Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Mysteries of the Middle Ages for describing how
Europe finally started to drag it's way out war and chaos and
people gained some semblance of human rights.

Mysteries of the Middle Ages
The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art
from the Cults of Catholic Europe
by Thomas Cahill

Mysteries of the Middle Ages (2006) - 343 pages
Mysteries of the Middle Ages at Amazon.com

After the long period of decline known as the Dark Ages, medieval Europe experienced a rebirth of scholarship, art, literature, philosophy, and science and began to develop a vision of Western society that remains at the heart of Western civilization today, from the entry of women into professions that had long been closed to them to the early investigations into alchemy that would form the basis of experimental science. On visits to the great cities of Europe-monumental Rome; the intellectually explosive Paris of Peter Abelard and Thomas Aquinas; the hotbed of scientific study that was Oxford; and the incomparable Florence of Dante and Giotto-acclaimed historian Thomas Cahill brilliantly captures the spirit of experimentation, the colorful pageantry, and the passionate pursuit of knowledge that built the foundations for the modern world.

Cahill's latest engaging romp through pop intellectual history (after Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea) focuses, despite the subtitle, not on fringe cults, but on the mainstream of medieval Roman Catholic thought. Instead of obscurantist dogma, he finds a ferment of implicitly progressive ideas that laid the groundwork for modernity. The veneration of the Virgin Mary, he contends, prompted a boost in women's status, exemplified by the mystic nun Hildegard of Bingen, who gained public status and power as a spiritual figure. The papacy's claim of spiritual authority independent from temporal power contained the seeds of modern notions about the separation of church and state, democracy and the legitimacy of political dissent. And the perennial head scratching over the doctrine of transubstantiation, he argues, stimulated the beginnings of both empirical science and artistic realism. Cahill's treatment is more impressionistic than systematic, and built around lively profiles of iconic medievals like Abelard and Héloïse, Francis of Assisi and Giotto, whose paintings get a long, lavishly illustrated exegesis. The author wears his erudition lightly and leavens his writing with reader-friendly anachronisms, likening Hildegard to blues chanteuse Bessie Smith and calling the Franciscans "the world's first hippies." The result is a fresh, provocative look at an epoch that's both strange and tantalizingly familiar.

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Mysteries of the Middle Ages
The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art
from the Cults of Catholic Europe
By Thomas Cahill

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Mysteries of the Middle Ages for describing how
Europe finally started to drag it's way out war and chaos and
people gained some semblance of human rights.