Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Christianity preserved learning and enabaled the rise of mocern science.

James Hannam is a Historian, Ph.D. from Cambridge. He
has also been "Bede" one of the major internet apologists
known for "Bede's library." He is a member of the CARE.

im-skeptical, who has made his presence known in the comment section writes in reaction to Victor Reppert on the dangerous idea blog. The article was discussing James Hnnam's book Genesis of Science which argues that the church did not persecute or hold back science:

It is amusing to see Christian apologists like Victor Reppert seize upon any any article they find on the internet that appeals to their confirmation bias.  One topic that Christians have been touchy about is the idea that the church played a large role in the suppression if intellectual pursuit during the historical period known as the Dark Ages.  If you're a Christian apologist, you'd rather believe that there was no such thing as the Dark Ages.  You'd rather believe that intellectual endeavors flourished under the benevolent leadership of the church, and life for the average citizen was just peachy.  There is no shortage of revisionist literature that supports this.  In his customary manner, Victor has uncritically latched onto a review of James Hannam's book God's Philosophers that supports this notion.[1]
The view his attributing to Christian apologists are views I learned from some atheist some Unitarian  professors in a secular history of ideas program. im-s is mot a major voice but this is right down the center of my dissertation topic. So as a point of honor I will answer it. He has no idea what historians say because his view are so ideological it's just propaganda. Look at the way he caricatures the view of Christians, Hannam does not say there was no dark ages but the term "dark" does not refer to repression of knowledge it refers to lack of source documents.

In comment section one  comes to bolster his view and quotes this ridiculous that is decades behind where historians are today, who regurgitates the atheist party line:
PapalintonMay 25, 2016 at 2:33 AMOne of the most instructive synopses of the Middle Ages [Dark Ages] that characterise the prevailing sentiment of that period in relation to the following Renaissance period of human history is this paragraph:
 During the Middle Ages man had lived enveloped in a cowl. He had not
seen the beauty of the world, or had seen it only to cross himself, and turn
aside and tell his beads and pray. Like St. Bernard travelling along the
shores of Lake Leman, and noticing neither the azure of the waters nor the
luxuriance of the vines,nor the radiance of the mountains with their robe of
sun and snow, but bending a thought-burdened forehead over the neck of his
mule - even like this monk, humanity has passed, a careful pilgrim, intent on
the terrors of sin, death, and judgment, along the highways of the world, and
had not known that they were sightworthy, or that life is a blessing. Beauty
is a snare, pleasure a sin, the world a fleeting show, man fallen and lost,
death the only certainty, judgment inevitable, hell everlasting, heaven hard
to win, ignorance is acceptable to God as a proof of faith and submission,
abstinence and mortification are the only safe rules of life - these were the
fixed ideas of the ascetic mediaeval Church. The Renaissance shattered and
destroyed them, rending the thick veil which they had drawn between the mind of man and the outer world, and flashing the light of reality upon the
darkened places of his own nature. For the mystic teaching of the Church was substituted culture in the classical humanities; a new ideal was established,whereby man strove to make himself the monarch of the globe on which it is his privilege as well as destiny to live. The Renaissance was the liberation of humanity from a dungeon, the double discovery of the outer and the innerworld." taken from HERE
This is not from a book but a website. The link is there. "The Renaissance" by R. A. Guisepi. [2]
Funny thing I cannot find reference to publications other this website and I can't find where he studied, He links his name to University of Southern California but doesn't he teaches there or got hisi doctorate there, I find no reference to a degree. There is a source that says he is a historian but doesn't say where he teaches. That doesn't mean that he's not worth reading. It does mean he's not a big authority. This quotation purports to get inside the head of a medieval Christian to what he felt and what his aversions were, and of course because he was a Christian they can all be attributed to that.He adds: "Ironically, the Renaissance movement fomented and broke out right in the Catholic Church's own backyard, Italy, paving the way across the rest of Europe and the world and towards the advent of the Enlightenment, at which time there would be no turning back to the Church." Right in their own back yard hu? Could that possibly be because they weren't being suppressed?

Everyone who deals with the issue of Christianity vs science starts with science to demonstrate either that it was persecuted or not, Hannam is no exception. In one of my best papers in graduate school I opposed the famous article by White on the roots of our Ecological crisis [3]. My starting point was not science but mystical theology., The assumption was made by  White and other secularists that mystical theology denigrated nature because it wasn't spiritual or Holy,. I demonstrated the folly of this View. In the middle ages nature was re-valued. True there was a hierarchy and nature did not occupy the top spot but neither was it denigrated.  A new relation between nature and God led to the realization of nature's beauty in its own right, and to scientific curiosity. The study of nature was not divorced from the spiritual, however, but the two were inter-related. The search for natural causes began in many monasteries: at Tours, Orleans, Paris, but most notably at Chartres and Saint-Victor. There was a reaction against the search for natural causes, not out of denigration of nature, but on the grounds that God is the final cause of all things, one need not seek further. William of Conches denied that the search for causes detracted from the Glory of God, the search for natural causes was the great work of the believer. He charged his opponents with "placing more reliance on their monkish garb than on their wisdom." The major proponents of the new outlook at Chartres were William of Conches, Adelard of Bath, Bernard Silvester, Hermann of Carinthia, John of Salisbury, and most notable, Gilbert of Poitiers.[4]

The seeds of Renaissance were planted in the 10th century, they came to full flower in the 12th century, and with them, a vital upsurge of interest in nature. The 12th century saw some very complex developments, because it brought not only a Renaissance, economic expansion and the rise of scientific study, but also a religious reformation. The movement included reform of Church corruption, as well as a mystical sense of the divine. Schiebinger makes the point that monastic institutions afforded women a measure of power, education, and scientific study. She mentions Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), who was "the most notable medieval woman author on medicine, natural history, and cosmology." She was also one of the most notable mystics of the middle ages; a major leader of the reform movement. Hildegard, through her studies of the natural world, transformed static Greek science into mystical symbolism.[5]

A host of German woman, contemporaries of Hildegard, deserve mention: among them, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Gertrude the great of Helfta, and Gertrude of Heckborn. All of these figures used nature symbolism to illumine understanding of the divine. The German mystics, far from denigrating nature, were so enchanted by it that they are often charged with pantheism; Meister Eckhart being one of the primary examples of this type of mystic. In the southern mediterranean, St. Francis brought in a new understanding of the relation to nature. Francis put nature on equal terms with humanity, "he opened up nature with respect to its ground of being, which is the same as with man." Contrary to the popular image, however, St. Francis was not a "nature mystic," that title fits Eckhart much better. Francis did not divinize nature, nor did he romanticize it. Instead, he democratized it, putting animals, trees, the stars, and the planets on the same level as humanity (his hym to "brother sun, sister moon"); all creatures beloved of God. There is a story for example, probabbly myth, which illustrates Francis attitude toward animals. A hunter was about to kill a wolf which had become a killer. Francis stood in the way and said, "don't harm brother wolf." On the other hand, he did preach to animals, on the assumption that as creatures of God they loved God and enjoyed hearing the Gospel. He also began an active engagement with life in the world, rather than contemplation in the monastery. His new order, along with their female counterparts, the Poor Clares, began a medieval poverty movement which threatened to reform the whole Church. For this reason, and because he did change the attitude toward nature, Tillich calls him "the true father [parent we could say] of the Renaissance."6 Tillich after shevenger
The entire relationship of humans to nature was being re-thought, not to the exclusion of the divine, but based on and related to the divine in a different way. Through the works of John the Scot, the word "universitas" came into more common parlance, meaning, that nature was seen as a whole (a universe, a united diversity--a uninted and harmonious whole made up of many smaller parts). Theologians, artists, poets, and other thinkers "reflected that they were themselves caught up within the framework of nature, were themselves also bits of this cosmos they were ready to master." Nature came to be valued, not merely as a symbol of the spiritual, but in its own right (as with St. Francis). God had always been present in the world, but now God infused nature with divine being. "To conceive the world as one whole is already to perceive its profound structure--a world of forms transcending the medley of visible and sense-perceptible phenomena. The whole penetrates each of its parts; it is one universe; God conceived it as a unique living being, and its intelligible model is itself a whole." ?
 Early in the eleventh century great cathedral schools in large began to rose. These were a major influence in addition to the papacy. Their influence was felt in science and in it;' early forerunner natural philosophy. "In the Carolingian period much of the focus of scholarship was among the monks in monasteries located in rural areas. with the growth if cities and the need for san educated intellectual elite among the clergy schools devoted to arose at the cathedrals around Europe." [7]  Most of the great imtellectual ferment of the twelfth century occurred near Paris where the schools of Chartres and St. Victor both produce great interest in science.[8] St. Victor developed reason and logic while Chartres focused more on cosmology and mathematics..
From this outcropping was produced a swarm of great philosophical minds who developed logic and paved  the way for scientific theory as well as philosophy as a whole. Chief among these, in the fourteenth century, was William of Ockham.

turn to science Schrtres and st victor St Vic more logicand philso[phy. both were. use Linberg book to show parallax view, theory and technology

[1] im-skeptical, "The Lie That Never Dies: Christian Apologetoics," The Skeptic Zone, May 24, 2016 blog URL: http://theskepticzone.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-lie-that-never-dies-christian.html
accessed 5/27/16

[2] R. A. Guisepi, "The Beginning and progress of The Renaissance." The renaissance.

[3]  Lynn White, "The Roots of Our Ecological Crisis," in Machina Ex Deo: Essays in The Dynamism of Western Culture. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1968. no page indicated

[4] Grant, Edward. "Science and Theology in The Middle Ages," in God and Nature: Historical Essays ON The Encounter Between Christianity and Science. ed. David Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers., Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. 51

[5] Londa Schiebenger,  "The Mind Has No Sex?" Women in The Origins of Modern Science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989. 13.

[6] Tillich

[8] Eugene F. Bales, Philosophy in the West: Men, Women, Religion, Science  172

[7] Ibid 174

[8] Armand Augustine Maurer, "The School at Chartres," Medieval Studies. Ontario:  Pontifical Institute , Medieval Philosophy  1962, 1982, 71


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