The Church of Cathedral and Crusade, Volume 2
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By Henri Daniel-Rops
The Church of Cathedral and Crusade is the third installment in Henri Daniel-Rops’ monumental History of the Church of Christ. This volume includes the last seven chapters of that work, surveying the rise of the universities and triumph of scholasticism in Sts. Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas; the emergence of that “perfect expression of a faith,” the cathedral; the callings, conflicts, and controversies of the Crusades; the ascent to glory and decline into schism in the Christian East; the adventures and agonies of missionary efforts to expand the Christian sheepfold; the heretical rendings in the fabric of Christianity by Manicheanism and Albigensianism; and the tumultuous, at times outrageous, closing of the age, at which the Church yet speaks the last word—above the indignity of antipopes and the putrefying horror of the Black Death rises another glorious witness to the living Word: Dante Aligheri and the Divine Comedy.
There is nothing gloomy about medieval culture; it radiates joy and a spirit of bold originality.… “I hold God made all for the best.…” There you have that tranquillity and sublime confidence which alone could have produced the cathedrals and crusades. (Henri Daniel-Rops)
Spectacular in scope and detail, The Church of Cathedral and Crusade presents Christendom in “the springtime of its youth” in which it “built the cathedrals, compiled the summae, embarked on the crusades, spread and intensified the Gospel message; while the Church’s power reached heights hitherto unexplored, and she herself became the guide of human thought.” The cause of this incomparable creativity? Simply, on Daniel-Rops’ studied assessment, that “from the lowest to the highest, society believed.”
Henri Daniel-Rops (1901–1965), the nom de plume of Henri Petiot, was a French Catholic historian. His bibliography comprises seventy books—written over a span of just thirty years—and includes Sacred History, Jesus and His Times, and the monumental, ten-volume History of the Church of Christ. He also served as editor for the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, which consisted of one hundred and fifty volumes. Phenomenally successful in his own time, Daniel-Rops made religious history accessible and popular; in 1955, he was elected to the Académie française and in 1956 he received the Order of St. Gregory from Pope Pius XII.
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