines selected portions of the debates of the council with regard to each of the three key areas, in order to ascertain whether or not a humanistic approach was utilized by the Latin participants in their argumentations. This investigation concludes that the Latin advocates of the council did indeed employ humanist methodology in both the preparation and presentation of their arguments in the debates. Therefore, such evidence strongly suggests that an appreciation and acceptance of the humanist approach to rhetoric, grammar, and textual criticism existed in the church in the early decades of the fifteenth century.
Date: December 1991
Creator: Swisher, Samuel J. (Samuel James)

Humanism in the Middle Ages: Peter Abailard and the Breakdown of Medieval Theology

Description: Abailard expanded Anselm's sola ratione methodology, and in so doing he anticipated Renaissance humanism. His theory of abstraction justified the use of dialectic in theology, and was the basis for his entire theological system. He distinguished faith from mere belief by the application of dialectic, and created a theology which focused on the individual. The Renaissance humanists emphasized individual moral edification, which was evident in their interest in rhetoric. Abailard anticipated these rhetorical concerns, focusing on the individual's moral life rather than on metaphysical arguments. His logical treatises developed a theory of language as a mediator between reality and the conceptual order, and this argument was further developed in Sic et non. Sic et non was more than a collection of contradictions; it was a comprehensive theory of language as an inexact picture of reality, which forced the individual to reach his own understanding of scripture. Abailard's development of the power of reason anticipated developments in the Renaissance.
Date: December 1991
Creator: Vess, Deborah L. (Deborah Lynn)

Luther the Augustinian: Augustine, Pelagianism and Luther's Philosophy of Man

Description: Augustine has had a large influence on the development of western theology, and nowhere is this more obvious that in Martin Luther's understanding of God, humankind and grace. Yet at the same time there are also significant differences in the two churchmen's thought. Sometimes these differences are subtle, such as their views of the state; other times they are not so subtle, such as their positions on free will or their praise of philosophy and its usefulness in sounding the depth of Christianity. In order to best explain these varying views, one must look at Augustine's and Luther's diverging opinions of man's nature where one will see that the dissimilarities are best understood in light of Luther's pessimistic view of humanity.
Date: August 1991
Creator: McGinnis, Jon D.

Class and Freedom of Choice in the Marriage Patterns of Antebellum Texas Women

Description: Little scholarly analysis has been devoted to the hypothesis that antebellum Texas women generally married within their own socioeconomic (slaveholding) class, and thus had only limited choice in the selection of marriage partners. This quantitatively based investigation suggests that the popular image should be carefully qualified. This study reveals that although a majority of Texas women who married during the early 1850s chose men who had the same slaveholding status, a significant minority crossed class lines. By using marriage records of the period in correlation with information gleaned from the census, conclusions were reached. Contemporary women's diaries, letters and reminiscences were investigated, in addition to a historiography of marriage in the South, which created the background for this study.
Date: December 1991
Creator: Brown, Lisa (Lisa Christina)

Humphrey Duke of Gloucester and the Introduction of Italian Humanism in Fifteenth Century England

Description: Duke Humphrey of Gloucester is often given credit for the renaissance of English learning in the fifteenth century. It is true that the donations of books he made to Oxford, his patronage of English and Italian writers, and his patronage of administrators who had humanist training resulted in the transmittal of humanist values to England. But is it also true that these accomplishments were mainly the by-product of his self-aggrandizing style, rather than a conscious effort on the duke's part to promote learning. The duke, however, does deserve recognition for what he unwittingly may have done.
Date: December 1991
Creator: Doyle, John F. (John Francis)