ITM fans, a research bleg: you’re familiar with the medieval commonplace that the bipedal human form is both evidence of human reason and a reminder to humans to think celestial thoughts, and that the stereotypical animal form, quadrupedal, low to the ground, is evidence of animals’ merely terrestrial, alimentary thinking? See for example the early fourteenth-century exempla and doctrinal compendium Ci nous dit:
Les bestes vont à .IIII. piés en senefiant qu’il sunt en leur païz; et nous alons a .II. en senefiant que nous ne sonmes pas ou nostre. . . . Et quiconques met l’amour de son cuer en terre, ainsi se fait il semblans aus bestes; maiz devons avoir tous nous desiriers ou ciel, que pour ce nous a Diex faiz. (Vol I.36-37)
Beasts go on four feet to show that they are in their country; and we go on two to show that we are not in ours. . . . And whoever puts the love of his heart in the world makes himself resemble beasts; but we ought to have all of our desire in heaven, which is what God made us for.
Or Robert of Melun’s Sentences commentary, where he writes “Inquantum ex corporea est, cum ceteris animalibus communis naturae habet participationem, sed in formae compositione ab alia animantia differentiam habet” (inasmuch as man is corporeal, he has a participation with the common nature of the other animals, but with regard to the arrangement of his form, he has a difference from other living things). He explains that the animal form is prone, lowered to the ground, “ex quo significatur praeter ea quae terrena sunt ab eis nulla esse appetenda” (86; by which is meant, apart from other things, that they are earthly creatures and that nothing else but earthly things are to be desired by them).
Okay? Good. Do you know of any instances where this tradition–which is everywhere, really, one you start noticing it–considered those humans unable to stand upright without assistance or to see anything at all, let alone the heavens? I’m familiar with William of St. Thierry/Gregory of Nyssa’s hypothesis about handless humans becoming beasts (e.g., On the Making of Man VIII.8), but have yet to encounter anything specifically on the tradition challenging itself by considering individual disabled humans. (Note: unless I missed it, there’s nothing in Metzler, Disability in Medieval Europe.)