Lines of Thought

Branching Diagrams and the Medieval Mind

Ayelet Even-Ezra

Lines of Thought

Ayelet Even-Ezra

272 pages | 4 color plates, 27 halftones, 86 line drawings, 3 tables | 8-1/4 x 11 | © 2020
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226743080 Will Publish January 2021
E-book $45.00 ISBN: 9780226743110 Will Publish January 2021
We think with objects—we conduct our lives surrounded by external devices that help us recall information, calculate, plan, design, make decisions, articulate ideas, and organize the chaos that fills our heads. Medieval scholars learned to think with their pages in a peculiar way: drawing hundreds of tree diagrams. Lines of Thought is the first book to investigate this prevalent but poorly studied notational habit, analyzing the practice from linguistic and cognitive perspectives and studying its application across theology, philosophy, law, and medicine.

These diagrams not only allow a glimpse into the thinking practices of the past but also constitute a chapter in the history of how people learned to rely on external devices—from stone to parchment to slide rules to smart phones—for recording, storing, and processing information. Beautifully illustrated throughout with previously unstudied and unedited diagrams, Lines of Thought is a historical overview of an important cognitive habit, providing a new window into the world of medieval scholars and their patterns of thinking.

Part I 

Chapter 1: The Form: Chronological, Linguistic, and Cognitive Perspectives
1.1 Form: A Chronological Perspective
1.2 Form: A Linguistic Perspective
1.3 Form: A Cognitive Perspective

Chapter 2: The Habit: On What, Where, Who, When, and How Often
2.1 Diagramming as a Form of Marginal Annotation
2.2 Parasitic, Embedded, and Tapestry Forms
2.3 Beyond the Classroom: French and Hebrew
2.4 Conclusion

Part II 

Chapter 3: Structures of Concepts: Distinctions
3.1 Natural Philosophy, Metaphysics, Ethics 
3.2 Biblical Distinctions
3.3 Canon and Civil Law 
3.4 Medicine
3.5 Conclusion

Chapter 4: Structures of Language
4.1 Verse and Rhyme
4.2 Letter Writing (Ars Dictaminis)
4.3 Grammar

Chapter 5: Structure of Texts
5.1 Orientation and Composition: Theological Questions
5.2 Analysis: Argument
5.3 Analysis: Biblical Narrative
5.4 What HT Diagramming Tells Us about the Scholastic Perception of Texts: Authors as Architects, Texts as Wisely Made Constructions 
5.5 Coda: Back to the Future—Parallels to the Divisio Textus in Twentieth-Century Narrative Analyses

Appendix: Latin and English Surface Text of the Book of Job Parsed and Numbered (Translation Follows the English Standard Version)
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