Forms Of Art


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forms of art Thomas
Aquinas


Saint Thomas Aquinas, as a philosopher, wrote several works that
justified Christianity in a philosophical context, taking cue on Aristotle's old
writings. Naturally, Aquinas took up on the Church's
"ultra-conservative" views on sexuality and worked to rationalize them
through his own theory of natural law. Aquinas argues against any form of sex
where the intention to produce children is not involved. He explains this
through his theory of natural law, where sex is purely for the purpose of
reproduction to ensure the continuance of the human race, only in the context of
a monogamous relationship, and not for simple physical pleasure. There are many
laws that Saint Thomas Aquinas speaks of, such as eternal law, human law, divine
law, and natural law. All humans are part of "God's plan" and
therefore subject to eternal law, where we are guided to God's
"supernatural end in a higher way" (47). According to Aquinas, humans
in particular follow God's eternal law through a natural law, and inborn
instinct to do good. Something is said to be part of natural law if "there
is a natural inclination to it" and if "nature does not produce the
contrary," (51-52). Natural law includes such ideas as self-preservation,
union of the male and the female, and education of the young, which is easily
found in nature. Humans also have a unique knowledge of God and were meant to
live in a society. Aquinas explains that even though concepts such as slavery
and personal possessions are not found alone in nature, they were created by
human reason, and in such cases "the law of nature was not changed but
added to" (52). Because we can do such things, we are separated from the
rest of God's creatures. After explaining his theory of natural law, Aquinas
goes on to explain sexuality in the context of it. According to him,
"promiscuity is contrary to the nature of man" because "to bring
up a child requires both the care of the mother who nourishes him and even more
the care of the father to train and defend him and to develop him in internal
and external endowments" (78). Therefore, he finds fornification to be a
mortal sin because "it is contrary to the good of the upbringing of the
offspring" (79). Curiously, though, he does not bring up the more likely
scenario where fornification does not result in the impregnation of the woman.
His reasoning makes much better sense in the case of adultery. Not only does it
upset one's obligations to his family, but also because the Ten Commandments
specifically condemn adultery as a great sin. The Ten Commandments are God's
laws and are not relative, so there is no disputing their validity. However,
Aquinas' argument that monogamy is "natural" for humans is not easily
justified. If we look carefully at nature, most mammals have to be raised by
their parents just as humans are, but only for a few years. Also, in many cases,
the mother may raise her young with a different male, or on her own altogether.
Therefore, this makes it harder for Aquinas to appeal to natural law to prove
his case for monogamy and life-long relationships. Also, Aquinas does not agree
that a male should have the option of leaving a female who has had a child even
if it is properly provided for, making an indirect case against divorce (79).
Curiously, in Islam, the Koran allows divorce and remarriage, and it is based
for the most part on the very same Bible that Aquinas defended. Aquinas makes
clear that sex is right only when it is for the purpose of reproduction and it
should only be between a male and female in a monogamous relationship; all other
forms are sinful. However, he brings up a very striking exception. The acts of
fornification or adultery are not considered sins at all if they are performed
under the command of God (52). This is simply a case of common sense, but it
explains clearly any such indiscrepancies to natural law in the Bible. Aquinas
goes on to define more serious mortal sins which he refers to as indecent sex.
This includes homosexuality and bestiality. He quotes bestiality from the Bible:
"'[Joseph] accused his brothers of the worst sin they had relations with
cattle'" (80). Perhaps he is right, but homosexuality, on the other hand,
was accepted in societies even before Aquinas' time. For instance, the ancient
Greeks accepted intercourse between a younger and older man as a higher form
love. Even if Aquinas tried to ... more

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Code of behavior

Courtly Love, code of behavior that defined the relationship between aristocratic lovers in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The Idea of courtly love developed among the higher classes of Europe during the late-1100s. The idea of courtly love was that a man passionately devoted himself to a lady who was married or engaged to another man. Because medieval marriges were made up of little more than business contracts, courtly love was dubed as the only true romance in the lives of many Europeans. Knights used courtly love as a way to rember their home land and to give them a reson to get back to there land. Knights were not the only ones that believed in courtly love. Medieval artists, troubadors, and authors used courtly love as a bas or a theme in much of their work. Influenced by contemporary chivalric ideals (see Chivalry) and feudalism, courtly love required adherence to certain rules elaborated in the songs of the troubadours (see Troubadours and Trouvres) between the  11th and the 13th centuries and stemming originally from the Ars Amatoria (The Art of Loving) of the Roman poet Ovid.
According to these conventions, a nobleman, usually a knight, in love with a married woman of equally high birthor, often, higher rankhad to prove his devotion by heroic deeds and by amorous writings presented anonymously to his beloved. Once the lovers  had pledged themselves to each other and consummated their passion, complete secrecy had to be maintained. Because most noble marriages in the Middle Ages were little more than business contracts, courtly love was a form of sanctioned adultery, sanctioned because it threatened neither the contract nor the religious sacrament of marriage. In fact, faithlessness of the lovers toward each other was considered more  sinful than the adultery of this extramarital relationship.
Literature in the courtly love tradition includes such works as Lancelot,  by Chrtien de Troyes; Tristan und Isolt (1210), by Gottfried von Strassburg; Le Roman de la Rose, by Guillaume de Lorris  and Jean de Meun; and  the Arthurian romances (see Arthurian Legend). The theme of courtly love was developed in Dante Alighieri's La vita nuova (The New Life) and La divina commedia (The Divine Comedy), and in the sonnets of the Italian poet Petrarch.  Troubadours and Trouvres (Provenal trobar,"to find" or "to invent"), lyric poets and poet-musicians who flourished in France from the end of the 11th century to the end of the 13th century. The troubadours, who were active in Provence in southern France, took their inspiration from the ancient Greek conception of the lyric poem as a vocal composition (see Lyric). Written in the Provenal language (see Occitan), the lyrics of the troubadours were among the first to use native language rather than Latin, the literary language of the Middle Ages. These poems incorporated new forms, melodies, and rhythms, either original or borrowed, from the informal music of the people. The earliest troubadour whose works have been preserved was Guillaume IX of Aquitaine (1071-1127). Of the more than 400 troubadours known to have lived, the majority were nobles and some were kings; for them, composing and performing songs was a manifestation of the ideal of chivalry. Troubadour music gradually disappeared during the 13th century as the courts of southern France were destroyed in the religious wars that ended in the defeat of the Albigenses by the papal power.
Originally, the troubadours sang their own poems to their assembled courts and often held competitions, or so-called tournaments of song; later, they engaged itinerant musicians, called jongleurs, to perform their works. The subjects included love, chivalry, religion, politics, war, funerals, and nature. The verse forms included the canso (stanza song), tenso (dialogue or debate), sirvente (political or satirical canso), planh (complaint or dirge), alba (morning song), and serena (evening song). The musical accompaniments were generally played on stringed instruments such as viele (medieval fiddle) or the lute. The notation of the songs indicated pitch but not time value or rhythm. About 300 melodies and about 2600 poems of the troubadours have been preserved. The music of the troubadours is considered one of the major influences in the  development of medieval secular music (see Music, Western).
The trouvres were ... more

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