Authority and Imitation

A Study of the Cosmographia of Bernard Silvestris

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The Cosmographia is one of the most inventive and enigmatic works of medieval literature. Mark Kauntze argues that this allegory of creation is best understood as a product of the vibrant intellectual culture of twelfth-century France. Bernard Silvestris established the authority of his treatise by imitating those ancient philosophers and poets who were assiduously studied in the contemporary schools. But he also revised and updated them, to develop a compelling intervention into twelfth-century debates about man's place in nature and the relationship between theology and natural science. Using a wealth of manuscript evidence, Kauntze reconstructs the school context in which Bernard worked, and shows how the Cosmographia itself became an object of scholarly annotation and imitation in the later Middle Ages.

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Mark Kauntze is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Bristol, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in Historical Studies in 2008. He has published articles on Bernard Silvestris and Augustine of Hippo.
Table of Content

Acknowledgements viii
Abbreviations ix
A Note on Texts and Translations x
Introduction 1

1 Bernard and the Schools of Tours 15
The City and Its Schools 18
Ars dictaminis 31
Poetry and Imitation 39

2 The Science of the Cosmographia 50
The Mixed Form 54
Platonic Themes and Variations 61
Medicine and Astrology 66
The Purpose of Natural Science 75

3 The Theology of the Cosmographia 90
Platonism and Christianity 95
The Trinity 103
The Fall 106
The Incarnation 119
The Function of integumentum 128

4 Bernard’s Readers 132
The Standard Gloss 134
The Laudian Gloss 145
Quotation and Imitation 155
Alan of Lille and Peter Lombard 160

Conclusion 172

Appendix I: Synopsis of the Cosmographia 175
Appendix II: Census of Cosmographia Manuscripts 177
Bibliography 187
Index of Manuscripts 213
General Index 215Appendix I: Synopsis of the Cosmographia 175
Appendix II: Census of Cosmographia Manuscripts 177
Bibliography 187
Index of Manuscripts 213
General Index 215
Postgraduate students in medieval literary and intellectual history, and specialists working on the classical tradition, manuscript studies, medieval allegory, and the philosophical and educational cultures of medieval Europe.