Category Archives: On History

Church History and the Biological Fallacy

Church historian David Knowles writes of his own discipline: …no class of historian has found the presentation of its subject-matter in terms of ideas so difficult and so perilous. Those who have attempted to do more than give a summary … Continue reading

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Answering Newman: A Primer for Protestants (I)

Last week, I had an illuminating talk about matters of Church history and Protestantism with a friend I haven’t seen for about 13 years. Like many Protestants, he’s run into what my Catholic friend Frank of Fides Quaerens Intellectum calls … Continue reading

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Meeting of the Minds?

In a lecture a few weeks back, a student in great consternation asked the professor how an evidently smart and Christian man like Columbus could have approved of enslaving the Native Americans. What was up with that? Columbus was a … Continue reading

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Don’t Ignore “the Usual Scene”

It has been remarked by various scholars that the Gregorian reformation of the eleventh century was essentially an attempt to re-order all of Christian society on a monastic pattern. So dark were the monkish perceptions of the state of Christian … Continue reading

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William Witt on James Mozley and Newman

Anglican scholar William Witt explains why he won’t leave Anglicanism for Rome or Orthodoxy. In the midst of his explanation, he gives an interesting summary of James Mozley’s arguments against Newman’s theory of development (see my last post). Mozley thinks … Continue reading

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James Mozley’s Critique of Newman’s Theory of Development

James Mozley (1813-1878) was a contemporary of John Henry Newman, and, as a fellow member of the Oxford Movement, he sharply criticized Newman’s move to Catholicism and said that he himself (Mozley) could no more follow Newman to Rome than … Continue reading

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Speaking of vain, idealistic attempts to literally “rebirth” a past age (as if the intervening time has not really taken place at all), Lynn Thorndike writes: If, even in our own day, all the resources of the art of history … Continue reading

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Cunningham on History and Protestantism

William Cunningham (1805 1861) was a nineteenth century Scottish polemical theologian who, like many in his day, promoted the anachronistic notion that Calvinism has always been the confession of True and Pure Christianity. Also like many in his day, he … Continue reading

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The Import of History

History must be our deliverer not only from the undue influence of other times, but from the undue influence of our own, from the tyranny of environment and the pressures of the air we breathe. – Lord Acton (Cited in … Continue reading

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“Setting Our Minds to the Track”: An Alternative Protestant Approach To Church History

In his preface to his translation of Gregory the Great’s Pastoral Care, the ninth century English king Alfred the Great penned the following stirring words: When I reflected on all this [decline of learning in England], I recollected how–before everything … Continue reading

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