IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 713: Positive Evaluations of Curiosity, Beauty, and Love and Its Emergence in the Middle Ages

Tuesday 2 July 2013, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Sieglinde Hartmann, Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main
Paper 713-aImagining Otherness: The Pleasure of Curiosity in the Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Anna Kołos, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
Index terms: Anthropology, Philosophy
Paper 713-bScholastic Theologians on Intense Sexual Pleasure
(Language: English)
Philip L. Reynolds, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Index terms: Medicine, Sexuality, Theology

Paper -a:
The main aim of the paper is to take a closer look in both philosophical and religious presumptions upon which the medieval concept of curiosity was premised. Such an enterprise needs to go back to Aristotle in order to comprehend the limitations for curiosity introduced by St Augustine in his vision of City of God. These conceptions will be analyzed in reference to Foucaultian archaeology of knowledge. Much attention should be paid to the ideas of curiositas, admiratio, and studiositas. Finally it would be proved that in spite of rational projects of condemning curiosity the anthropological need for pleasure of imagining otherness remained extremely vivid.

Paper -b:
The paper is in two parts. First, for context, I review the analysis and evaluation of sexual pleasure in 13th-century theology. Second, I consider answers to whether sexual pleasure in the earthly paradise would have been more or less intense than it is in the fallen condition. Some argued that it would have been greater; others, less. But the disagreement was not about quantity but about quantification, or the meaning of intensity. According to the former, order, and intensity would have been independent variables in Eden. According to the latter, intense pleasure is by definition disorderly and irrational.