5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Closing of the Western Mind: By Charles Freeman,
This review is from: The Closing Of The Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason (Paperback)
Charles Freeman has written a very interesting book about the movement away from philosophical speculation to a theological dominance based entirely upon the notion of faith. Indeed, this book is subtitled 'The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason'. The ancient Greek era of philosophy is thought to run from around 585BCE to 529CE - the later date being the time of the banning of the teaching of Greek philosophy in Athens, by the Christian Roman emperor Justinian. Between this time and around 1450CE - the date of the European Renassiance - thought based upon logical structure - be it idealist or empiricist - was abandoned for a purely religious way of viewing the world.
The paperback (2003) edition contains 470 numbered pages, and includes an Introduction, an Epilogue and 20 chapters. A sample of chapters include:
Chapter 1 - Thomas Aquinas and 'The Triumph of Faith'.
Chapter 5 - Absorbing the East, Rome and the Integration of Greek Culture.
Chapter 10 - 'A Crown that lurks in corners, shunning light': The First Christian Communitiies.
Chapter 15 - Interlude: Quintus Aurelius Symmachus and the Defence of Paganism.
Chapter 20 - Thomas Aquinus and the Restoration of Reason.
Greek thought, and the culture that emerged from it, was as superior as today's modern culture in the West. Around a thousand years of faith based thinking led to a rupture between European culture and its Greek roots. The Renassiance and the later Enlightenment re-introduced the philosophical, political and medical knowledge of ancient Greece which had, ironically, been preserved within the Islamic scholarship tradition. This is a very good book of history and philosophical perspective. The points made are thought provoking and vital, as they address the development of an entire culture. Superb.