Author: Charles Freeman
Publisher: Random House
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The conversion of the emperor Constantine to Christianity in 368 AD brought a transformation to Christianity and to western civilization, the effects of which we still feel today. Previously, the Roman empire had absorbed and sustained the Greek intellectual tradition which, in the astronomy of Ptolemy, the medicine of Galen and the philosophy of Plotinus, reached new heights. Constantine turned Rome from the relatively open, tolerant and pluralistic civilisation of the Hellenistic world, towards a culture that was based on the rule of fixed authority. The century after Constantine's conversion saw the development of an alliance between church and state which stifled freedom of thought and the tradition of Greek rationalism which was intrinsic to it. The churches enjoyed enormous patronage and exemptions from tax, and in return allowed the emperors to take on the definition and enforcement of an increasingly narrow religious orthodoxy. This book explores how the European mind was closed by the revolution of the fourth century. It looks at the rise of the 'divine' monarch, the struggle as Christianity painfully separated itself from Judaism, the conflict between faith and reason, and the problems in finding any kind of rational basis for Christian theology. In these centuries, a turning-point for Western civilisation, we see the development of Christian anti-Semitism, the origins of the opposition of religion and science and the roots of Christianity's discomfort with sex, issues which haunt the Christian churches to this day. The Closing of the Western Mind is a major work of history. Wide-ranging and ambitious, its central theme is the relationship between the two wellsprings of our civilisation, the Judaeo-Christian and the Greco-Roman, and how the tensions between them have created the culture in which we continue to live, think and believe.
Author: B. Painter
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This compact, forcefully argued work calls Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, and the rest of the so-called 'New Atheists' to account for failing to take seriously the historical record to which they so freely appeal when attacking religion. The popularity of such books as Harris's The End of Faith, Dawkins's The God Delusion, and Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great set off a spate of reviews, articles, and books for and against, yet in all the controversy little attention has focused on the historical evidence and arguments they present to buttress their case. This book is the first to challenge in depth the distortions of this New Atheist history. It presents the evidence that the three authors and their allies ignore. It points out the lack of historical credibility in their work when judged by the conventional criteria used by mainstream historians. It does not deal with the debate over theism and atheism nor does it aim to defend the historical record of Christianity or religion more generally. It does aim to defend the integrity of history as a discipline in the face of its distortion by those who violate it.
Author: Stephanie L. Hathaway,David W. Kim
Publisher: A&C Black
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This volume presents evidence of the extent and effects of intercultural contacts across Europe and the Mediterranean rim, opening up a new understanding of early medieval civilisation and its continuing influence in both Western and Eastern cultures today. From the perspectives of textual transmission, cultural memory, religion, art and cultural traditions, this work explores the central question of how ideas travelled in the medieval world, challenging the conventional notion of insular communities in the Middle Ages. Despite the schism between East and West that took hold after the thirteenth century this volume reveals a rich and extensive cultural exchange and demonstrates that transmission of ideas and culture across borders began much earlier than the Crusades. It contributes to new perspectives on medieval cities, Christian Europe's history with the Byzantine and Islamic Mediterranean, the landscape of power and the power-plays of the medieval Church, and the way in which cross-cultural transmission affected all of these areas.
The Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church
Author: Michael P. Riccards
Publisher: Lexington Books
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This volume is the first major study of the papacy as a managerial structure that has evolved over two thousand years. Special emphasis is placed on the environments in which the Church functioned and in which it had to reach uneasy compromises. The volume is both scholarly and very readable.
The Science-Theology Controversy
Author: Richard J. Coleman
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
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The last sixty years have witnessed a virtual explosion of interest in how modern science and traditional Christianity intersect. This new rapprochement with science has irrevocably altered how we think of God. It constitutes a foundation from which we cannot retreat, but from which we also cannot move forward until we examine the presumptions on which it is based. For the first time, Richard Coleman interprets in a clear and meaningful way the themes and practitioners that make this rapprochement different, and what it has achieved. But this book is more than description--it is an inquiry into whether Christian theology has lost its authentic voice by its singular focus on accommodating modern science.
The New Morality and the Modern State
Author: Edward L. Rubin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Political Science
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Political and social commentators regularly bemoan the decline of morality in the modern world. They claim that the norms and values that held society together in the past are rapidly eroding, to be replaced by permissiveness and empty hedonism. But as Edward Rubin demonstrates in this powerful account of moral transformations, these prophets of doom are missing the point. Morality is not diminishing; instead, a new morality, centered on an ethos of human self-fulfillment, is arising to replace the old one. As Rubin explains, changes in morality have gone hand in hand with changes in the prevailing mode of governance throughout the course of Western history. During the Early Middle Ages, a moral system based on honor gradually developed. In a dangerous world where state power was declining, people relied on bonds of personal loyalty that were secured by generosity to their followers and violence against their enemies. That moral order, exemplified in the early feudal system and in sagas like The Song of Roland, The Song of the Cid, and the Arthurian legends has faded, but its remnants exist today in criminal organizations like the Mafia and in the rap music of the urban ghettos. When state power began to revive in the High Middle Ages through the efforts of the European monarchies, and Christianity became more institutionally effective and more spiritually intense, a new morality emerged. Described by Rubin as the morality of higher purposes, it demanded that people devote their personal efforts to achieving salvation and their social efforts to serving the emerging nation-states. It insisted on social hierarchy, confined women to subordinate roles, restricted sex to procreation, centered child-rearing on moral inculcation, and countenanced slavery and the marriage of pre-teenage girls to older men. Our modern era, which began in the late 18th century, has seen the gradual erosion of this morality of higher purposes and the rise of a new morality of self-fulfillment, one that encourages individuals to pursue the most meaningful and rewarding life-path. Far from being permissive or a moral abdication, it demands that people respect each other's choices, that sex be mutually enjoyable, that public positions be allocated according to merit, and that society provide all its members with their minimum needs so that they have the opportunity to fulfill themselves. Where people once served the state, the state now functions to serve the people. The clash between this ascending morality and the declining morality of higher purposes is the primary driver of contemporary political and cultural conflict. A sweeping, big-idea book in the vein of Francis Fukuyama's The End of History, Charles Taylor's The Secular Age, and Richard Sennett's The Fall of Public Man, Edward Rubin's new volume promises to reshape our understanding of morality, its relationship to government, and its role in shaping the emerging world of High Modernity.
Author: Stephen Bullivant,Michael Ruse
Publisher: OUP Oxford
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Recent books by, among others, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have thrust atheism firmly into the popular, media, and academic spotlight. This so-called New Atheism is arguably the most striking development in western socio-religious culture of the past decade or more. As such, it has spurred fertile (and often heated) discussions both within, and between, a diverse range of disciplines. Yet atheism, and the New Atheism, are by no means co-extensive. Interesting though it indeed is, the New Atheism is a single, historically and culturally specific manifestation of positive atheism (the that there is/are no God/s), which is itself but one form of a far deeper, broader, and more significant global phenomenon. The Oxford Handbook of Atheism is a pioneering edited volume, exploring atheism—understood in the broad sense of 'an absence of belief in the existence of a God or gods'—in all the richness and diversity of its historical and contemporary expressions. Bringing together an international team of established and emerging scholars, it probes the varied manifestations and implications of unbelief from an array of disciplinary perspectives (philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, demography, psychology, natural sciences, gender and sexuality studies, literary criticism, film studies, musicology) and in a range of global contexts (Western Europe, North America, post-communist Europe, the Islamic world, Japan, India). Both surveying and synthesizing previous work, and presenting the major fruits of innovative recent research, the handbook is set to be a landmark text for the study of atheism.
How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science
Author: James Hannam
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
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This is a powerful and a thrilling narrative history revealing the roots of modern science in the medieval world. The adjective 'medieval' has become a synonym for brutality and uncivilized behavior. Yet without the work of medieval scholars there could have been no Galileo, no Newton and no Scientific Revolution. In "God's Philosophers", James Hannam debunks many of the myths about the Middle Ages, showing that medieval people did not think the earth is flat, nor did Columbus 'prove' that it is a sphere; the Inquisition burnt nobody for their science nor was Copernicus afraid of persecution; no Pope tried to ban human dissection or the number zero. "God's Philosophers" is a celebration of the forgotten scientific achievements of the Middle Ages - advances which were often made thanks to, rather than in spite of, the influence of Christianity and Islam. Decisive progress was also made in technology: spectacles and the mechanical clock, for instance, were both invented in thirteenth-century Europe. Charting an epic journey through six centuries of history, "God's Philosophers" brings back to light the discoveries of neglected geniuses like John Buridan, Nicole Oresme and Thomas Bradwardine, as well as putting into context the contributions of more familiar figures like Roger Bacon, William of Ockham and Saint Thomas Aquinas.
A Worldwide History
Author: John G. Raffensperger, M.D.
Category: Health & Fitness
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The history of medicine and surgery is well documented, but this volume offers the first specific exploration of the treatment of and attitudes towards children with injuries and birth defects through the ages. Popular thought holds that children in ancient times with birth defects faced a short life of abandonment or neglect. Examination of written records from ancient Egypt, India, Greece, and Islam, however, shows that physicians and surgeons have attempted to find remedies to cure ailing youths from the beginning of recorded medical history. These essays document the origins of children’s surgery, chronicle the history of children’s surgery into modern times, and explore the treatment of the most common visceral birth defects. With contributing authors offering perspectives from a variety of cultures, this extraordinary collection will interest not only medical professionals, but also historians and others in the child care field.