Madam, yours etc.

After seeing this letter in this morning’s Irish Times, I am reminded of this which I have begun reading this morning. The opening line of RW Southern’s book reads:

The history of the Western church in the Middle Ages is the history of the most elaborate and thoroughly integrated system of religious thought and practice the world has ever known.

It was published in 1970. I think I will make it the epigraph of my first thesis chapter.

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2 thoughts on “Madam, yours etc.

  1. There’s something singularly appalling about that letter. Not that I have any important attachment to the idea of divine law, but the idea of the State being superior ‘at all times and in all things’ to other ideas of what is right is, well, totalitarian.

  2. Thanks for that Hugh. Despite the opening line of RW Southern’s book, the first few chapters outline the ways in which the Church ‘recovered’ following the collapse of the Roman empire and the expansion of the Eastern empires. It shows that for most of European history, civic / sovereign / regal power was hand in glove with various local and regional religious leaders. And we believe that we are that far removed from those times?

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