Books Features

New Medieval Books: Knowing What We Know

Knowing What We Know: The Transmission of Knowledge from Ancient Wisdom to Modern Magic

By Simon Winchester

Barnhill Press
ISBN: 978-0-06-314288-6

A general history that examines how humans retain information and the changing technologies to help with this. While the medieval period only occupies a small part of this book, it does offer insights into how the invention of printing was an important milestone in this history.


Today, with so much more knowledge created and available—though as the scientific philosopher Karl Popper noted, the amount of ignorance will always outweigh the totality of knowledge—there are a myriad ways in which it is transmitted to those willing and able to receive it. Printing—first with the wooden blocks carved in ninth-century China and then six hundred years later with the movable metal types created in Mainz by Gutenberg and in London by Caxton—began the modern story. Today’s electronic equivalents are undergoing elemental changes all the while, at scales and speeds that are well beyond ordinary comprehension. They define the moment, today, when we are in perpetual awe at the infinite possibilities of new ways and means for knowledge to be passed around, but are also beginning to wonder: Might this be going too far and too fast?


Who is this book for?

This book is aimed at a general audience, but it can offer medievalists an introduction to information technology in the Middle Ages.

The author

Simon Winchester is a British journalist and best-selling author who has already penned several books about history. You can learn more about Simon from his website or follow him on X/Twitter.


You can learn more about this book from the publisher’s website

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