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Religion and the Rise of Western Culture Paperback – Abridged, October 1, 1991
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The author sees Christianity as a unique force in human development, a force that constantly overcomes any obstacles placed in its path, either on purpose or by the vagaries of history. In the case of "Religion and the Rise of Western Culture," those obstacles range from the decline and collapse of the Roman Empire to the mass migrations of the early medieval period to the rise of cities and organized commerce. Presiding over and infusing all of these changes is the Christian faith.Read more ›
Dawson started this book with a good assessment of Europe during the collapse of the Roman Empire. He devoted the first chapter to terrible economic, social, and political conditions that befell Europeans from c. 500-750 A.D. Yet, the Catholic Church tenaciously held on to what was of left of Western Civilization. Dawson vividly described the importance of the Irish Celtic monks and the Benedictine monks in both preserving learning and spread their learning via their missionary zeal. It was the Benedictines, started by St. Benedict (480-544), who, upon meeting their Irish Celtic counterparts taught the Irish practicality and gave Irish monasticism a more sensible and less rigorous rule (The Benedictine Rule). Dawson did not fail to notice the influence of the Benedictines when one of their own was selected Pope-Pope Gregory I 590-604)who is credited for not only learning and Catholic leadership. Readers who appreciate classic music should note that Pope Gregory supported the music of Gregorian Chant which was the beginning of Classical Music. Dawson was aware of this and included it in his book.
Dawson wrote a good chapter on the Catholic Church's assimiliation of the Nothern Barbarians. The conversion of Clovis (480-520) was historically important when one considers that Clovis' empire (basically modern France)was open to the Benedictines and the spread of knowledge and learning.Read more ›
Be that as it may, this is a marvelous book that shows the positive impact of Christianity on many aspects of human history, including the development of education through the university in the Middle Ages and into the Reformation. A very enlightening book packed full of interesting, valuable information.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Engaging and quick read, but his take on this lengthy period of European history won't persuade if you're not already convinced.Published 3 months ago by Duncan Keegan
A sweeping summary of the rise of the church. Dawson has a detailed knowledge of hundreds of key players. He links the conversion of the Kentish and Gaulish kings. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Marty Harper
A follow-on to Dawson's definitive The Making of Europe --that went from roughly 350-950 AD-- this narrative continues on to the early 1300's, at which point, Dawson argues, the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Canadian Joe
Wonderful classic history of the development of Europe as a Christian culture. A balanced look at the various cultures (Roman, Byzantine, Germanic, northern and southern European,... Read morePublished 17 months ago by K.M. Sifferman
One of the great 20th century historical works. Dawson is as underrated as Gibbons is overrated. Dawson wrote during a period of cultural and intellectual fragmentation but had the... Read morePublished on December 18, 2013 by Paul Chigwidden
Dawson takes some thinking about. It's not an easy read, but well worth it for serious Catholic people. In fact, we read it more than once.Published on September 10, 2013 by Marlene M. McCoy