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Sunday, June 09, 2019

Unauthorized history

Unauthorized Professor Rachel Fulton Brown defends the Middle Ages:
We medievalists all know the drill.

Somebody in public life says something disparaging about the Middle Ages, and we all leap in to insist that either:

  a) Europe in the Middle Ages was actually much more advanced/enlightened/sophisticated than the off-hand comment about people believing the world was flat suggests, or

  b) yes, absolutely, they’re right, medieval Christians were murderous thugs, barbarians of the first order who knew nothing of tolerance or diversity and probably ate babies for breakfast whenever they could get them.

Neither answer ever changes the public conversation one iota because everybody knows that whatever Charles Homer Haskins might try to insist about the real Renaissance happening in the twelfth century, there is no getting round the Albigensian Crusade and the massacres of the Jews in the Rhineland (the former called by the pope, the latter resisted by all the bishops and other leaders of the Church).

The more those of us who study the intellectual, institutional, and spiritual achievements of the period succeed in pointing to the great depth and complexity of the Christian tradition (including its criticisms of the very kinds of violence so often cited as paradigmatic of the Dark Ages), the more our colleagues who study the massacres and inquisitions reinforce the prevailing sense of the period as benighted and savage, and we are right back where we started, blaming Europe and its colonial offspring for all the woes in the world.

Our Enlightened and liberal predecessors would say we've been doing it wrong.
This is the blog attached to the coming Unauthorized course on medieval history, so if you're interested in it, be sure to bookmark it.

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27 Comments:

Blogger binks webelf June 09, 2019 10:40 AM  

Dear VD: Might Castalia publish RFB's books at some point in the future? They are very good, but Amazon has them at extraordinary prices. From what I've browsed, they are excellent. She is a lover, not a taxidermist, of the truths of the past.

Blogger VD June 09, 2019 11:09 AM  

Our bandwidth is limited, so I tend to doubt it.

Blogger Gettimothy June 09, 2019 11:14 AM  

Bookmarked!

Blogger pyrrhus June 09, 2019 11:17 AM  

Can't wait for Professor Brown's Medieval history class to start, nor can my wife, who graduated from the University of Chicago...

Blogger cloom June 09, 2019 11:19 AM  

Months ago, Pax Romana got elevated above the middle ages by a Deacon at my church. The prayer at church today was that "governments do not discriminate by race, sex, creed", and I got distracted pondering how the Holy Spirit does discriminate, surely. Pentecost was today's bible reading. Does he think the empire of Pax Romana was the Holy Spirit at Pentecost?

Today I noted two phrases about bonded/free, man/women, in Galatians 3:28 was omitted by the Deacon, although correctly ending with: "For you are all one in Christ Jesus". That Deacon is incorrigible, mentioning Jew/Greek alone, and ending with you are all one, omitting differences, the most obvious being have, or not have, the Holy Spirit conversion, plus other differences. I wrote to him last time about Pax Romana. But, he and this church is my nation. I won't write this time.

Blogger Andrew Brown June 09, 2019 12:00 PM  

(((Dark Ages)))

Blogger Barbarossa June 09, 2019 12:38 PM  

@5 Additions, deletions and changes to the liturgy are a violation of church law and should be reported to the bishop. We're having the same problem in my parish.

Blogger Jack Ward June 09, 2019 12:46 PM  

Looking forward to the history course. I love history; maybe should have tried for some sort of academic career in the field. Instead of electronics. Electronics paid well but cannot compare to history for interest.

Blogger Pseudotsuga June 09, 2019 12:46 PM  

The history of medieval studies sinking into the Inferno, as she chronicles, saddens and angers me, since I have been a student of that time period for decades now. No longer is it medieval studies, but rather woke/grievance studies set in the Middle Ages.
At this point in time, I fear the cancerous mass is too large to operate, and the host body will die.

Blogger Argus Bacchus June 09, 2019 12:47 PM  

@6 Andrew Brown

So-called "experts" love to claim that the so-called "Dark Ages" were a result of the rise of Christianity throughout Europe and that, at the same time, Islam was experiencing a so-called "Golden Age."

In this book "How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs", British historian De Lacy O'Leary lists 22 "Muslim" scholars during Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad during the 9th and 10th centuries. Of these, 20 were Christians with Arabic names.

One was a Muslim.

As Bill Warner wrote in his excellent series on Islam, "Once the pool of Kafir (non-Muslim) talent became Muslims, the gold went out of the Golden Age."

Blogger Birdman June 09, 2019 1:23 PM  

Finally, gonna watch it immediately if it's come out

Blogger David Ray Milton June 09, 2019 1:43 PM  

@Argus Bacchus

Yes sir. Morena addresses the same issues in “The Myth Of Andalusian Paradise.” The Muslim golden age was really just muslims stealing the knowledge of Christians by conquering the Greek Roman Empire.

Blogger Johnny June 09, 2019 2:20 PM  

Well, you know, they selectively report the worst of it.

The Roman Empire was so big that it did not so much fall as break into pieces. Different places were different. Northern Europe retained some of the complexity of the previous empire with feudalism, but in most other respects went back to being barbarians of the primitive sort. My understanding is that the southern areas held up a lot better.

I have no idea if Christianity weakened the Roman Empire, but after it fell the remains of empire became Christendom. The various Popes in Rome retained considerable influence and worked to hold things together. Lacking the church, Europe as a culturally unique area would simply not exist. And it is a somewhat arbitrary geographic region Thus lacking the church, there might not even be a geographic region called Europe.

Blogger MendoScot June 09, 2019 2:39 PM  

Well, looks like we Scots are going to get our day in the sun.

I'll have to bring my SPF100.

Blogger Unknown June 09, 2019 2:44 PM  

Yeah, I sure do wish I had the balls to major in history in college.

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction June 09, 2019 3:06 PM  

It’s the reverse, the weakening of the empire, most specifically the social fabric, lead to the growth of Christianity.

There were other cults similar to Christianity that sprang up during the long warning of the empire. None the least was the cult of invictus sol pushed by the transgendered emperor Elagabalus.

But Christianity prevailed whereas the Cults failed.

Blogger Argus Bacchus June 09, 2019 3:38 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Cluebat June 09, 2019 3:40 PM  

Seems to me that the Christianization of Europe was very dynamic and hard fought through that entire period. The ignorance that elitist progressives denounce as evidence of a benighted Western Civilization had more to do with the conversion of the pagan masses and Norman migration. Jewish repression in that period was also something that was not unique to the region, but that doesn't stop them from casting aspersions.

Blogger tublecane June 09, 2019 3:41 PM  

Why anyone should worry about getting around the Cathars or Jews dying somewhere, sometime is beyond me. Hundreds of Millions were killed in the 20th for no good reason. That's modernity. Why is mass slaughter even part of the discussion?

What's supposed to make the Middle Ages more cruel? Religious zealotry? Thirty Years War. Calvinism. "Onward Christian Soldier," " Battle Hymn of the Republic." It's not as though people stopped being motivated by Christianity after the Renaissance. And they kept killing people.

Blogger Richard Martel June 09, 2019 6:29 PM  

Will the RFB videos be on the basic Unauthorized subscription or do I needto shell out for the premium?

Blogger Franz Lyonheart June 09, 2019 7:42 PM  

I much look forward to this - I don't want to miss that lecture series. Signing up for Unauthorised immediately......

Blogger Uncle John's Band June 09, 2019 7:57 PM  

Excellent initiative. The Middle Ages is the real counter-example to the fake narrative of progress that the contemporary academy favors. Medieval Christendom wasn't the erasure of Classical metaphysics, it was the fulfillment.

Writing the Middle Ages - even the name is a pejorative - out of the West is disgusting. Likewise the 'a Moor on every corner' retconning. This is how we get our culture back.


"What's supposed to make the Middle Ages more cruel?"

It wasn't. It's fake history to slander Christianity.

Blogger Franz Lyonheart June 09, 2019 8:00 PM  

Done. Purchased the annual subscription - this has great potential, looking forward to a good year!

Blogger Franz Lyonheart June 09, 2019 8:03 PM  

@20, Richard Martel -- I think there's currently no difference between subscriptions. The premium is simply for premium supporters who want to give more support. The standard probably gets you alle content just as well. I went for the annual anyway because I see great potential in that new internet TV channel.

Blogger VD June 09, 2019 8:06 PM  

Will the RFB videos be on the basic Unauthorized subscription or do I need to shell out for the premium?

On the Basic as well. As Franz said, it's just a matter of support, not access.

Blogger Door in the Hill June 09, 2019 9:26 PM  

Looking forward to the History subscription being made available, since that's what will make it worthwhile for me to buy a subscription.

Blogger damaris.tighe June 10, 2019 2:56 AM  

So interesting that Nationalists are recommitting to Christendom, which is what the West really came from.
Politically speaking, "My religion" is a force multiplier and a shield for "my people"

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