The yellow cross worn by Cathar repentants. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For me a blog is an online journal. Because it is so public, I don’t include my deepest or darkest thoughts, but then I probably wouldn’t do that in a regular journal. As a historian, I know journals and diaries can become very public. Even obscure people end up in a Ken Burns series if they lived through interesting times. And those of us alive in the past century lived through interesting times (more on this in later posts).
Before 8:00 AM I had several ideas for a post today, but I settled on my favorite topic, good reads.
This morning, my reading focus has been Diarmuid McCulloch’s Christian History: An Introduction to the Western Tradition. McCulloch is an Oxford don. I think his book a summry of courses he teaches at Oxford on the History of Christianity. He says, that’s “history of,” not Christian history. In other words this book is an overview sans theological interpretation.
- Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I love this book, it pulls together many of the books I have read on the history of Christianity, beginning with Augustine of Hippo in North Africa (Did you know there were two Augustines?).
For example, I have read 4 histories of the Albigensian Crusades (persecution of the Cathars in France and Italy), one on the Teutonic Crusades (German Latin Rite monks against the Baltic Orthodox Christians), one on the Latin Rite crusade that wrecked Greek Orthodox Constantinople, and others.
McCulloch covers them all, suggesting Christians spent more time killing other Christians than anyone else. I am about 40% of the way through this book and haven’t reached the Second Reformation (yes, there were two of them, the first begun by Pope Gregory).
In 2007, I took a graduate class on the historical context of the second Reformation. I peeked at McCulloch’s footnotes, and yes, he references several of the books we read for my class including Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580.
That Christianity survived Christians is a miracle.