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How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization Hardcover – May 2, 2005
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"Puts the Church back where it should be: at the center of values, science, laws, and institutions of Western civilization." -- Dr. Paul Legutko, Stanford University
"Superb and scholarly.... Highly recommended." -- Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, professor emeritus, the City University of New York
From the Publisher
More About the Author
My wife and I have four young daughters and live in Topeka, Kansas.
My full biography can be found at www.TomWoods.com/about. My upcoming appearances, in addition to plenty of free audio, video, and articles, are also available at my website.
Top Customer Reviews
Prof. Woods survey of the Catholic Church in late Ancient History and during the Dark Ages makes clear that the Catholic Church authorities and especially the monks were invaluable in preserving learning. He makes clear that the early Catholic monks and nuns were the only literate people in Europe, and they preserved learning by handcopying books and teaching. Prof. Woods' treatment of this historical episode gives the thoughtful reader an insight as to how crucial those who were in religious orders were to European recovery.
Prof. Woods' chapter on Medieval universities is solid. He gives the conditions under which teachers and students operated and makes clear that the "Age of Scholasticism" was an intllectually vibrant age. The books gives examples of the curriculum and the emphasis on logic and reason both in learning and solving intellectual issues. The Age of Reason actually began in the Medieval Catholic universities rather than in the 17th and 18th centuries. Prof. Woods' evaluation of Medieval Scholasticism compares favorably with John Baldwin's THE SCHOLATIC CULTURE OF THE MIDDE AGES, 1000-1300.
Chapter five of this book undermines the notion that the Catholic authorities tried to undermine scientific study. For example, Prof. Woods cites numerous examples of Catholic university officials supporting scientific study and lending considerable resources to the study of astronomy.Read more ›
But the Church crippled scientific progress right? Wrong. Woods proves again that just the opposite is true: science as we know it would not have arisen without Christian presuppositions, i.e. God's creations operate according to laws that can be discovered by man. This is in stark contrast to other ancient cultures which believed nature was unpredictable and the gods were capricious.
Charity, morality, economics, international law, the idea that all men are created equal, and many other things we take for granted all have foundations in Catholic thought. The title is accurate: the Church built Western civilization. I'm sorry the book is so short at 225 pages. Each chapter could easily become a book in its own right. Woods has a gift - also evident in his other books - for swift narratives, delightful anecdotes, and discovering astonishing facts that were there all along but somehow became great secrets. Woods says that our debt to the Church is one of history's greatest secrets. I hope more people are able to learn this secret. Woods's book is a great start, and the bibliography provides other excellent sources.
Let me first correct the reviewer below me, who complains that the book fails to mention the trouble Giordano Bruno got into over heliocentrism. He seems unaware that most modern scholars reject the idea that Bruno's troubles had anything to do with his cosmology. Do a Google search for "Richard W. Pogge," a professor at Ohio State University, for more on this.
Back to my review: this is one of those books that comes along once every five to ten years that changes the intellectual landscape. Thomas E. Woods has brought so much evidence to his argument that the old anti-Catholic arguments we hear all the time will never be the same again. They will have to take Woods into account, or look foolish.
It took a special kind of author to write a book like this. The author seems equally at ease when discussing science, economics, philosophy, theology, law, history, and many other topics.
The author is also a wonderful wordsmith, his writing flows effortlessly.
A wonderful book to educate yourself, to learn about why you should be PROUD TO BE A CATHOLIC, and to give to your friends who have fallen away: it gives them thousands of reasons to return.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
very very interesting. my strong recommendation it should be obligatory for all of usPublished 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
Never was History so exciting, enticing, and revealing. Within these pages, Mr. Woods divulges enough information to leave one feeling somewhat foolish for not knowing all of the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ernesto San Giacomo
Excellent historian and writer, clearly has done his research. This book shows how the Church has influenced the growth of Western culture through hospitals and universities and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Roger
The basis of civilization vs barbarism. We see now in our inner cities what happens when people no longer follow Christian behavior. Read morePublished 2 months ago by CuriousOne