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The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth-century Europe, has intrigued scholars ever since Francis Gasquet's 1893 study contending that this epidemic greatly intensified the political and religious upheaval that ended the Middle Ages. Thirty-six years later, historian George Coulton agreed but, paradoxically, attributed a silver lining to the Black Death: prosperity engendered by diminished competition for food, shelter, and work led survivors of the epidemic into the Renaissance and subsequent rise of modern Europe.

In the 1930s, however, Evgeny Kosminsky and other Marxist historians claimed the epidemic was merely an ancillary factor contributing to a general agrarian crisis stemming primarily from the inevitable decay of European feudalism. In arguing that this decline of feudalism was economically determined, the Marxist asserted that the Black Death was a relatively insignificant factor. This became the prevailing view until after the Second World War, when studies of specific regions and towns revealed astonishing mortality rates ascribed to the epidemic, thus restoring the central role of the Black Death in history.

This central role of the Black Death (traditionally attributed to bubonic plague brought from Asia) has been recently challenged from another direction. Building on bacteriologist John Shrewsbury's speculations about mislabeled epidemics, zoologist Graham Twigg employs urban case studies suggesting that the rat population in Europe was both too sparse and insufficiently migratory to have spread plague. Moreover, Twigg disputes the traditional trade-ship explanation for plague transmissions by extrapolating from data on the number of dead rats aboard Nile sailing vessels in 1912. The Black Death, which he conjectures was anthrax instead of bubonic plague, therefore caused far less havoc and fewer deaths than historians typically claim.

Although correctly citing the exacting conditions needed to start or spread bubonic plague, Twigg ignores virtually a century of scholarship contradictory to his findings and employs faulty logic in his single-minded approach to the Black Death. His speculative generalizations about the numbers of rats in medieval Europe are based on isolated studies unrepresentative of medieval conditions, while his unconvincing trade-ship argument overlooks land-based caravans, the overland migration of infected rodents, and the many other animals that carry plague.

The passage is primarily concerned with

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当前版本由 kisenana 更新于2015-11-05 11:44:26 感谢由 kisenana 对此题目的解答所做出的贡献。
主旨题
1.文章首先提出black death促进了政治宗教 upheaval,同时也促进了黑死病之后的文艺复兴时期的繁荣。
2.接着提出black death 只是副作用,经济条件才是最主要的。但是后来studies研究了由这个造成的死亡率很高,BD的central地位又被重新提出了
3.recently BD的central地位被从其他方面进行了质疑。Twigg
4.作者对于Twigg理论的看法
选项A 文章主要不是在说 bubonic plague and the Black Death的关系,排除
选项B 讨论的主要不是BD的起源
选项C BD作为中世纪传染疾病的一个case study ,排除
选项D 呈现了过去现在对于BD作用主要性的争论,正确,过去就是第一第二段,现在是第三四段
选项E 分析 capitalist 和Marxist 对于BD历史重要性的观点对比,错误,是不是 capitalist 和Marxist这两派不清楚,而且也不是从派别上进行观点对比,排除

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