Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Premises and Motifs in Renaissance Thought and Literature

Premises and Motifs in Renaissance Thought and Literature

C. A. Patrides
Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 262
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Premises and Motifs in Renaissance Thought and Literature
    Book Description:

    In this work C. A. Patrides examines the Renaissance vision of a comely method and proportion" throughout the universe, whether in the vertical arrangement of the created order "from the Mushrome to the Angels" or the horizontal progress of history along a linear path from the Creation to the Last Judgment.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5636-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. To the Reader
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-2)
  5. 1 “Quaterniond into their celestiall Princedomes”: The Orders of the Angels
    (pp. 3-30)

    Pilgrims to the Parthenon at Athens still follow the Avenue of Dionysius the Areopagite leading to the Acropolis and, facing its main gate, the hill of Ares. It was on this hill that St. Paul delivered his memorable address to the Athenians, heard among others by Dionysius the Areopagite (Acts 17.34). By the time of Eusebius of Caesarea some three centuries later, the same Dionysius was thought not only to have been converted to the new faith but to have become the first bishop of Athens.¹ According to another legend, he was subsequently sent by Pope Clement I into Gaul,...

  6. 2 “Ascending by degrees magnificent”: Connections Between Heaven and Earth
    (pp. 31-51)

    Order in Heaven, order on earth, order even in Hell: men’s minds during the Renaissance tended toward such affirmations invariably and often all too insistently. The propensity was by no means a display of excessive piety. It was on the contrary the result of a deep-seated, fully experiential awareness that chaos could come again readily enough. Disorder in sixteenth-century Europe was after all a palpable reality, its omnipresence inescapable in the political sphere as in the religious, and in the social as in the economic. It were indeed a wonder had order not become an obsession, not that it had....

  7. 3 “The exact compute of time”: Estimates of the Year of Creation
    (pp. 52-63)

    The Bible’s absolute authority during the Renaissance was an open invitation totally to rely on its impossible chronology. True, responsible thinkers like Sir Thomas Browne declined the invitation promptly. But a massive majority accepted it, fully in agreement with Hugh Broughton who in 1594 declared: “He that wyll deny the course of tyme to be in Scripture cleerely observed, even unto the fulness, the yeere of salvation, wherein our Lord dyed, may as wel deny the Sunne to have brightness.”¹ Broughton’s choice of image is not accidental. Time and again the clarity of the Bible was compared to the sun’s...

  8. 4 “Those mysterious things they observe in numbers”: Approaches to Numerology
    (pp. 64-82)

    The narrator in Swift’sA Tale of a Tub(1704) advances from one questionable preocupation to another. Among them is an obsession with numerology—“in imitation,” we are told, “… of that prudent method observed by many other philosophers and great clerks, whose chief art in division has been to grow fond of some proper mystical number, which their imaginations have rendered sacred, to a degree, that they force common reason to find room for it, in every part of nature; reducing, including, and adjusting every genus and species within that compass, by coupling some against their wills, and banishing...

  9. 5 “With his face towards Heaven”: The Upright Form of Man
    (pp. 83-89)

    The nature of God’s image in man has exercized many minds in Christendom. The crucial dimension was best affirmed by St. Augustine when he wrote, “It is in the soul of man, that is, in his rational or intellectual soul, that we must find that image of the Creator which is immortally implanted in its immortality.”¹ Traditionally, however, there has also been an inclination to aver that man’s resemblance to God is in some way reflected in the human frame as well. Even Calvin was of the opinion that “though the primary seat of the divine image was in the...

  10. 6 “The first promise made to man”: The Edenic Origins of Protestantism
    (pp. 90-104)

    The sentence that God passes on Satan inParadise Lostis framed within the “mysterious terms” of Genesis 3.15:

    Between Thee and the Woman I will put

    Enmitie, and between thine and her Seed;

    Her Seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.

    (X, 179-81)

    To prevent any misunderstanding, Milton himself explains that the prophecy was verified

    WhenJesusson ofMarysecondEve,

    Saw Satan fall like Lightning down from Heav’n

    Prince of the Aire; then rising from his Grave

    Spoild Principalities and Powers, triumphd

    In op’n shew, and with ascention bright

    Captivity led captive through the Aire,...

  11. 7 “That great and indisputable miracle”: The Cessation of the Oracles
    (pp. 105-123)

    The legend of the cessation of the pagan oracles appears in Milton’s poetry twice. The version inParadise Regainedis voiced by Jesus, who tells Satan:

    No more shalt thou by oracling abuse

    The Gentiles; henceforth Oracles are ceast,

    And thou no more with Pomp and Sacrifice

    Shalt be enquir’d atDelphosor elsewhere,

    At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute.

    God hath now sent his living Oracle

    Into the World, to teach his final will,

    And sends his Spirit of Truth henceforth to dwell

    In pious Hearts, an inward Oracle

    To all truth requisite for men...

  12. 8 “The beast with many heads”: Views on the Multitude
    (pp. 124-136)

    Smollett’s epistolary account of the peregrinations of Humphry Clinker and company (1770) individualizes the participants largely by contrasting their responses to a variety of experiences. On one occasion, the splenetic Matthew Bramble remarks that “the mob is a monster I could never abide, either in its head, tail, midriff, or members; I detest the whole of it, as a mass of ignorance, presumption, malice, and brutality.” But his young nephew Jery is of the opposite persuasion. Delighted by the behavior of amassed people, he confesses that “this chaos is to me a source of infinite amusement.”¹ Jery would have had...

  13. 9 “The bloody and cruell Turke”: The Judgments of God in History
    (pp. 137-151)

    History is like Milton’sLycidas, fraught with apparent digressions which upon consideration form part of the design at the center of the one as of the other. In the words of John Smith the Cambridge Platonist, “a wise man that looks from the Beginning to the End of things, beholds them all in their due place and method acting that part which the Supreme Mind and Wisedome that governs all things hath appointed them, and to carry on one and the same Eternal designe.”¹

    The claim summarizes the view of history which, initiated by Judaism, was adopted by Christianity in...

  14. 10 “A palpable hieroglyphick”: The Fable of Pope Joan
    (pp. 152-181)

    Pope Joan is not a historical figure. But she is part of history in that her existence has been so persistently believed in that at times belief threatened to create the thing it contemplated.

    To meander through the vast literature devoted to Pope Joan might readily make us suspect that judgment had fled to brutish beasts, and men had lost their reason. On the other hand, her frequent appearance during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance shows, it could be said, “the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.” So far, indeed, a study of Pope...

  15. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  16. 11 “A horror beyond our expression”: The Dimensions of Hell
    (pp. 182-199)

    The traditional conception of Hell is often said to have been voiced by Jonathan Edwards. As he once told his congregation: “… imagine yourself to be cast into a fiery oven, all of a glowing heat, or into the midst of a glowing brick-kiln, or of a great furnace, where your pain would be as much greater than that occasioned by accidentally touching a coal of fire, as the heat is greater. Imagine also that your body were to lie there for a quarter of an hour, full of fire, as full within and without as a bright coal of...

  17. 12 “A Principle of infinite Love”: The Salvation of Satan
    (pp. 200-218)

    Dr. Slop inTristram Shandy(1760-1767) is not a very nice man. He does not quite understand Uncle Toby, but then Uncle Toby does not quite understand Dr. Slop. At one point they discuss Satan:

    “He is the father of curses, replied Dr.Slop.—So am not I, replied my uncle.—But he is cursed, and damn’d already, to all eternity, replied Dr.Slop.

    “I am sorry for it, quoth my uncle Toby.”

    Coleridge a few decades later was not so much sorry as indignant. While readingReligio Medicihe had come across Sir Thomas Browne’s renunciation of the “error”...

  18. Index nominum
    (pp. 219-234)
  19. Index rerum
    (pp. 235-236)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 237-237)