Medieval Studies | Religion
Can ecstatic experiences be studied with the academic instruments of rational investigation? What kinds of religious illumination are experienced by academically minded people? And what is the specific nature of the knowledge of God that university theologians of the Middle Ages enjoyed compared with other modes of knowing God, such as rapture, prophecy, the beatific vision, or simple faith? Ecstasy in the Classroom explores the interface between academic theology and ecstatic experience in the first half of the thirteenth century, formative years in the history of the University of Paris, medieval Europe’s “fountain of knowledge.” It considers little-known texts by William of Auxerre, Philip the Chancellor, William of Auvergne, Alexander of Hales, and other theologians of this community, thus creating a group portrait of a scholarly discourse.
Juxtaposing scholastic questions with scenes of contemporary courtly romances and reading Aristotle’s Analytics alongside hagiographical anecdotes, Ecstasy in the Classroom challenges the often rigid historiographical boundaries between scholastic thought and its institutional and cultural context.
Ayelet Even-Ezra is Assistant Professor of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She studies Europe’s medieval scholastic culture of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Even-Ezra, Ayelet, "Ecstasy in the Classroom: Trance, Self, and the Academic Profession in Medieval Paris" (2018). Religion. 16.