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Christianity and Classical Culture (1957)

by Charles Norris Cochrane

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276369,922 (4.08)1
Now available from Liberty Fund Christianity and Classical Culture is considered one of the great works of scholarship published in the last century. The theme of Christianity and Classical Culture is the fundamental change in thought and action that occurred from the reign of Augustus to the time of Augustine. The classical world sought to practice politics and understand the world in purely rational terms, but the difficulties of this program were already evident as Christianity began developing a completely new understanding of the human world. It is from this revolution in ideas that our modern world was forged. W. H. Auden wrote of an earlier edition in The New Republic: "Since the appearance of the first edition in 1940, I have read this book many times, and my conviction of its importance to the understanding not only of the epoch with which it is concerned, but also of our own, has increased with each rereading.” Charles Norris Cochrane (1889-1945) was educated at the University of Toronto and Oxford (Corpus Christi College). He taught at the University of Toronto, then served overseas for Canada in World War I before going back to Oxford for his M.A. in 1919. Returning to Toronto, he became Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman History, then Dean of Residence, and finally full professor and the head of the department of Greek and Roman History.… (more)

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Very smart, long-range study. I read it primarily to prepare for teaching Augustine, and those chapters were truly excellent. Cochrane's chapters on lesser lights were also solid, as best I could tell.

But I very much, having considered at length the intellectual merits of Cochrane's not to be excelled argument, which deftly intertwines thinking both classical Roman and early Christian, regret that, when considering how such an argument ought to be presented to hoi polloi, the conclusion that of all forms by far and away the best was ultra-Latinate prose, replete with clauses in places distracting and, for English, unnatural, was reached by our author.

It's a fucker of thing to read on the train. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Fabulous account of Christian Europe's foundations. As helpful as Auden is said to have found it, not to mention Lesslie Newbigin. ( )
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
A fascinating examination of the cultural weaknesses that flowed from Rome's pagan culture, contrasted with the culture that flowed from the new Christian faith.
  johnredmond | Nov 29, 2010 |
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Now available from Liberty Fund Christianity and Classical Culture is considered one of the great works of scholarship published in the last century. The theme of Christianity and Classical Culture is the fundamental change in thought and action that occurred from the reign of Augustus to the time of Augustine. The classical world sought to practice politics and understand the world in purely rational terms, but the difficulties of this program were already evident as Christianity began developing a completely new understanding of the human world. It is from this revolution in ideas that our modern world was forged. W. H. Auden wrote of an earlier edition in The New Republic: "Since the appearance of the first edition in 1940, I have read this book many times, and my conviction of its importance to the understanding not only of the epoch with which it is concerned, but also of our own, has increased with each rereading.” Charles Norris Cochrane (1889-1945) was educated at the University of Toronto and Oxford (Corpus Christi College). He taught at the University of Toronto, then served overseas for Canada in World War I before going back to Oxford for his M.A. in 1919. Returning to Toronto, he became Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman History, then Dean of Residence, and finally full professor and the head of the department of Greek and Roman History.

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