Friday, September 17, 2004

Fidei Religiosa Contrari Est Ad Ratio Ac Dialectica? Quid Miratio.

History at its most inaccessible is a list of dates and events without a narrative. Once one knows why an event matters, one will care enough about it to learn and remember. Everyone knows what happened in 1066 AD, because the impacts of the event reverberated for 400 years.

Few people know anything about the early church, and this is part of the reason. It's hard to find any texts on the subject, and those that are written are generally so lacking in any attempt at analysis (perhaps afraid of potential controversy) that the historical record is impossible to absorb.

In The Closing of the Western Mind Freemen does more than simply advance his argument (that Paul and his cohorts waged a crusade against logic and reason as values and tools); he presents the history of that period with an analysis of what it meant. He provides a broader view of the events than would be strictly necessary to advance his thesis, but that imprecision takes a position piece and renders it a valuable and interesting overview of the Early Christian Church. His digressions and tangents aren't simply errant sections of historical record, but are replete with themes and narratives that, while they do not advance the central thesis, inform the reader in a far more holistic sense.

This book has caused quite a bit of controversy. It does not simply attack Paul; it calls into question inerrancy as a theological idea, (by showing to what extent the current Bible was assembled for political reasons) and thus attacks the Evangelical movement inside the Christian church. What perhaps inflames the book's critics most is that the sources used for the book are generally scholarship from within the theological community.

Some Reviews


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