Monday, April 20, 2009

Charles Freeman's A.D. 381 Reviewed in Houston Chronicle

Charles Freeman provocative new book, A.D. 381, is reviewed by Steven Alford in the Houston Chronicle: "In two books, The Closing of the Western Mind and A.D. 381: Heretics, Pagans, and the Dawn of the Monotheistic State, Charles Freeman has sought to trace the process through which the West abandoned the Greek ideal of free, rational inquiry, replacing it with the assumption that orthodox Christianity was the only avenue for discovering truths about the world. With this transition, credulity replaced reason and blind adherence to orthodoxy replaced open speculation about the nature of spiritual and earthly life. The Closing of the Western Mind focused on the broad thesis that the Greek rationalist tradition had been destroyed by the politicization of the Christian church by the state, while A.D. 381 focuses more closely on the important transitions that took place in the relationship between Church and state in the last thirty years of the fourth century. . . Clearly written, well organized, and compellingly argued, A.D. 381 provides an absorbing window into “one of the most important moments in the history of European thought.”

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