Early Medieval Ethics


"Medieval" and its cognates arose as terms of opprobrium, used by the Italian humanists to characterize more a style than an age. I Ience it is difficult at bestto distinguish late antiquity from the early middle ages. It is equallydifficultto determine the properscope of 'ethics,' the philosophical schools of late antiquity having become purveyors of ways of life in the broadest sense, not dearly to be distinguished from the more intellectually oriented versions of their religious rivals. This chapter will begin with the emergence of philosophically informed reflection on the nature of life, its ends and responsibilities in the writings of the Latin Fathers and dose with the twelfth century, prior to the systematic reintroduction and study of the Aristotelian corpus.

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Copyright © 1992 Garland Publishing. This chapter first appeared in A History of Western Ethics.

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