User:NancyHeise/cultural influence sandbox

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Cultural Influence sources to ponder[edit]

I am not done gathering sources, I have some on order but I want to post the ones I do have so people can start thinking about what this section should talk about. I think, from looking at the sources, that the Catholic Church has had a major impact in these areas:

  • science
  • universities, libraries, schools
  • law, including international law
  • economics
  • morality
  • art and architecture

I think that a comprehensive cultural influences section should include mention of the Church's impact on these subjects. NancyHeise talk 15:24, 13 December 2009 (UTC)


  • From David Lindberg's The Beginnings of Western Science University of Chicago Press 1992 p. 213 "It must be emphatically stated that within this educational system the medieval master had a great deal of freedom. The sterotype of the Middle Ages pictures the professor as spineless and subservient, a slavish follower of Aristotle and the church fathers (exactly how one could be a slavish follower of both, the stereotype does not explain), fearful of departing one iota from the demands of authority. There were broad theological limits, of course, but within those limits the medieval master had remarkable freedom of thought and expression; there was almost no doctrine, philosophical or theological, that was not submitted to minute scrutiny and criticism by scholars in the medieval university."
  • From Brian Tierney's The Idea of Natural Rights: Origins and Persistence Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights 2 (April 2004): p.6 (He is speaking about church councils, papal statements "and the like" in referring to "jurists") "The important point for us is that, in explaining the various possible senses of ius naturale (natural law), the jurists found a new meaning that was not really present in their ancient texts. Reading the old texts with minds formed in their new, more personalist, rights-based culture, they added a new definition. Sometimes they defined natural right in a subjective sense as a power, force, ability, or faculty inhering in human persons ... Once the old concept of natural right was defined in this subjective way the argument could easily lead to the rightful rules of conduct prescribed by natural law or to the licit claims and powers inhering in individuals that we call natural rights. ... (the canonists) were coming to see that an adequate concept of natural justice had to include a concept of individual rights."
  • From Harold Berman's Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition Harvard University Press 1983 p. 166 "(Western legal systems) are a secular residue of religious attitudes and assumptions which historically found expression first in the liturgy and rituals and doctrine of the church and thereafter in the institutions and concepts and values of the law. When these historical roots are not understood, many parts of the law appear to lack any underlying source and validity."
  • Berman p. 195 "Western concepts of law are in their origins, and thereafter in their nature, intimately bound up with distinctively Western theological and liturgical concepts of the atonement and of the sacraments."
  • Berman p. 228 "(speaking about canon law of marriage) Here were the foundations not only of the modern law of marriage but also of certain basic elements of modern contract law, namely, the concept of free will and related concepts of mistake, duress, and fraud."
  • From Alvin Schmidt's How Christian Charity Changed the World - the entire book, a scholarly work with notes and bibiliography, is about the Church's influence - for a summary see the book's table of contents on page 4 [1]
  • Joseph Schumpeter wrote a scholarly work entitled History of Economics which talks about the Church's influence see [2]

More sources to come. Thanks, NancyHeise talk 15:24, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Guenter Risse Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals[3] Oxford University Press 1999 discusses the Church and developement of the hospital system in chapters 2, 3 and 10.
  • Richard Dales wrote The Intellectual Life of Western Europe in the Middle Ages [4] University Press of America, 1980 which offers a useful study on the Church and education in the Middle ages beginning on page 222.
  • Randall Collins Weberian Sociological Theory Cambridge University Press 1986 attributes the foundation of Captialism to the Catholic Church beginning on page 45. He discusses the importance of monasteries on beginning on page 52.[5]
  • JL Heilbron The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories Harvard University Press page 3 quote "The Roman Catholic Church gave more financial aid and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries, from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment, than any other, and probably, all other institutions."
  • Thomas Woods How the Church Built Western Civilization Regnery Publishing 2001 is a scholarly work with notes and bibiliography. From page 4 "For the last fifty years, virtually all historians of science-including AC Crombie, David Lindberg, Edward Grant, Stanley Jaki, Thomas Goldstein, and JL Heilbron - have concluded that the Scientific Revolution was indebted to the Church. The Catholic contribution to science went well beyond ideas- including theological ideas- to accomplished practicing scientists, many of whom were priests." This entire book goes into great detail on the various contributions of the Church and its cultural impact.
  • Thomas Greer and Gavin Lewis' A Brief History of the Western World published by Thompson Wadsworth 2005, used as a university textbook for Western Civilization courses in many universities. From page 167 "the teaching and practice of charity - especially caring for the sick - held rich and poor together within the Christian communities. Likewise, although Christianity accepted the subordination of women to men, the doctrine of equality in Christ made a real difference to the position of women in early Christian congregations. Christianity denounced the common practice of infanticide, of which girl babies were usually the victims, and preached that adultery by husbands was as sinful as by wives. Both Christian and non-Christian observers agreed that women formed the majority of converts ..."
Same book from page 130 describing Roman household customs "The father was responsible for the education and devotions of his children and, in theory at least, was absolute master of his household. He alone (as in Greece) decided the fate of newborn infants. Those showing physical defects were ordered abandoned; sons were more likely than daughters to be chosen for rearing. Significantly, upper-class daughters were not given personal names. They were called simply by the names of the aristocratic clans ... to which they belonged, and identified by such terms as "the elder" or "the third," or by the names of individual families to which their fathers or husbands belonged. ... If spared at birth, girls were expected to marry in their early teens and to bear children soon afterward."
Same book from page 172 "Thus unity of practice was achieved through the acceptance of a higher authority. Of the five patriarchs, Rome seemed to have the strongest claim to exercise this power. The Eternal City still enjoyed great prestige among the communities of the empire; Rome was the scene of the missionary work and martyrdom of the two leading apostles, Peter and Paul; and according to tradition, the Roman diocese had been founded by Christ's first disciple, Peter. Furthermore, the Roman bishops interpreted a passage in the Gospel of Matthew (16:18-19) to mean that Christ had founded his Church on Peter and had entrusted to him alone the 'keys of the kingdom of heaven.' This, they insisted made Peter supreme among the apostles. And since each bishop of Rome was the direct successor of Peter, the bishop of Rome was clearly supreme among the bishops of the world." NancyHeise talk 21:01, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Francis Oakley, The Medieval Experience, Foundations of Western Cultural Singularity published by Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974 discusses the impact of the Church on Medieval Society and how the Gospel message transmitted by the Church formed Western civilization. This book is cited by Thomas Bokenkotter who quotes Oakley's page 71 "...for whatever its barbarisms, its corruptions, its malformations, whatever its evasions and dishonesties, in the medieval church men and women still contrived, it would seem, to encounter the Gospel." The author goes on to discuss in detail how this encounter with the Gospel laid the foundations of society. "any attempt to comprehend the significance of the medieval experience in the developement of Western Civilization must turn attention instead to the changes that Christianity wrought in the lives and thinking of medieval people - and at so heavy a price." The book is available on Googlebooks here [6]

NancyHeise talk 21:45, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Joel Panzer's The Popes and Slavery - brief overview here [7] NancyHeise talk 03:21, 22 March 2010 (UTC)