Universe of Stone: Chartres Cathedral and the Triumph of the Medieval Mind

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Bodley Head, 2008 - Architecture, Gothic - 322 pages
1) In the twelfth century, Christians in Europe began to build a completely new kind of church u not the squat, gloomy buildings we now call Romanesque, but soaring, spacious monuments flooded with light from immense windows. 2) The inception of the age of Gothic architecture in the late twelfth century marked a profound change in the way some prominent Western intellectuals and theologians pictured the Universe and humanity's realtionship with it. 3) They began to imagine a God who built the cosmos using logical 'rules', based on geometry, that mankind could deduce using the faculty of reason. 4) This faith in an ordered, rational and harmonious universe was given physical expression in the great cathedrals, and more than any other in Chartres Cathedral, an unparalleled feat of craftsmanship in which all the elements of the new style cohered perfectly for the first time. 5) This change in thinking was by no means universal, and it led to furious debates about how far it was 'proper' to enquire into the nature of the universe. These conflicts marks the beginning of the tensions that are still felt today between faith and reason. 6) Universe of Stone establishes Chartres Cathedral's iconic role in Europe's history: a revolution in thought embodied in stone and glass, a philosophy made concrete through the cooperation of theologians, craftsmen and engineers. It shows us that there are other ways of seeing the world and reveals, as never before, the complex workings of the medieval mind.

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UNIVERSE OF STONE: A Biography of Chartres Cathedral

User Review  - Kirkus

The intellectual revolution in medieval France, as embodied in the architecture of a great cathedral.Nature consulting editor Ball (The Devil's Doctor: Paracelcus and the World of Renaissance Magic ... Read full review

A Fascinating Biography of Chartes Cathedral

User Review  - Brian, Merch - Borders

For the lovers of BRUNELLESCHI’S DOME and MICHELANGELO AND THE POPE’S CEILING, or even of Huysman’s CATHEDRAL, this biography of Chartres Cathedral will prove a delight. Read full review


The Isle Rises
A Change of Style
Heaven on Earth

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About the author (2008)

Philip Ball is a freelance writer and a consultant editor for the world's leading science journal Nature. He is a regular commentator on the interactions between science, art, history and culture. His previous books include Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour, H2O: A Biography of Water and Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads To Another, which won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books.

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