I intend exploring potential associations between the mentalities of the medieval societies of Western Europe and the Far East. The investigation will principally explore the concept of quaternity as it relates to medieval conceptions of the natural world, such as the four elements (fire, earth, air and water) in both the east and the west and will aim at a multi-disciplinary and inter-cultural approach. Jungian psychological theory will inform my exploration of this potential way of organising the understanding and representation of the natural world as it was used in the medieval world.
In the context of an abiding interest in medieval mentalities and constructions of identity, I should like to explore the medieval understanding of temperament, as reflected in applications and adaptations of the classical theory of the humours. Although such theories have been constantly adapted over the centuries, they have in recent times been largely discredited. While the major part of my presentation will therefore relate to classical, medieval, and possibly early modern understandings, often as reflected in literature, I should also like to investigate whether humoural theory retains any vestiges of credibility, whether in allopathic or alternative medicine or psychology.
This paper views the Book of Kells as a meditation on the obscurity of the imago Dei, even in the praxis of the imitatio Christi. Presenting the created ordo as an analogical, self-similar, self-reflecting structure, the Kells iconography, nonetheless, preserves a ‘dialectical moment’ accounting for genuine internal difference through the infinite transmutational possibilities it suggests. It thus underscores the serpentile ambiguity of all image and, particularly, of man as an image of God. The art challenged its monastic viewers to reconsider ever more carefully how they understood the imitatio Christi that was supposed to realize the image of God within.