Whence “The Right Side Of History”?

This idea of history having a ‘side’, which is liberal, enlightened and so on, harks back to the enlightenment of the 18th century, to the emergence of what David Hume called ‘these enlightened ages’, in sharp contrast to the side of the . . . Continue reading →

The Difference Between What We Know And What We Think We Know

…much of what is commonly written on the history and development of the western liturgy is dependent upon reconstructions…. —D. M. Hope, “Liturgical Books” in Cheslyn Jones, Geoffrey Wainwright, and Edward Yarnold, ed. The Study of Liturgy (NY: OUP, 1978), 66.

An Ogre Minding Long Term Developments

Because of this emphasis on mentalités, Le Goff preferred to speak of birth and genesis rather than origins, decline, or decadence. Hence he wrote The Birth of Purgatory (1981) and The Birth of Europe (2003) (the French title posed a question: L’Europe . . . Continue reading →

Heroes, Villains, And Pretty Packages

The dead, in other words, are people too. Scoring points on their failings does not seem to be particularly charitable or self-interested (since one day we won’t be around to defend ourselves or the limitations of our historical moment). It is not . . . Continue reading →