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Europe and the Faith Paperback – October 3, 1992

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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About the Author

Hilaire Belloc was born at St. Cloud, France, in 1870. He and his family moved to England upon his father s death, where he took first-class honors in history at Balliol College in Oxford, graduating in 1895. It has been stated that his desire was to rewrite the Catholic history of both France and England. He wrote hundreds of books on the subjects of history, economics, and military science, as well as novels and poetry. His works include The Great Heresies, Europe and the Faith, Survivals and New Arrivals, The Path to Rome, Characters of the Reformation, and How the Reformation Happened.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: TAN Books; Reprint edition (October 3, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089555464X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895554642
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This old classic by English Catholic author/historian Hilaire Belloc provides a Catholic response to modernist and Protestant polemics against the Church. Belloc shows that the Catholic Church was essential in perserving the knowledge and greatness of pagan antiquity, insuring that after the "fall" of the Roman Empire, European civilization would have another springtime (in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance).
Another central part of Belloc's thesis is that the Roman Empire never really "fell" to "superior" barbarian hordes as it has been presented in some textbooks. In fact, the Roman Empire absorbed all tribes who came to then for the benefits of civilization. Out of this New Barbarian Order came feudal Europe, formed by classical learning and Christianized by the Catholic church. In the Dark Ages, the faith preserved this civilization while it was under attack from the Muslims, Magyars and Vikings in succession. It was in these centuries that the seeds that would later flower in the Middle Ages and Renaissance were nurtured and protected.
Belloc concludes by showing the devestating impact (personal, economic and in government) that the Reformation had on European civilization (a thesis that he explores in greater detail in How The Reformation Happened and Characters of the Reformation). He proclaims the chief of effect of the Reformation was "the isolation of the soul" and chief by-product was a progressive sense of dispair. He then boldly states that Europe's former glory will be confined exclusively to history textbooks unless the continent returns to the Faith that shepherded and nurished its greatness.
I felt that this, like all of Belloc's books, was an excellent read that boldly defends Catholic truth and explodes many of the Protestant assumptions that are still latent in American and Northern European civilization over 80 years after the book's publication.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a look at European history from 20,000 feet. Belloc describes four major transitional periods:

1. From pagan to Christian Rome during the Empire.

2. From Empire to Dark Ages.

3. From Dark Ages to Middle Ages.

4. From Middle Ages to Reformation.

Among the important themes Belloc highlights:

1. Roman tradition and influence runs deeply and continuously through European history. By so demonstrating, he debunks the myth of the "master race"--a popular theme among his intellectual contemporaries. Pity so few listened to him.

2. It was the Catholic Church that held Europe together through the centuries, the glue of our civilization. In his own words, "Europe is the church, and the Church is Europe."

I found his analysis of Empire to Dark Ages particularly helpful. Belloc makes good sense out of the period's confusingly intertwined barbarian and Roman influences and its complex political and military dynamics. Bottom line: the Roman Empire was never conquered from without; in reality, it changed gradually but profoundly from within, all the while retaining its vital social and spiritual roots.

Belloc's review of the Reformation, especially Britain's leading role in destroying the Unity of Faith, makes for sad, surprising and sobering reading even today. (For a much fuller and yet more moving treatment, read Belloc's "How the Reformation Happened.")

For Belloc, the European ideal came during the Middle Ages, when people were unified in faith and hungered for truth more than riches. By his day, Europe had reached new lows of disunity, sophistry, and capitalist greed. Belloc was one of the few prominent thinkers to see these evils early on and predict their awful consequences. Although his subject was history, I think Belloc was writing with an eye to the future, in the hope that we might understand the errors of our past and correct them before too late.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a quite old Belloc classic but nethertheless it invites new generations of readers on a historical journey full of surprises and old truths. The work is pivotal among his historical research on the ancient roots of our Christian and European civilisation as well as the causes and consequences of the Protestant revolutionary movement, known as the Reformation.
The main thesis is that in contrary to mainstream Protestant and anticlerical historians in the beginning of 20th century when Christianity was acknowledged as a factor deteriorating the glorious Roman Empire, the contrary must be said. The Christianity had the central role in transferring the high moral and cultural values of the Old, already very decaying Empire into the future. The new religion of the gospel refused all that was the decadent and fruitless in Roman culture but it rescued much of it's precious knowledge, positive elements, vitality and potentiality for future expansion, elements which would perish due to the fall of the empire. According to Belloc the main fault of modern historians not recognising this, is their lack of understanding for Christianity as well as an anti-Catholic bias among many of them. Belloc points out an oversimplification done by the scholars on the importance of the barbarian tribes affecting the Empire and their impact on the culture of it.
The next important conclusion Belloc draws from his genial analysis is that the barbarian hordes, which were believed to affect so much the dissolution of the Roman Empire where de facto "romanised" and dominated completely themselves by the Roman culture. The cause of the fall of the Empire is not to be sought in the first hand in the infiltration of these barbarians, mostly German and Slavic tribes.
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