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Logos [1-12-10]

“The study of Christian Culture is of unique importance, first, because it is necessary for the understanding of our own past and our own traditional form of culture, and secondly, because of the exceptional wealth of material that is available for study.  We not only possess an unparalleled wealth of religious documents dealing with the development of Christianity for nineteen centuries, we also have a continuous historical tradition through which these documents can be situated in place and time to a degree that hardly exists in the case of other great cultures.  In India, for example, we have also a great wealth of religious writings, but we often have not, at present, detailed knowledge of the past history of Indian cultures.  In other cases we have a full historical tradition, but there are gaps in the religious records, so that our knowledge of Christian culture is both deeper and wider than that of the other contemporary world cultures.

“Above all owing to the progressive expansion of Christian culture, first by the conversion of the Roman and Roman-Byzantine empires, secondly by the conversion of Northern and Western Europe, and thirdly by its extension to the New World and its association with the progress of world exploration and scientific discovery, it has acquired a universal worldwide extension such as no other civilization has ever possessed.  It is true that the full development of these world tendencies has been post-Christian rather than Christian, but the modern ideological world movements–the Enlightenment, Liberalism, Democracy and Socialism are none of them comprehensible without a knowledge of the Christian culture which underlies them all.  It is a very complex field of study.”
-Christopher Dawson, The Formation of Christendom

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