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Document Details :
Title: Een wereldbeschouwelijke spiegel voor de leek: codex Marshall
Author(s): KINABLE, Dirk
Journal: Spiegel der Letteren
Volume: 43 Issue: 1 Date: 2001
Manuscript Marshall 29, written in Brabant in the second half of the fourteenth century and now preserved at the Oxford Bodleian Library, proves to be of remarkable importance for the history of ideas. Conceived from the beginning as a unity of four books with didactic texts, it offered its original owner a comprehensive vision of man and world. In line with the traditional medieval way of thinking, several of its fundamental perspectives are based on biblical values and views of clerical authors. Within this ‘vertical’ frame of mind, however, a horizontal dimension becomes apparent as well, when lay ethical values emerge from a fusion of christian and more man-centred, sometimes stoic ideas. This lay perspective affects, for instance, the concepts of wisdom, honour and wealth. It also implies a more modern, post-feudal vision of man, who was encouraged not only to think in terms of vertically ordered social estates, dynasties, political factions and family-clans but also to incorporate these interests in the organisational structures and needs of city and country. Such an attitude, which textual evidence shows to be related to the noble and patrician elite, corresponds to the more complex nature of fourteenth century civilisation with its increasing development of political and juridical organisation and urbanisation.