- Jul 2022
During the seventeenth century, this associative view vanished and was replaced by more literallydescriptive views simply of the thing as it exists in itself.
The associative emblematic worldview prevalent prior to the seventeenth century began to disappear within Western culture as the rise of the early modern period and the beginning of the scientific revolution began to focus on more descriptive modes of thought and representation.
Have any researchers done specific work on this shift from emblematic to the descriptive? What examples do they show which support this shift? Any particular heavy influences?
This section cites:<br /> William B. Ashworth, Jr. “Natural History and the Emblematic World View,” in Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution, David C. Lindberg and Robert S. Westfall, eds #books/wanttoread<br /> which could be a place to start.
Note that this same shift from associative and emblematic to descriptive and pedantic coincides not only with the rise of the scientific revolution but also with the effects of rising information overload in a post-Gutenberg world as well as the education reforms of Ramus (late 1500s) et al. as well as the beginning of the move away from scholasticism.
Is there any evidence to support claims that this worldview stemmed from pagan traditions and cultures and not solely the art of memory traditions from ancient Greece? Could it have been pagan traditions which held onto these and they were supplemented and reinforced by ecclesiastical forces which used the Greek traditions?
Examples of emblematic worldview: - particular colors of flowers meant specific things (red = love, yellow = friendship, etc.) We still have these or remants - Saints had their associative animals and objects - anniversary gifts had associative meanings (paper, silver, gold, etc.) We still have remnants of these things, though most are associated with wealth (gold, silver, platinum anniversaries). When did this tradition actually start? - what were the associative meanings of rabbits, turtles, and other animals which appear frequently in manuscript marginalia? (We have the example of the bee (Latin: apes) which where frequently used this way as being associated with the idea of imitation.) - other broad categories?
This perspective has been called an “emblematic worldview”; it is clearly visible in the iconography ofmedieval and Renaissance art, for example. Plants and animals are not merely specimens, as in modernscience; they represent a huge raft of associated things and ideas.
Medieval culture had imbued its perspective of the natural world with a variety of emblematic associations. Plants and animals were not simply specimens or organisms in the world but were emblematic representations of ideas which were also associated with them.
example: peacock / pride
Did this perspective draw from some of the older possibly pagan forms of orality and mnemonics? Or were the potential associations simply natural ones which (re-?)grew either historically or as the result of the use of the art of memory from antiquity?