Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Dark Ages Myth



Papalinton said...

Robert Sungenis? HERE

Victor Reppert said...

Thanks. On the face of things this guy has problems.

Victor Reppert said...

On the other hand, this doesn't tell us what is claimed in actual piece I linked to.

B. Prokop said...

"Dark Ages" is probably the most misunderstood term in history. The period between roughly A.D. 400 and 800 is referred to by historians as the "Dark Ages" due to the relative lack of textual sources related to those centuries, compared to those immediately before and after. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of life in that period, or to the intellectual achievements of the people of that time, but rather to how much we knew about them.

In much the same manner, a simpler and less politically correct time once referred to the unmapped portions of the African continent as "Darkest Africa". The term had nothing to do with how much light fell on equatorial Africa (surely more than on Europe), or the level of civilization within those regions, but simply and solely to the fact that those regions were unmapped, and therefore "dark" to geographers.

The term "Dark Ages" only became a pejorative during the hyper-nationalistic 20th Century, when European patriots were searching for the supposedly glorious founding stories of their respective nations. For the most part, they could not trace them back further than the 9th Century, so by default the preceding centuries were looked down upon - not because of science, or philosophy, or "enlightenment", but because the Serbs and Poles and Czechs and Frenchmen and Montenegrins, etc., could not find anything within them to bolster their various nationalist narratives.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Papalinton said...

Bob would love the last paragraph of THIS ONE. It fits with his view of modern society.

But [doubly] ironically , everything this article makes of the Dark Ages [400-1000CE] apart from the last paragraph, and particularly about religion throughout that period is right on the money. Of course the dark Ages was all about religious conflict. Of course the Catholic bourgeoisie would have pictured the age as a period of sunshine. They were after all in hegemonic ascendancy. But nobody else did.

Today catholicism [and religion generally] is on the downslide in the community. All the indices are suggesting an established and consistent trend. THIS ARTICLE reviews the concern in Catholic circles.

A Dark Age or not, I guess depends on which side of the ledger one wishes to register religion, either an asset or a liability.

I'm comfortable with the current trend.

B. Prokop said...

Linton says,
"I'm comfortable with the current trend."

Jezu ufam tobie!

im-skeptical said...

Here is another of these apologetic pieces. The main difference between this on and Victor's is that this one has more dates in it. You will notice that virtually all of the achievement of new scientific knowledge occurs after the year 1000. The notable exception to that was the importation of scientific knowledge from Arabic culture. The truth is that during the dark ages, there were a small number of centers of learning in Europe, and they were predominately devoted to preserving ancient knowledge, not developing new knowledge. Scientific advancement was basically at a standstill. For example, monks learned a minimal amount of astronomy and mathematics, primarily for the purpose of calculating the date of Easter.

Furthermore, under the horrendous living conditions of the time, the vast majority of the populace had no access whatsoever to any real education. Education was limited mainly to monks, clergy, and aristocracy.

B. Prokop said...

The use of "Dark Ages" as a pejorative is little more than chronological snobbery at its worst. How convenient to take entire centuries of human experience and thoughtlessly write them off with a catchy phrase, whose meaning you don't even understand.

No need to wonder whether Augustine might be smarter than Dawkins - after all, he lived in the "Dark Ages" (cue the scary off stage "woo-o-o-o-o!" with optional finger waving).

And for those who define the period as covering the entire Middle Ages, then no need to wonder whether Lincoln Cathedral or the Hagia Sophia is more beautiful than... well, than any building constructed in the last century or so.

No need to ponder the intricacies of Gregorian Chant or the compositions of Hildegard of Bingen, and perhaps scratch your head as to why we don't produce music this profound nowadays. After all, that's all "Dark Ages" stuff!

No need to gaze into the mysterious eyes of the saints in an icon by Andrei Rublev, or to rejoice over the unmatched beauty of a Medieval illuminated manuscript, or to simply stand in unabashed awe before the spectacular Book of Kells. Once again, they're just prodcts of the "Dark Ages" and can't possibly have any value for us enlightened moderns.

No need to marvel at that greatest of all stories, the Arthurian Legend (along with its Grail Quest) and mournfully contrast it with the latest crap on television, sucking the very souls of a nation of addicted viewers. Why, that's Medieval!

Jezu ufam tobie!

Papalinton said...

From Bob's cited article: "By 2050, the Pew report predicted that 30 per cent (2.8 billion) of the population will identify themselves as Muslim compared to 31 per cent (2.9 billion) identifying themselves as Christian. In Europe, it is suggested that by 2050, 10 per cent of the continent will be Muslim and in the US, it will become the second-largest faith.

These projections are based only on demographic trends."

Demographic trends indeed. Islam worldwide and Christianity in Africa grows not through fact or epistemic truth of the belief but by the fecundity of its followers. It is what I characterise as, 'Fucking one's way to salvation'.

Of course atheists are not compelled or motivated to fuck their way to global demographic majority.

Atheism is more a shared personal position based on reason, wisdom and sagacity rather than rabbit-like breeding as the basis for promulgating genuine ideas about addressing the challenges for humanity. If atheism dies out [highly unlikely] because of smaller family sizes, so be it. But I doubt it. Atheism is not conditioned or habituated by early childhood inculcation. People mostly come to atheism because of reason, logic and more importantly, usually later in life and despite years of indoctrination. HERE IS an interesting exchange in a Catholic household. It's all about the Xmas presents. :o)

B. Prokop said...

"It is what I characterise as, 'F-----g one's way to salvation'."

It's what Peter Kreeft characterizes as "A Woman is the most powerful thing in the world, because from her womb issues the thing that is greater than the universe - a person with an immortal soul joined into one being with a mortal body, of infinite value and destined for infinite and eternal joy ... Muslims [may very well] take over Christian civilization without shedding a drop of blood because they will produce more and more of two of the two most powerful weapons in the world: Mothers and Children."

But of course, Linton could not possibly appreciate this. His coarse and unmannerly language simply demonstrates the "loss of the good of the intellect" that Dante warned us would be suffered by damned souls. Note that Dante did not say the damned would lose the intellect as such, but rather the good that can come from its proper usage. Recall the obscene imbecility of the Un-man in Lewis's Perelandra, who uses the intellect solely as a tool, to be employed when convenient but dropped unhesitatingly when not. "Reason, wisdom and sagacity" are valued solely as means to an end, but despised when their use may thwart one's aims. Here in Linton's posting, we can observe a dim foretaste of what will pass for conversation in Hell. Not a pleasant prospect.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Ilíon said...

The Book of Kells: The Musical ;)