Institut català d'antropologia

quaderns-e

ISSN: 1696-8298

12/2008b. Miscel·lània

"Interpenetrations of Nature and Morality: the Case of Nocturnal Seminal Emissions in Medieval Theological Thought"

Núria M. Farré i Barril

Universitat de Lleida

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationships between bodily nature and human will in the male body. By using sources from John Cassian and Augustine up to Thomas Aquinas, I wish to examine how the male body was conceptualised in its particular struggle between nature and morality. To this effect, I shall take as a central phenomenon nocturnal seminal emissions. This is a privileged location from which to observe how that battle was fought and how a balance was searched between body and ascetic will. In this connection, I will also look at the meaning of dreams and illusions in general in medieval imaginary. The effort to keep the movements of the flesh under control takes us directly into the mind-body interface in medieval man. Morality, physiology and psychological implications appear intertwined in a complex nexus that allows us to trace the ways in which men perceived their own nature (and to see what relationships, and in what terms, were established between body and mind).

Resum

L’objectiu d’aquest article és analitzar les relacions entre natura corporal i voluntat humana en el cos masculí. Tot usant fonts que van des de Joan Cassià i Agustí fins a Tomàs d’Aquino, em proposo examinar la manera com es conceptualitza el cos masculí en la seva lluita particular entre natura i moralitat. Amb aquesta finalitat, prendré com a fenomen central les emissions seminals nocturnes. Aquest és un lloc privilegiat des d’on podem observar com es lliurava la batalla, i com s’aconseguia un equilibri, entre el cos i la voluntat ascètica. En aquest sentit, també em fixaré en el significat dels somnis i de les il•lusions en l’imaginari medieval en general. L’esforç per controlar els moviments de la carn ens du directament a les relacions entre ment i cos en l’home medieval. Moralitat, fisiologia i implicacions psicològiques s’entrecreuen en un nexe complex que ens permet copsar com els homes medievals percebien llur pròpia natura (i veure quin tipus de relacions, i en quins termes, s’establien entre el cos i la ment).
 

Arxius relacionats:
Interpenetrations of Nature and Morality: the Case of Nocturnal Seminal Emissions in Medieval Theological Thought (125Kb)