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Big and small numbers (7)

29 November, 2022

Just re-reading the back cover with breakfast...

"The conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity in 368 brought a transformation to Christianity and to western civilization, the effects of which we still feel today. Previously, the Roman Empire had absorbed and sustained the Greek intellectual tradition which, in the astronomy of Ptolemy, the medicine of Galen and the philosophy of Plotinus, reached new heights. Constantine turned Rome from the relatively open, tolerant and pluralistic civilization of the Hellenistic world, towards a culture that was based on the rule of fixed authority. The century after Constantine's conversion saw the development of an alliance between church and state which stifled freedom of thought and the tradition of Greek rationalism which was intrinsic to it. The churches enjoyed enormous patronage and exemptions from tax, and in return allowed the emperors to take on the definition and enforcement of an increasingly narrow religious orthodoxy."

This book explores how the European mind was closed by the revolution of he fourth century. It looks at the rise of the "divine" monarch, the struggle as Christianity painfully separated itself from Judaism, the conflict between faith and reason, and the problems in finding any kind of rational basis for Christiamn theology. In these centuries, a turning poin for western civilization, we see the development of christian anti-semitism, the origins of the opposition of religion and science, and the roots of Christianity's discomfort with sex, issues which haunt the Christian churches today,"


HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT gmail.com