The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - History - 480 pages
A radical and powerful reappraisal of the impact of Constantine’s adoption of Christianity on the later Roman world, and on the subsequent development both of Christianity and of Western civilization.

When the Emperor Contstantine converted to Christianity in 368 AD, he changed the course of European history in ways that continue to have repercussions to the present day. Adopting those aspects of the religion that suited his purposes, he turned Rome on a course from the relatively open, tolerant and pluralistic civilization of the Hellenistic world, towards a culture that was based on the rule of fixed authority, whether that of the Bible, or the writings of Ptolemy in astronomy and of Galen and Hippocrates in medicine. Only a thousand years later, with the advent of the Renaissance and the emergence of modern science, did Europe begin to free itself from the effects of Constantine's decision, yet the effects of his establishment of Christianity as a state religion remain with us, in many respects, today. Brilliantly wide-ranging and ambitious, this is a major work of history.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - datrappert - LibraryThing

Scholarly but readable book that highlights an era when religion began to take over from reason. Hmmm--maybe that era has never really ended, at least not in some parts of the world (or some parts of our own country). Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - peterwall - LibraryThing

The Closing of the Western Mind is a long and detailed argument, which might be easier to follow if one began with the Epilogue. But Charles Freeman begins instead with a late 15th century fresco ... Read full review

Contents

THE QUEST FOR CERTAINTY
7
THE QUEST FOR VIRTUE
26
CHANGING POLITICAL CONTEXTS ALEXANDER
36
ABSORBING THE EAST ROME AND
47
ALL NATIONS LOOK TO THE MAJESTY or Ro 11
61
TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE THIRD CENTURY
79
JESUS
88
10
110
15
227
16
233
EASTERN CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMERGENCE OF
251
18
271
19
307
THOMAS AQUINAR AND THE RESTORATION OF REASON
323
Epilogue _ 3 5
360
Modern Works Cited in the Text and Notes 4 05
405

II
154
Il
181
SIX EMPERORS AND A BISHOP AMBROSE OF MILAN
217

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About the author (2007)

Charles Freeman is the author of The Greek Achievement and Egypt, Greece, and Rome. He lives in Suffolk, England.

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