The Besitiary and the Mediaeval Mind - Some Complexities

Grover Cronin, Jr.

Modern Language Quarterly, 2, 1941, 191-198

"It is the purpose of this paper to indicate some complexities in the study of the Bestiary which seem to be frequently and surprisingly overlooked. Though much valuable work has been done on various individual questions connected with the Bestiary, one cannot escape the suspicion that the more general aspects of interpretation have been unwarrantably simplified. ... The naturally close relations between symbolism and scriptural interpretation are even closer with regard to the Bestiary, for much of this strange lore derives from Biblical accounts of creation. All students of the Bestiary admit this, and it is therefore all the more surprising to find in many of them the assumption that facts did not matter to the early authors of Biblical commentaries, especially of the Hexaemeron type. It is quite true, and scarcely a matter for wonder, that the perception of meaning, the perception of the connection of the isolated fact with more cosmic problems, held a higher place in the hierarchy of values than did the observance of single facts. But it is not true that this kind of subordination implied any contempt for the facts, as such." - Cronin

Language: English


Last update December 6, 2021