The Age of Faith Story of Civilization 4 Kindle ↠ of

The Age of Faith Story of Civilization 4 Kindle ↠ of


  • Hardcover
  • 1196 pages
  • The Age of Faith Story of Civilization 4
  • Will Durant
  • English
  • 07 July 2014
  • 9780965000758

10 thoughts on “The Age of Faith Story of Civilization 4

  1. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    Several months ago I had a little debate with a friend of mine who is studying history about the Middle Ages I was arguing I’m sorry to say a simplistic and stereotyped version of that period I noted that the science of the day was almost wholly derived from Aristotle and other classical philosophers; that Galen a Roman physician was still considered the major authority of medicine; that philosophy was so intermingled with theology as to be wholly compromised My friend pointed out to me that first to judge a different time period by the standards of one’s own is always uestionable; and second these large generalizations don’t do justice to the daily reality of the time and that there was doubtless much variation from place to place and from time to time The debate influenced me enough to prompt me to look closely into the period’s history First I made my way through the works of Augustine and Auinas who had long been on my to read shelf Meanwhile I took a trip to the Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art a beautiful branch of the museum overlooking the Hudson River—constructed out of pieces of several European abbeys transported to New York—which houses the Met’s impressive collection of medieval art And finally I began on Will Durant’s Age of Faith the massive fourth installment of his even massive Story of Civilization which covers the period from the death of Constantine 337 to the death of Dante Alighieri 1321 An enormous amount of information is packed into these pages—so much that I can’t hope to do justice to it all in this review To a large extent this book is of a piece with the two preceding volumes The Life of Greece and Caesar and Christ; it differs mainly in being larger and varied in subject matter Durant aims to tell the story of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the resulting political chaos of Western Europe; the gradual decline and fall of the Eastern Empire and the development of Byzantine culture; the emergence of the modern political landscape from the invasions and conuests of the Middle Ages; as well as the history of the three major religions Christianity Islam and Judaism The sections on Islam and Judaism I found especially impressive What were the Dark Ages for Western Europe was the Renaissance for the Muslim World; and Durant’s lengthy chapters on Muslim and Jewish thinkers are both admirable and inspiring Now I am determined to at least read Moses Maimonides Averroës and Avicenna to do justice to the intellectual life of this time period Durant is a fine writer and an competent chronicler but what sets him apart is his versatility He can write ably about mythology poetry sculpture architecture commerce philosophy literature religion culture medicine music art war language and government Certainly he is by no means an expert in any of these subjects and doesn’t pretend to be; and it is fair to say that his treatment of each tends to be superficial and cursory But the final combination is as the saying goes than the sum of its parts What emerges is a compelling portrait of an entire era from its trade routes to its wandering minstrels from its superstitions to its greatest thinkers And every ounce of his versatility is needed in these pages for as I soon learned the Middle Ages were a complex and eventful time a far cry from the sorry stereotype I had held before Just last week I found myself standing inside the Toledo Cathedral I sat in the pews and looked up at the vaulted ceiling which seemed supernaturally suspended above me Every surface of the building was significant; every picture told a story every shrine commemorated a holy event Generations of artists had collaborated on this structure making the final product a mix of styles across centuries; and yet every element coalesced into a nearly perfect whole Colored light poured in through the stained glass windows high up above; voices echoed and re echoed seeming to descend from the ceiling in a chorus of unintelligible whispers; an intoxicating smell I believe of frankincense wafted over the space; and as I sat there I found myself agreeing with Santayana that stripped of its pretentions to reality the Catholic faith might be the most compelling piece of art ever made Shortly after leaving the cathedral I found myself in a museum of torture devices used in the Middle Ages Though I’m sure the information was exaggerated to titillate the tourist it was impossible to look upon these devices without feeling a sense of shame for all of humanity that we could ever subject one another to these bizarre and horrid punishments—especially for something as intangible as a religious belief Though to be sure heresies were often tied to politically revolutionary movements The juxtaposition of these two things the cathedral and the torture devices summarized for me why you can’t form a verdict of an age; sublimity and barbarism so often if not always exist side by side Durant does his best to do justice to this strange concatenation of cruelty and superstition faith and reason worldliness and otherworldliness; and I’m happy to say that he mostly succeeds He does however have his faults For one although he is versatile in subject matter he is not a flexible writer His style becomes somewhat monotonous as it roles on; and by this the fourth volume the reader is familiar with all of Durant’s favorite turns of phrase and rhetorical devices—though admittedly when one writes as much as Durant it is forgivable to run out of tricks Durant is also unfortunately fond of superlatives; these pages are filled with the words “most” and “best”—to the extent that it all becomes rather meaningless Added to this is his penchant for broad unsustainable stereotypes For example he persistently characterizes the French as clear writers and logical thinkers—which any reader of Foucault and Bourdieu knows to be claptrap But what really separates Durant from true greatness is his lack of depth rigor and originality His analyses of history are superficial; his writing style is adapted from Gibbon though considerably watered down; his explanations of scientific theories and philosophical ideas are often sketchy; and no idea in this volume can be said to originate with Durant He is not a historian nor is he a philosopher; rather Durant is a popularizer Durant frankly writes for a middlebrow audience perhaps the same audience who subscribed to the Book of the Month Club and brought Mortimer Adler and his Great Books of the Western World to fame In the US in the 1930s 40s and 50s apparently there was a widespread hunger among the middle class for classical learning; and in that light Durant’s Story of Civilization can be seen as remedial education for bourgeois Americans with highbrow aspirations After all a blue blooded member of the intelligentsia would hardly have need for these volumes But fortunately for Durant if he is a popularizer he is an exceedingly good one—perhaps one of the best And being myself a member of the uncultured American middle class this remedial education in European history and culture is much appreciated Thus I have nothing but gratitude for his diligence and a deep respect for his capacious and genial mind


  2. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    This book exhausted me I'll return soon to write a review I'm trying to read onemonth until November Got this one in under the wire for April


  3. Helga Helga says:

    “Nothing is lost in history; sooner or later every creative idea finds opportunity and development and adds its color to the flame of life”The Age of Faith the fourth volume of The Story of Civilization covers the Middle Ages in Europe and the Near East giving a fair and comprehensive account of the economic political legal military moral social religious educational scientific philosophic and artistic aspects of four distinct civilizations Byzantine Islamic Judaic and West European “But if thereafter reason should fail and science should find no answers but should multiply knowledge and power without improving conscience or purpose; if all utopias should brutally collapse in the changeless abuse of the weak by the strong; then men would understand why once their ancestors in the barbarism of those early Christian centuries turned from science knowledge power and pride and took refuge for a thousand years in humble faith hope and charity”


  4. Jamie Jamie says:

    To understand the Middle Ages we must forget our modern rationalism our proud confidence in reason and science our restless search after wealth and power and an earthly paradise; we must enter sympathetically into the mood of men disillusioned of these pursuits standing at the end of a thousand years of rationalism finding all dreams of utopia shattered by war and poverty and barbarism seeking consolation in the hope of happiness beyond the graveOn sites for book readers you can occasionally find posts that ask if Will Durant’s eleven volume Story of Civilization is still worth reading and the responses are generally mixed For me though the answer is an emphatic yes Durant was not an academic historian who wrote primarily for other historians; he was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide to the key developments of history across a broad range of topics politics economics religion science philosophy literature art and New scholarship has added some details and incorporated some changes in emphasis but Durant remains an excellent source for big picture history with his astonishing ability to tie together peoples places times and events If you seek to understand the past Durant is a good place to startVolume Four The Age of Faith covers the Middle Ages from the death of Constantine in 337 to Dante’s Divine Comedy in 1320 It ranges from the fall of the western Roman empire to the rise and decline of Byzantium; the invasions of the barbarians; the spread of Islam; the birth of feudalism; the age of chivalry and the shift in emphasis from infantry to mounted warfare; the Crusades; the Spanish Reconuista; the expansion of the power and influence of the Roman Catholic church across Europe and the growing resistance to it from newly emerging nation states Along the way the book adds chapters on philosophy law architecture science economics and the growing power of towns and guilds at the expense of feudal lordsThe book is particularly good on the rise and spread of Islam Our present age is one of religious confrontation but it is well to be reminded that early Islam was a dynamic and invigorating force for civilization It was tolerant placed greater emphasis on justice and mercy and accepting of new ideas than the Christianity of that age thus preserving precious works of history science and philosophy that otherwise would have been lost forever By the time Islam arrived in the Levant the political and religious institutions of the Byzantine empire had become corrupt oppressive forces The Moslem armies were abetted and welcomed by many people in Egypt Palestine and Syria who were granted far autonomy in worship than they previously hadThe rise in power and prestige of the Papacy was accompanied by a rise in corruption and those who objected too vocally disappeared into dungeons and onto gibbets Francis of Assisi’s doctrine of poverty and simplicity almost led to its being condemned as many other similar movements were Religious orthodoxy was seen as essential to maintaining order and in one of its darkest moments the Papacy unleashed the Inuisition permitting and even encouraging torture and murder Since the Inuisitors received a portion of the wealth of the condemned many innocent people were sent to their deathsBefore starting The Story of Civilization Durant was known for his very popular book The Story of Philosophy Not surprisingly his chapters on philosophy in The Age of Faith are excellent whether he is discussing Jewish mysticism Christian Scholasticism or the Islamic incorporation of Aristotle into their own systems Durant fills out his discussions with details about the factors that led to the creation of these schools of philosophy their leading adherents and their effects on social and religious practicesAnother area that Durant seems to have a special interest in is architecture In this he sometimes lets his enthusiasm lead him astray In addition to discussing the origins technical details and principles of design of the emerging Gothic style he takes time to discuss at length what seemed like every cathedral in Europe its dimensions its statuary and stained glass and its effect on visitors It made me want to learn about Gothic architecture but the chapter ran on longer than it needed to beThe Renaissance would not have been possible without advances made in the Middle Ages Stronger kings were able to maintain stability and enforce justice modern financial and banking institutions arose as did the first universities and advances in metallurgy that eventually led to the Industrial Revolution It was a fascinating age and Durant’s book does justice to its vigorous complexity the slow and difficult process of bringing order after the collapse of Western civilization and laying the groundwork for great age to followI highlighted 290 uotes from this book and it was difficult for me to trim them down to a few exemplary ones that show Durant’s knowledge understanding and even humor and still stay within Goodreads’ length limitations but following are some that I particularly enjoyed We shall never do justice to the Middle Ages until we see the Italian Renaissance not as their repudiation but as their fulfillment The emperor himself could legislate by simple decree and his will was the supreme law In the view of the emperors democracy had failed; it had been destroyed by the Empire that it had helped to win; it could rule a city perhaps but not a hundred varied states; it had carried liberty into license and license into chaos until its class and civil war had threatened the economic and political life of the entire Mediterranean world History seldom destroys that which does not deserve to die In Europe the Age of Faith reached its last full flower in Dante; it suffered a vital wound from Occam’s “razor” in the fourteenth century; but it lingered ailing till the advent of Bruno and Galileo Descartes and Spinoza Bacon and Hobbes; it may return if the Age of Reason achieves catastrophe Beliefs make history especially when they are wrong; it is for errors that men have most nobly died It is discouraging to note how many things were known to the youth of our civilization which are unknown to us today The cost of books and the dearth of funds for schools produced a degree of illiteracy which would have seemed shameful to ancient Greece or Rome Once again history illustrated the truism that civilized comfort attracts barbarian conuest Gaul now surpassed Italy in Roman pride in order and wealth in Latin poetry and prose; but in every generation it had to defend itself against Teutons whose women were fertile than their fields The higher birth rate outside the Empire and the higher standard of living within it made immigration or invasion a manifest destiny for the Roman Empire then as for North America today patriotism unchecked by a higher loyalty is a tool of mass greed and crime The rise and decline of Islamic civilization is one of the major phenomena of history For five centuries from 700 to 1200 Islam led the world in power order and extent of government in refinement of manners in standards of living in humane legislation and religious toleration in literature scholarship science medicine and philosophy belief in predestination made fatalism a prominent feature in Moslem thought It was used by Mohammed and other leaders to encourage bravery in battle since no danger could hasten nor any caution defer the predestined hour of each man’s death It gave the Moslem a dignified resignation against the hardships and necessities of life; but it conspired with other factors to produce in later centuries a pessimistic inertia in Arab life and thought The Koran like the Fundamentalist forms of Christianity seems concerned with right belief than with good conduct; a hundred times it threatens with hell those who reject Mohammed’s appeal The Jews of the Near East had welcomed the Arabs as liberators They suffered now divers disabilities and occasional persecutions; but they stood on eual terms with Christians were free once to live and worship in Jerusalem and prospered under Islam in Asia Egypt and Spain as never under Christian rule Property was concentrated in the hands of a few; the great gulf between rich and poor between Christian and Jew divided the nation into three states; and when the Arabs came the poor and the Jews connived at the overthrow of a monarchy and a Church that had ignored their poverty or oppressed their faith Moslem civilization had proved itself superior to the Christian in refinement comfort education and war The Christians of the East in general regarded Islamic rule as a lesser evil than that of the Byzantine government and church The Moslems seem to have been better gentlemen than their Christian peers; they kept their word freuently showed mercy to the defeated and were seldom guilty of such brutality as marked the Christian capture of Jerusalem in 1099 Mohammedanism like Christianity was a developing and adjustable religion which would have startled a reborn Mohammed or Christ Christianity sought unity through uniform belief Judaism through uniform ritual Talmudic law like the Mohammedan was man made law and favored the male so strongly as to suggest in the rabbis a very terror of woman’s power “Modern” thought begins with the rationalism of Abélard reaches its first peak in the clarity and enterprise of Thomas Auinas sustains a passing defeat in Duns Scotus rises again with Occam captures the papacy in Leo X captures Christianity in Erasmus laughs in Rabelais smiles in Montaigne runs riot in Voltaire triumphs sardonically in Hume and mourns its victory in Anatole France God is beyond our understanding; we can only say what He is not not what He is; “almost everything that is said of God is unworthy for the very reason that it is capable of being said” In an age of faith where hardship makes life unbearable without hope philosophy inclines to religion uses reason to defend faith and becomes a disguised theology More puzzling still filling all Augustine’s life with wonder and debate—was the problem of harmonizing the free will of man with the foreknowledge of God If God is omniscient He sees the future in all details; since God is immutable this picture that He has of all coming events lays upon them the necessity of occurring as He has foreseen them; they are irrevocably predestined Then how can man be free? Must he not do what God has foreseen? And if God has foreseen all things He has known from all eternity the final fate of every soul that He creates; why then should He create those that are predestined to be damned? Having displaced the axis of man’s concern from this world to the next Christianity offered supernatural explanations for historical events and thereby passively discouraged the investigation of natural causes; many of the advances made by Greek science through seven centuries were sacrificed to the cosmology and biology of Genesis Once triumphant the Church ceased to preach toleration; she looked with the same hostile eye upon individualism in belief as the state upon secession or revolt Feeling herself an inseparable part of the moral and political government of Europe the Church looked upon heresy precisely as the state looked upon treason it was an attack upon the foundations of social order To millions of souls the Church brought a faith and hope that inspired and canceled death That faith became their most precious possession for which they would die or kill; and on that rock of hope the Church was built the dogmatism that festers into intolerance and Inuisitions only awaits opportunity or permission to oppress kill ravage and destroy A century after the death of Francis of Assisi his most loyal followers were burned at the stake by the Inuisition Papal bull of Nicholas III 1280 We prohibit all laymen to discuss matters of the Catholic faith; if anyone does so he shall be excommunicated Rome was the center but hardly the model of Latin Christianity No city in Christendom had less respect for religion except as a vested interest Moral education was stressed in the Middle Ages at the expense of intellectual enlightenment as intellectual education is today stressed at the expense of moral discipline The greatest gift of medieval faith was the upholding confidence that right would win in the end and that every seeming victory of evil would at last be sublimated in the universal triumph of the good All religions are superstitions to other faiths Intolerance is the natural concomitant of strong faith; tolerance grows only when faith loses certainty; certainty is murderous Under every system of economy men who can manage men manage men who can only manage things It is reserved to the philosopher and forbidden to the man of action to see elements of justice in the position of his enemy In judging the Inuisition we must see it against the background of a time accustomed to brutality Perhaps it can be better understood by our age which has killed people in war and snuffed out innocent lives without due process of law than all the wars and persecutions between Caesar and Napoleon these works of the thirteenth century mingled theology with science and superstition with observation; they breathed the air of their time; and we should be chagrined if we could foresee how our own omniscience will be viewed seven centuries hence If Dante a man so bitter could win a conducted tour through paradise we shall all be saved Half the terrors of the medieval soul are gathered into this gory chronicle The Divine Comedy As one reads its awful pages the gruesome horror mounts until at last the cumulative effect is oppressive and overwhelming Not all the sins and crimes of man from nebula to nebula could match the sadistic fury of this divine revenge Dante’s conception of hell is the crowning indecency of medieval theology Centuries of barbarism insecurity and war had to intervene before man could defile his God with attributes of undying vengeance and inexhaustible cruelty Taverns were numerous ale was cheap Beer was the regular drink of the poor even at breakfast Monasteries and hospitals north of the Alps were normally allowed a gallon of ale or beer per person per day The women kept the place as clean as circumstances would permit but the busy peasants found cleanliness a nuisance and stories told how Satan excluded serfs from hell because he could not bear their smell


  5. David David says:

    I picked this up thinking I ought to know about medieval history and now by God I know about medieval history uite a lot really The fact that I retain so much of such a long book says a lot about Durant's skills as a writer I especially enjoyed his commentary and aides though Sweeping generalizations that however uotable no editor would permit today; bits of color to liven up the narrative; no attempt at an overarching thesis Since he finished the book in 1946 I am sure that some of the scholarship is out of date but he was uite progressive for his time and in any case this is about broad outlines and good stories not careful interpretations uite enjoyable


  6. Josh Friedlander Josh Friedlander says:

    One gets the sense that Will and Ariel Durant have to work slightly harder to find interest in this volume it's not the glory of ancient empires nor the flowering of the Renaissance and Enlightenment in volumes to come But their work pays off and this book running from the last pagan Roman Emperor until Dante is a hefty cornucopia of philosophy art music wars and all the other follies of civilisation It covers Rome's decline and fall and replacement by barbaric European tribes the cleft of the Empire the birth of Christianity and its ascent to become the official faith; the origins of Islam and the greatness of the Arab Golden Age receiving classical learning and preserving and increasing it; Jewish civilisation; the social and economic conditions of the Middle Ages feudalism courtly love troubadours witch burning feasts and fasts; heretics the Inuisition and the Crusades; the age of Scholastic phiosophy and Duns Scotus' eventual admission of defeat in reconciling faith with reason and that perhaps opening the door to the Renaissance That last run on sentence is very Durantian although I haven't the same style But what I'm trying to say is there's far too much here to sum up in this brief review but every page bursts with humility and humanism Dense but compulsive reading


  7. Petrea Petrea says:

    As a part of my bucket list I'm slowly making my way through all these volumes I would read them faster but they are so heavy I really have a hard time holding up the book while reading in bed so I have to read sitting up which I don't have much time for I love these books and really enjoy his witty style I wonder how many experts and linguists must have helped him put all this information together This volume covers Christian Jewish and Muslim development from the 300s AD to the 1300s a lot happened a lot of important people thought and wrote I can't really summarize it all it wouldn't matter but it's worth the investment to read it if anyone has time and interest


  8. Purple Wimple Purple Wimple says:

    Here're a few of the pithy uotes from this volume the full list exceed the max characters allowed in these reviews• In a developed civilization nothing can eual the free man’s varying wage salary or profit as an economic stimulus IV 29• Elouence is seldom accurate IV 31• Every civilization is a fruit from the sturdy tree of barbarism and falls at the greatest distance from the trunk IV 31• If art is the organization of materials the Roman Catholic Church is among the most imposing masterpieces in history IV 44• It is pleasant to know that women have always been as charming as they are today IV 53• Congregations like to be scolded but not to be reformed IV 64• All confessions are camouflage IV 71• The soul of the simple man can be moved only through the senses and the imagination by ceremony and miracle by myth and fear and hope; he will reject or transform any religion that does not give him these IV 76• Men living under a despot must find some substitute for elections IV 93• Eminence makes enemies IV 100• The lives of great men all remind us how brief is immortality IV 103• Unity is the eternal temptation of philosophers as well as of statesmen and generalizations have sometimes cost than war IV 107• The greatest generals—Alexander Caesar Belisarius Saladin Napoleon—found clemency a mighty engine of war IV 108• Thrift is a virtue with like most others must be practiced with discrimination IV 120• People must be consoled for monogamy and prose IV 120• It is discouraging to note how many things were known to the youth of our civilization which are unknown to us today IV 125• An historian who strains his pen to prove a thesis may be trusted to distort the truth IV 125• In Persia as in all civilized societies clothes made half the man and slightly of the women IV 137• Religious belief seems indispensable to parental authority IV 138• Modern improvements in transport and communication have permitted greater wars IV 146• We cannot judge past beauty by present ruins IV 149• Nothing is lost in history; sooner or later every creative idea finds opportunity and development and adds its color to the flame of life IV 150• The populace is always royalist than the king IV 151• For his tribe the Arab would do with a clear conscience what civilized people do only for their country religion or “race”—ie lie steal kill and die IV 157• To rob trespassers is an unusually straightforward form of taxation IV 158• Understanding the management of men seldom comes to highly educated persons IV 162• Every successful preacher gives voice and form to the need and longing of his time IV 163• A religion is among other things a mode of moral government IV 176• The early Islamic legal disabilities of women barely matched the power of their elouence their tenderness and their charms IV 181• The greatest problems of the moralist are first to make co operation attractive and then to determine the size of the whole or group with which he will counsel pre eminent co operation A perfect ethic would ask the paramount co operation of every part with the greatest whole—with the universe itself or its essential life and order or God; on that plane religion and morality would be one But morality is the child of custom and the grandchild of compulsion; it develops co operation only within aggregates euipped with force Therefore all actual morality has been group morality IV 182• The Koran which excoriates the Jews is the sincerest flattery they have ever received IV 184• The persistence of the Byzantine emperor model of kingship taken from the Persian Kings of Kings to our time suggests its serviceability in the government and exploitation of an unlettered population 193• The virtues of a saint may be the ruin of a ruler IV 195• Periodically the pressure of a growing population upon the means of subsistence generates the mass migrations that overshadow the other events of history IV 203• Civilization is a union of soil and soul—the resources of the earth transformed by the desire and discipline of men Behind the façade and under the burden of courts and palaces temples and schools letters and luxuries and arts stands the basic man the hunter bringing game from the woods; the woodman felling the forest; the herdsman pasturing the breeding his flock; the peasant clearing plowing sowing cultivating reaping tending the orchards the vine the hive and the brood; the woman absorbed in the hundred crafts and cares of a functioning home; the minor digging in the earth; the building shaping homes and vehicles and ships; the artisan fashioning products and tools; the pedlar shopkeeper and merchant uniting and dividing maker and user; the inventor fertilizing industry with this savings; the executing harnessing muscle materials and minds for the creation of services and goods These are the patient yet restless leviathan on whose swaying back civilization precariously rides 206• Next to bread and woman in the hierarchy of desire comes eternal salvation; when the stomach is satisfied and lust is spent man spares a little time for God IV 211• All religions are superstitions to other faiths IV 217• All religions however noble in origin soon carry an accretion of superstitions rising naturally out of the minds harassed and stupefied by the fatigue of the body and terror of the soul in the struggle for continuance IV 217• Men being by nature uneual in intelligence and scruple democracy must at best be relative; and in communities with poor communication and limited schooling some form of oligarchy is inevitable 225• War an democracy are enemies IV 225• Civilization is rural in base but urban in form; men must gather in cities to provide for one another audiences and stimuli IV 228• Few historians have the courage to set their own religion in that modest perspective which every nation or faith must bear in time’s immensity IV 238• The continuity of science and philosophy from Egypt Indian and Babylonia through Greece and Byzantium to Eastern and Spanish Islam and thence to northern Europe and America is one of the brightest threads in the skein of history IV 241• Avicenna was the greatest writer on medicine al Razi the greatest physician al Biruni the greatest geographer al Haitahm the greatest optician Jabir probably the greatest chemist of the Middle Ages; these five names so little known in present day Christendom are one measure of our provincialism in viewing medieval history IV 249• In a society where government law and morality are bound up with a religious creed any attack upon that creed is viewed as menacing the foundations of social order itself IV 251• A scientist completes himself only through philosophy IV 255• Only lunatics can be completely original IV 257• There is nothing so foolish but it may be found in the pages of the philosophers IV 257• At their peak philosophy and religion meet in the sense and contemplation of universal unity The soul untouched by logic too weak of wing for the metaphysical flight from the many to the one from incident to law might reach that vision through a mystic absorption of the separate self in the soul of the world And where science and philosophy failed where the brief finite reason of man faltered and turned blind in the presence of infinity faith might mount to the feet of God by ascetic discipline unselfish devotion the unconditional surrender of the part to the whole IV 258• Day by day the religion that some philosophers supposed to be the product of priests is formed and re formed by the needs sentiment and imagination of the people; and the monotheism of the prophets becomes the polytheism of the populace IV 261• Which of us—who have less leisure than men had before so many labor saving devices were invented—has read every line of the Iliad or the Aeneid or The Divine Comedy or Paradise Lost? IV 270• The people are always healthier in their conduct than in their creeds IV 278• Every conuest creates a new frontier which being exposed to danger suggest further conuest 283• Nothing fails like success IV 285• Statesmen who organize successful wars just or unjust are exalted by both contemporaries and posterities IV 295• The ardor that destroys is seldom mated with the patience that builds IV 296• The good the true and the beautiful fluctuate with the fortunes of war IV 303• Civilized comfort attracts barbarian conuest IV 338• Nothing save bread is so precious to mankind as its religious beliefs; for man lives not by bread alone but also by the faith that lets him hope Therefore his deepest hatred greets those who challenge his sustenance or his creed IV 343• Only at the peaks of history has a society produced in an eual period so many illustrious men—in government education literature philology geography history mathematics astronomy chemistry philosophy and medicine—as Islam in the four centuries between Harun al Rashid and Averroës 343• The continuity of history reasserts itself despite earthuakes epidemics famines eruptive migrations and catastrophic wars the essential processes of civilization are not lost; some younger culture takes them up snatches them from the conflagration carries them on imitatively then creatively until fresh youth and spirit can enter the race As men are members of one another and generations are moments in a family line so civilizations are units in a larger whole whose name is history; they are stages in the life of man IV 343• Civilization is polygenetic—it is the co operative product of many peoples ranks and faiths; and no one who studies its history can be a bigot of race or creed Therefore the scholar though be belongs to his country through affectionate kinship feels himself also a citizen of that Country of the Mind which knows no hatreds and no frontiers; he hardly deserves his name if he carries into his study political prejudices or racial discriminations or religions animosities; and he accords his grateful homage to any people that has borne the torch and enriched his heritage IV 343—44• Dietary wisdom begins with the teeth IV 357• No people has surpassed the Jews in the order of beauty of family life IV 360• By and large no other people has ever given as generously as the Jews IV 361• Music and religion are as intimately related as poetry and love; the deepest emotions reuire for their civilized expression the most emotional of the arts IV 384• The life of the mind is a composition of two forces the necessity to believe in order to live and the necessity to reason in order to advance In ages of poverty and chaos the will to believe is paramount for courage is the one thing needful; in ages of wealth the intellectual powers come to the fore as offering preferment and progress; conseuently a civilization passing from poverty to wealth tends to develop a struggle between reason and faith a “warfare of science with theology” In this conflict philosophy dedicated to seeing life whole usually seeks a reconciliation of opposites a mediating peace with the result that it is scorned by science and suspected by theology In an age of faith where hardship makes life unbearable without hope philosophy inclines to religion uses reason to defend faith and becomes a disguised theology IV 405• The isles of science and philosophy are everywhere washed by mystic seas Intellect narrows hope and only the fortunate can bear it gladly IV 416• It is the unfortunate who must believe that God has chosen them for His own IV 418• It is almost a Newtonian law of history that large agricultural holdings in proportion to their mass and nearness attract smaller holdings and by purchase or otherwise periodically gather the land into great estates; in time the concentration becomes explosive the soil is redivided by taxation or revolution and concentration is resumed IV 434• It is easier for the ignorant than for the learned to be original IV 437• Beliefs make history especially when their or wrong; it is for errors that men have most nobly died 458• Every great man values time IV 470• Every extended frontier of empire or knowledge opens up new problems IV 471• Literary prose comes later than poetry in all literatures as intellect matures long after fancy blooms; men talk prose for centuries “without knowing it” before they have leisure or vanity to mold it into art IV 491• Men wear out rapidly in war or government IV 492• Life’s brevity forbids the enumeration of gods or kings IV 502• Time sanctions error as well as theft IV 508• Journalism and history luring the reader with the exceptional miss the normal flow of human life 509• History seldom destroys that which does not deserve to die; and the burning of the tares makes for the next sowing a richer soil IV 510• It is reserved to the philosopher and forbidden to the man of action to see elements of justice in the position of his enemy IV 551• Under every system of economy men who can manage men manage men who can only manage things IV 560• It would of course be absurd to expect soldiers to be saints; good killing reuires its own uniue virtues IV 575• Romantic love—ie love that idealizes its object—has probably occurred in every age in degree loosely corresponding with the delay and obstacles between desire and fulfillment IV 576• Modern politeness is a dilution of medieval chivalry IV 578• Whatever its excesses and absurdities in literature however far chivalry in fact fell short of its ideals it remains one of the major achievements of the human spirit an art of life splendid than any art IV 578• The price of sovereignty is the capacity for self defense IV 592• Men must learn to kill with a good conscience if they are to fight successful wars IV 593• War does one good—it teaches people geography IV 612• Every cultural flowering finds root and nourishment in an expansion of commerce and industry 614• The Middle Ages disciplined men for ten centuries in order that modern men might for four centuries be free IV 621• Medieval man could eat his breakfasts without being disturbed by the industriously collected calamities of the world IV 622• Gold and civilization wax and wane together IV 625• We may judge the fall of money from some typical prices at Ravenna in 1268 a dozen eggs cost “a penny”’ at London in 1328 a pig cost four shillings an ox fifteen; in thirteenth century France three francs bough a sheep six a pig History is inflationary IV 626• Every generation borrows and denounces those who lend IV 628• A Medieval craftsman did not read much and was spared much stupefying trash IV 636• As in a limitless universe any point may be taken as center so in the pageant of civilizations and states each nation like each soul interprets the drama of history or life in terms of its own role and character IV 659• It is remarkable to how many different environments from Scotland to Sicily the Normans adapted themselves; with what violent energy they aroused sleeping regions and peoples; and how completely in a few centuries they were absorbed by their subjects and disappeared from history IV 703• Faith declines as wealth increases IV 710• We must remind ourselves again that the historian like the journalist is forever tempted to sacrifice the normal to the dramatic and never uite conveys and adeuate picture of any age IV 731• In many aspects religion is the most interest of man’s ways for it is his ultimate commentary on life and his only defense against death IV 732• It is difficult for those who today live in comfort and plenty to go down in spirit into the chaos and penury that molded medieval faiths IV 732• Village atheists leave few memorials behind them IV 736• The medieval mind for the most part surrendered itself to faith trusted in God and the Church as modern man trusts in science and the state IV 738• In every grate religion ritual is as necessary as creed It instructs nourishes and often begets belief; it brings the believer into comforting contact with his god; it charms the senses and the soul with drama poetry and art; it binds the individuals into a fellowship and a community by persuading them to share in the same rites the same songs the same prayers at last the same thoughts IV 742• One can forgive much to a religion and an age that created Mary and her cathedrals IV 748• Appeals to universal sensibilities are successful—for evil as well as for good—than challenges to the changeful an individualist intellect IV 752• Men cannot live without hope and will not consent to die IV 754• Charges of corruption have been made against every government in history; they are nearly always partly true and partly exaggerated from startling instances IV 768• It is the tragedy of things spiritual that they languish if unorganized and are contaminated by the material needs of their organization IV 768• Intolerance is the natural concomitant of strong faith; tolerance grows only when faith loses certainty; certainty is murderous IV 784• Morals fall as riches rise and nature will out according to men’s needs In any large group certain individuals will be found whose instincts are stronger than their vows IV 786• Europe insisted on traversing the exciting parabola of wealth science philosophy and doubt IV 802• Which of us is so saintly that he may demand an untarnished record from any class of men? IV 804• Virtue makes no news and bores both readers and historians IV 804• When we look back upon the nineteen centuries of Christianity with all their heroes kings and saints we shall find it difficult to list many men who came so close to Christian perfection as the nuns Their lives of uiet devotion and cheerful ministration have made many generations blessed When all the sins of history are weighed in the balance the virtues of these women will tip the scale against them and redeem our race IV 807• Ethically every civilization is a balance and tension between the jungle instincts of men and the inhibitions of a moral code The instincts without the inhibitions would end civilization; the inhibitions without the instincts would end life The problem of morality is to adjust inhibitions to protect civilization without enfeebling life IV 819• Custom and imitation guided the adolescent now and then into ways sanctioned by the trial and error experience of the race Law frightened instinct with the specter of punishment Conscience tamed youth with the detritus of an endless stream of prohibitions IV 819


  9. Bob Nichols Bob Nichols says:

    This Durant volume takes the reader from the tail of the Roman Empire to the 13th century primarily in Christendom Europe In this Age when faith and orthodoxy ruled St Augustine was its most powerful voice Durant says Augustine allowed earthly cities but life there was secondary to the divine city of the one true God Augustine gave a definitive stamp to catholic theology Durant continues giving it a Neoplatonic tinge Augustine formulated the claim of the Church to supremacy over the mind and the state That supremacy however had to be achieved through conflict with pagans and tribes; with Arab Islamic and Byzantine peoples; and with religious thinkers who strayed from orthodoxy At the apex of the Church's standing in Latin Christianity Pope Innocent III 1161 1216 envisioned a moral world stateIn this era of faith life was stuck in time Feudal society freemen serfs slaves was characterized by a dual loyalty with serfs and slaves trading subjection for protection from their masters and looking to the church for comfort and salvation Slaves were slaves because it was their nature and women were intended to be inferior by God Like Plato Durant comments the Jew thanked God that he had not been born a woman; and the woman replied humbly 'I thank God that I was made according to His will' Magic and superstition were everywhere; science and knowledge were subservient to religious orthodoxy and medicine was a branch of theology Life was strict and unforgiving It was a God intoxicated age where Most Christians believed that all Moslems and most Moslems believed that all Christians would go to hell Under the Inuisition torture was used to get confessions and wars and persecutions revealed a ferocity unknown in any beast Durant writes St Francis' devotion to life and non life was such that he hesitated to blow out a candle for fear that the fire might object to being put out A hundred years later his most loyal followers were burned at the stake by the Inuisition The consecrated wafer came to contain the whole body blood and soul of Jesus Christ and Durant comments one of the oldest ceremonies of primitive religion the eating of the god is widely practiced and revered in European and American civilization today Nevertheless the church was doing its best to promote civilizing values Durant states It built the great cathedrals in Europe created majestic music to fill its chambers and served as hubs of charity and comfort for the weak and the poorEven so these civilizing values were confined by a faith based worldview that kept man and women in their proper place Women were seen as the favored instrument of Satan who led men to hell At the end of this age Thomas Auinas who sought to reconcile Aristotle's scientific thinking with the word of God was the prisoner of his own religious world 'The woman' Auinas wrote 'is subject to the man on account of the weakness of her nature both mind and body' This is he believed the law of nature and that law in his Aristotle based theology was the law of God Facing the lessons of Aristotle that were coming into Europe at the time Aristotle could not ignore the biological nature of man Body and soul are one he believed and knowledge begins with the senses as opposed to faith based knowledge Sense based knowledge combines with reason to reveal God's existence and God's sole role as the creator of everything Everything has a cause and such chains of logic can be taken all the way back to the beginning the First Cause that acts upon but is not acted upon This was GodAuinas' philosophy theology was comprehensive in scale and scope He took what he faced the all dominant Church on the one hand and the increasingly pervasive evidence that the world in fact operated by than faith and magic and weaved together a story that made a good deal of sense But the tie between reason and theology was tenuous and began to fray in the centuries to come This was to become the Renaissance which is the subject of Durant's next volume Durant's knowledge and writing is impressive In this volume as in his prior ones Durant offers observations here and there about the lessons of history believing that the best predictor of the future is who we have been in the past Patterns repeat themselves Civilization is a thin veneer The brutality of the Inuisition was surpassed only by the two wars of the last century he says the volume was written in the late 1940s The battle for the human soul which found a temporary resolution in Auinas continues Faith based knowledge competes with empirically based reason and reason competes with itself Remove God and re substitute Platonic Forms and Auinas is still relevant today in some objective non empirical reality Is the soul transcendent spirit mind or is it lodged in our body? Durant's histories continue to give This very long volume was written many decades ago but as in Volumes II and III Durant acknowledges his role as a historian for the future as well as the past He writes Thank you again friend reader Class act


  10. Gary Beauregard Bottomley Gary Beauregard Bottomley says:

    This book is my favorite book I've listened to all year Most books I listen to are because I want to find our place in the universe and how we got where we are This book does that better than any book I've listened to this yearThe author ties the pieces of the history covered together as a coherent whole The period of time covered is from about 330 AD Constantin's son to about 1315 Dante and makes the listener understand how the events led to the making of Modern Europe and explains how we get where we are thus adding to my understanding about our place in the universeMost books that mention the Islamic Civilizations from 650 AD to 1300 just give comic book like characterizations This book does not He tells the story by first telling the story of the early Christian Church in ways which the reader can understand I had earlier read an audible book called Christianity The First Three Thousand Years I couldn't follow it too many 'isms' unless you're an expert Durant is expert at stepping the reader through One thing I always like to focus on is the development of the Trinity and how it is ultimately resolved This book shed light on that for me for exampleI learned even about Christianity and what they believe in and why by listening to the sections on Islam and Judaism The author explains by comparing and contrasting between the religions including paganism and explaining clearly while looking within a religionThe author has a couple of narratives that he uses to tie the book together Perfect order leads to no liberty tolerance of others beliefs can not exist under absolute certainty and the part can not understand the wholeThe second half of the book covers from Charlemagne to the Italian Renaissance which compares and contrast the progress in Western Civilization with the Islamic Civilization The author does step away from his formula that he used in his first two Volumes He uses a chronological approach and looks at subsets of natural entities within Europe and is less thematic than he was in his first two volumes This allows him to be redundant and tell the same story in different places allowing the listener to relearn what he probably didn't catch the first timeHe'll spend a long time on Peter Abelard 1140 AD which leads to a long section on Thomas Auinas Both allow the crack of reason into the magistracy of Faith Once reason is permitted the relationship between man and the church will change The Islamic civilization at this time period allowed theology to trump philosophy In the end Christian Western Europe allowed philosophy to coexist and will ultimately lead to the Age of ReasonAs I was listening to the second half I realized that the main character who had not been properly introduced was Dante but he kept being mentioned During the story I ended up buying Dante's Inferno because the author would always include Dante way before he was to pop up in the story as a main character and talks about Dante's Comedy in the final hour of the book and why it is a summary of the whole Age of Faith I also bought a cheap Historical Atlas in order to follow the places betterPeople in general avoid this period of history because it can be complex and is often thought of has not relevant to today They are wrong and I would strongly recommend this book


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The Age of Faith Story of Civilization 4[PDF / Epub] ★ The Age of Faith Story of Civilization 4 By Will Durant – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk st A History of Medieval Civilization Christian Islamic Judaic from Constantine to Dante AD 325 1300The Age of Faith surveys the medieval achievements modern significance of Christian Islamic Judaic l st A History of Medieval Civilization Christian Islamic of Faith MOBI · Judaic from Constantine The Age eBook Æ to Dante AD The Age of Faith surveys the medieval achievements Age of Faith Epub µ modern significance of Christian Islamic Judaic life culture Like the other volumes Age of Faith Story of Epub / in The Story of Civilization this is a self contained work which at the same time fits into a comprehensive history It includes the dramatic stories of Augustine Hypatia Justinian Mohammed Harun al Rashid Charlemagne William the Conueror Eleanor of Auitaine Richard the Lion Hearted Saladin Maimonides St Francis Thomas Auinas Roger Bacon etc all in the perspective of integrated history The greatest love stories in literature—of Héloise Abélard of Dante Beatrice—are here retold with enthralling scholarship.


About the Author: Will Durant

William James Durant was a prolific American writer of Faith MOBI · historian and philosopher The Age eBook Æ He is best known for the volume The Story of Civilization Age of Faith Epub µ written in collaboration with his wife Ariel and published between and Age of Faith Story of Epub / He was earlier noted for his book The Story of Philosophy written in which was considered a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophyThey were awarde.