The Closing of the Western Mind

The Closing of the Western Mind

The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason

Book - 2005
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A radical and powerful reappraisal of the impact of Constantine's adoption of Christianity on the later Roman world, and on the subsequent development both of Christianity and of Western civilization.

When the Emperor Contstantine converted to Christianity in 368 AD, he changed the course of European history in ways that continue to have repercussions to the present day. Adopting those aspects of the religion that suited his purposes, he turned Rome on a course from the relatively open, tolerant and pluralistic civilization of the Hellenistic world, towards a culture that was based on the rule of fixed authority, whether that of the Bible, or the writings of Ptolemy in astronomy and of Galen and Hippocrates in medicine. Only a thousand years later, with the advent of the Renaissance and the emergence of modern science, did Europe begin to free itself from the effects of Constantine's decision, yet the effects of his establishment of Christianity as a state religion remain with us, in many respects, today. Brilliantly wide-ranging and ambitious, this is a major work of history.
Publisher: New York :, Vintage Books,, 2005.
Edition: First Vintage Books edition.
ISBN: 9781400033805
Branch Call Number: 940.12 FR
Characteristics: xxiii, 432 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm


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Sep 23, 2015

“The Tragedy of Theology: How Religion Caused and Extended the Dark Age”
by Andrew Bernstein

Sep 09, 2015

from Wikipedia: . . .
and, read . . .
"A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom" . . .
by Andrew Dickson White 1832-1918

Aug 03, 2015

The topic explored in this book sits in stark contrast against a study of classical Greece and it brings a new slant to the world of late antiquity covered in "Justinian's Flea" which I had just finished reading.
Here we enter the beginnings of the medieval world where, as in our own times, religion -- and particular orthodoxy came to be used as a means of establishing power over mankind.
To achieve this end, bishops and emperors deliberately subverted most of the immense intellectual capital of classical Greece.
A pernicious example is the ploy whereby virtue, truth and rational inquiry is replaced by faith and obedience -- to the outrageous extent that faith and obedience are actually held up as being VIRTUES IN THEMSELVES, whereas any questioning of authority is condemned as heresy or sin.
Surely this subversion of reason is one of the greatest evils to be laid at the feet of Christianity, right along with that of sponsoring wars, witchhunts, pogroms and the Inquisition.
But of course Christianity is not alone in doing this: the extent to which it is practised by Islam is only too well known.
And others professing no religion at all have done likewise, notably the Communist Party of China, in its repeated denunciation of anyone seen as questioning current Party orthodoxy.
A very well written book, but it largely covers a tragic era in the "Western" world.


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