The Gothic cathedral, like the Summa of Aquinas, the University of Paris, and the Christendom of Innocent III, stands as one of the major expressions of the spirit of the High Middle Ages. The word "Gothic," coined by the Renaissance as a term of disparagement, has come recently to have more favorable and appreciative connotations. Such a reevaluation may be due not only to the better perspective that a longer period of time offers us, but also to a deeper understanding of the cultural role of artistic and spiritual symbolism. The artistic expression of the Middle Ages found its supreme embodiment in the architecture of the Gothic cathedral. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "8. The Gothic Cathedral. Pt. III: The Medieval Church." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 73-76.