I’ve not done any reading for about 3 months, first break I have had from thought in about fifteen years!
My plan was to start by reading two new areas I am not familiar with, the wild man in the later middle ages, and an utterly new subject, abstraction or species and genus issues in the enlightenment.
I seem to be like a startled rabbit in headlights as I got an unexpected hit between both subjects in the introduction to the first thing I read.
“Toward the end of the Middle Ages, all aspects of life had become so steeped in an atmosphere of deep religiosity that no object or incident, no idea or action could escape religious interpretation. A state of tension grew, as J. Huizinga observed, in which “all that is meant to stimulate spiritual consciousness is reduced to appalling commonplace profanity, to a startling worldliness in otherworldly.” Concepts generated by faith tended to be seized upon and externalized in a naive and literal fashion, and thus abstractions became rendered as concrete realities.”
I think my approach here will be to analysis this late middle age ‘abstraction issue’ from an 18th, 19th century perspective.
The above paragraph forms an introduction to a work on the wild man. Not been able to read any further as it rather took me by surprise. Neither religion or abstraction are given any definition here but presumable they have some ‘concrete’ basis underpinning deployment.
Timothy Husband, The Wild Man: Medieval Myth and Symbolism,New York,1980
Hieroglyphical or hieroglyphick, belonging to Hieroglyphicks
Hierglphicks, certain Sacred or Myfterious Characters under which the ancient Egyptians couch’d their Princples of Philofophy, History and Policy; whence the Word is now taken for any Symbol, Emblem, or mystical Figure.
Hieroglyphick marks, (in Palmeftry) thofe winding lines and Wrinkles in the hand, by which the Profeffours of that vain Science pretend to foretell strange things.
John Kersey, The New World of Words:Or, Universal English Dictionary