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The Artifact and Humanism in Medieval Jewish Thought

Malkiel, David

Jewish History, 2013, Vol.27(1), pp.21-40 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    The Artifact and Humanism in Medieval Jewish Thought
  • Autor: Malkiel, David
  • Assuntos: Archaeology ; Epistemology ; Exegesis ; History ; Humanism ; Middle Ages ; Numismatics
  • É parte de: Jewish History, 2013, Vol.27(1), pp.21-40
  • Descrição: Writing and reading history increased in popularity in the age of Renaissance humanism, particularly in sixteenth-century Italy. Humanists focused principally on literary works, but some also studied material culture. Artifacts provided a new avenue for recovering classical civilization, and some humanists saw them as more reliable than written documents. This article demonstrates that Jewish thinkers of the age of humanism echoed the new enthusiasm for the artifact. Further, Hebrew sources show that interest in the artifact had medieval antecedents, which has also been attested among Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages. The final section further problematizes the significance of the humanist phase by positing a link between interest in artifacts and in other concrete elements of ancient life, as expressed in the writings of several medieval Jewish scholars. These sources deploy empirical knowledge obtained directly and indirectly to enhance understanding of the ancient world. Nevertheless, this method offered no safeguard from anachronism, to which scholars continued to fall victim.
  • Idioma: Inglês

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