Population in Medieval Thought
Author: Peter Biller
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
'There are many strengths to this book, not least the imaginative lateral thinking required to conceive the topic in the first place... an outstanding and original study, which approaches the high middle ages (in its reality as well as its thought worlds) from an unexpected but remarkably productive direction. Its heterogeneous interests should inspire a wide readership, including scholars of medieval medicine, population, theological thought, religious practice and canon law.' -History'This excellent book is not a study of medieval population (although it does contain, amongst many other riches, a helpful summary of work on medieval demography) but concerns how medieval people thought about population... astounding range of material.' -History'Peter Biller has produced a trail-blazing book, packed with intellectual fireworks. It fuses diverse sources and scraps of information to detonate an explosion of insights... anyone interested in pre-modern medicine must read it. It will stimulate and satisfy the curiosity of students and researchers alike.' -Medical History'Biller takes the reader on a grand tour of sources and themes... There is no jargon in his book. He sensitively lets these texts speak, contextualizes them, and occasionally offers informed conjectures whenever the text does not provide a clear-cut proof.' -Medical History'This is not only a solid scholarly enterprise on the highest level, it is also a pedagogic manifesto of how one can and perhaps should handle historical sources.' -Medical History'This is an impressive piece of scholarship. Through careful explication of the sources, Biller provides an account of medieval demography that places medicine in a new and exciting context, one which gave medical theory added relevance for its contemporaries . This is a story to which every historian of medieval medicine will want to pay close attention.' -Social History of Medicine'Biller adopts a sophisticated approach to his material... This work is primarily an exercise in the history of ideas, but it is also an extremely rich source of information for social historians of medicine.' -Social History of Medicine'Peter Biller ends his book with a question: is medieval demographic thought recognisably there? He has left his readers with only one possible answer - and in doing so changed the way we must think not just about the medieval past but about what has come after in terms of understanding the world.' -History TodayPeter Biller's innovative study challenges the view that medieval thought was fundamentally abstract. He describes what medieval people 'thought' about population, studying the texts which constrained their thought, and examining the medieval realities which shaped it, such as birth, birth-control, sex-ratio, marriage ages, length of life, and the population of the Holy Land.