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Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind

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Holland also argues that many of those who clearest recognized the "radical" implications of Christianity, and its departure from earlier morality, were those fundamentally opposed to it – including Friedrich Nietzsche, the Marquis de Sade and the Nazi Party.

It’s well known that the abolition of slavery owes much to evangelicals and Quakers; it’s less well known that one of the first to make the case against it on Christian grounds was Gregory of Nyssa in the fourth century, though the equality of slave and master was already given in Christianity. Homosexuals might be no less familiar with “the noblest inspirations of the heart” than any married couple.Tom Holland is fun to read, monstrously erudite, wickedly joyful, and ahead of the established consensus, on average, by four years, three months, and two days -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the Incerto (The Black Swan, Antifragile. His translation of Herodotus was published in 2013 by Penguin Classics and followed in 2016 by a history of AEthelstan published under the Penguin Monarchs series, and in 2019 AEthelflaed England's Forgotten Founder as a Ladybird Expert Book. Holland traces back to christian lore concepts and ideas nowadays erroneously thought of as universal, as naturally emergent, while in fact they are culturally contingent and stem from Christianity - human rights, abolition of slavery, secularism, gender identity, equality of sexes, etc.

The obvious riposte to all this is that the church has often been oppressive and persecuting, and Holland makes that point vividly. It was released to positive reviews, although some historians and philosophers objected to some of Holland's conclusions. Despite these omissions, Dominion packs an astonishing amount of stuff into its 500 pages on Christianity’s enduring influence. We are told of Emperor Julian providing an embryonic social welfare state in 362 building on the earlier examples of Basil and Gregory who devoted their lives to the poor with the former establishing what was in effect the first hospital. lyrical, vivid * Evening Standard * It's not often that you come across a book that completely transforms your understanding of the world * Spectator * A rich and compelling history of Christendom .a cornucopia of characters and information: almost everyone would learn from it something they didn't know . this argument — that everything Nice in our contemporary world derives from Christian values, and everything Nasty in the actual history of Christendom was just a regrettable diversion from the true Christian path — seems to me to run dangerously close to apologetic".

I kept thinking about the book, kept mulling the idea over and then started to see WHY this idea was so important to how I should ultimately view "Western values" and it's so unique and WHY it is so worth preserving them. He had resolved to forgive Quoting Matthew: “you have heard that it was said love your neighbour and hate your enemy, but I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” FW de Klerk resolved to set Mandela free. This time the author takes on the very broad concept of Western thought and culture and how it has been influenced by Christian values. Dominion clearly shows how significantly the western mind is in debt to the great well-springs of Jesus’s teachings and the subsequent actions of the many Christians who put their faith into practice to create the age of what Holland terms" modernitas". If all men were equally redeemed by Christ and equally beloved of God, then there would no hierarchies or rank.When Notre Dame was being built in medieval Paris, a collective of prostitutes offered to pay for one of its windows and dedicate it to the Virgin Mary. The past comes to life in smelly ascetics, authoritarian popes, queen-saints, mad philosophers and landladies — women are prominent in this narrative. The aim is twofold: to make the reader appreciate just how novel and uncanny were Christian teachings when they first appeared in the world; and to make ourselves, and all that we take for granted, appear similarly strange in consequence.

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