How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
Thomas E. Woods
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- Why modern science was born in the Catholic Church
- How Catholic priests developed the idea of free-market economics five hundred years before Adam Smith
- How the Catholic Church invented the university
- Why what you know about the Galileo affair is wrong
- How Western law grew out of Church canon law
- How the Church humanized the West by insisting on the sacredness of all human life
No institution has done more to shape Western civilization than the two-thousand-year-old Catholic Church—and in ways that many of us have forgotten or never known. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization is essential reading for recovering this lost truth.
reading, writing, and education ensured that the same terrible fate that had befallen the Mycenaean Greeks would not be visited upon Europeans after the fall of the Roman Empire. This time, thanks to the monks, literacy would survive political and social catastrophe. Monks did more than simply preserve literacy. Even an unsympathetic scholar could write of monastic education: “They studied the songs of heathen poets and the writings of historians and philosophers. Monasteries and monastic
at last begun to overturn this gross distortion of the historical record, a distortion that can be traced as far back as the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries with the Protestant bias of Gilbert Burnet and his History of the Reformation of the Church of England.38 According to Paul Slack, a modern researcher, “The dissolution of the monasteries, chantries, religious gilds and fraternities in the 1530s and 1540s radically reduced existing sources of charity. The real aid which they
world of ancient Rome. In fact, the oldest surviving copies of most ancient Roman literature date back to the ninth century, when Carolingian scholars rescued them from oblivion. “People don’t always realise,” writes Kenneth Clark, “that only three or four antique manuscripts of the Latin authors are still in existence: our whole knowledge of ancient literature is due to the collecting and copying that began under Charlemagne, and almost any classical text that survived until the eighth century
price of which their Greek predecessors, for all their accomplishments, could not boast. So excited was Alcuin that he could write in extravagant terms to Charlemagne about the heights of civilization that he believed were in reach: If many are infected by your aims, a new Athens will be created in France, nay, an Athens finer than the old, for ours, ennobled by the teachings of Christ, will surpass all the wisdom of the Academy. The old had only the disciplines of Plato for teacher and yet
How Christianity Transformed Civilization (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2001), 130. 2. Michael Davies, For Altar and Throne: The Rising in the Vendée (St. Paul, Minn.: Remnant Press, 1997), 13. 3. Vincent Carroll and David Shiflett, Christianity on Trial (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002), 142. 4. William Edward Hartpole Lecky, History of European Morals From Augustus to Charlemagne, vol. 1 (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1870), 199–200. 5. Ibid., 201.