Getting Medieval on Middle Age

I turned forty-one this year.  I left a psychological plateau (a crisis would have been way more exciting) and a legal career behind.  I suppose an alcohol-fueled bender or an illicit affair broadcast on social media would be what most “folks” (as Barack Obama says) my age might do nowadays, but I opted for sobriety and marital fidelity.  And a medieval conference.  Before you congratulate yourself on how low your life has not got, hear me out.  I wanted to know what I’ve been missing.

In my youth, I took degrees in history and philosophy, criminal justice, and law—areas of study that went through the Middle Ages on the way to becoming the grown-up disciplines they are today on the campus of Political Correctness University.  I was not the sharpest knife in the set, but I knew a chronological leap when I saw one.  At my undergraduate university, I was baffled by the omission of medieval philosophy from the course offerings.  It seemed to me that if one were to go directly from ancient to modern philosophy, one would miss a large part of the conversation.  When I approached the department chair with the problem, she was incredulous.  Not, of course, about the obvious error, but that I cared.  She said, “Why would you want to take that?”  I responded that I thought Aquinas was “kinda important.”  She laughed.  Seriously. ...

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