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Europe and the Faith [Paperback]

By Belloc (Author)
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Item description for Europe and the Faith by Belloc...

What followed was a whole series of generations in which the forms of civilization were set and crystallized in a few very simple, traditional and easily appreciated types. The whole standard of Europe was lowered to the level of its fundamentals, as it were. The primary arts upon which we depend for our food and drink, and raiment and shelter survived intact. The secondary arts reposing upon these, failed and disappeared almost in proportion to their distance from fundamental necessities of our race. History became no more than a simple chronicle. Letters, in the finer sense, almost ceased.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: TAN Books and Publishers
Pages   191
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.57"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 3, 1992
Publisher   T A N Books & Publishers
ISBN  089555464X  
ISBN13  9780895554642  

Availability  0 units.

More About Belloc

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Hilaire Belloc was born at St. Cloud, France, in 1870. He and his family moved to England upon his father s death, where he took first-class honors in history at Balliol College in Oxford, graduating in 1895. It has been stated that his desire was to rewrite the Catholic history of both France and England. He wrote hundreds of books on the subjects of history, economics, and military science, as well as novels and poetry. His works include The Great Heresies, Europe and the Faith, Survivals and New Arrivals, The Path to Rome, Characters of the Reformation, and How the Reformation Happened.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism

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Reviews - What do customers think about Europe and the Faith?

The Catholic Faith Made European Civilization and May Yet Save It  Aug 4, 2006
Hilaire Belloc's EUROPE AND THE FAITH is a concise historical account of how the Catholic Church authorities and teachers helped save European Civilization through two "Dark Ages" and perserved Ancient Greek and Roman Civilization. Belloc briefly explains how Catholics enhanced that civilization and kept Europe relatively stabilized.

Belloc explains how the Europeans still benefit from Catholic institutions and thinking. He gives readers an insight why the Ancient Romans, for all of their faults, were important to European civilization. The Romans taught "Europeans" civil engineering, law, letters, administration, etc. One should note that the Catholic Church preserved such achievements once the Catholic authorities were recognized and acquired some political control.

Belloc's explaination of the "Fall of the Roman Empire" is interesting. The Roman Empire did not collapse via barbarian invasions. The fact is that those men whose armies defeated other Roman armies considered themselves Romans. These men may have had Gothic or Germanic names but considered themselves Roman. These were men who were recruited by the Romans, and these men considered themselves Roman. For example, Alaric whose soldiers looted the city of Rome c. 410 AD, was a Roman commanded whose troops stopped an invasion of Germans. When Alaric and men were not paid, he looted the Rome to satisfy what was owed. Roman commanders whether they had Latin, Gothic, or Germanic names, would have never considered attacking the "empire." They would and did fight for control within the Roman Empire. Belloc makes this very clear.

One should note that when Atilla the Hun (c.450-454 AD)and his forces were defeated at the Battle of Chalons in 451, there were Latins, Goths, etc., who fought against the Huns whom they considered as outside invaders. Again, these men who fought against the Huns considered themselves Romans.

During the first "Dark Ages," (c.500-800), the Ancient Roman Empire did not collapse nor was invaded so much as local rulers of the Roman Empire carved areas of control for themselves due to lack of a strong central government in Rome. The men of this era known as "The Dark Ages" kept Roman Law, the Latin language, Roman administration, etc. The Catholic monks and authorities kept these united to a limited degree because these men were or became Catholic. The earliest Catholic monks preserved old Roman learning which is why European Civilization survived.

Belloc briefly describes the situaiton on the British Isles whereby the Irish adhered to the Faith which they helped to extend to England. The other impact of the Catholic Church in England in the sixth and seventh centuries came from the European continent and from the Papacy in Rome. The latter influence dominated the Anglo-Saxons for centuries.

Belloc gives brief mention of the importance of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages (c1000-1350). The Crusades galvanized Catholic Europeans against the force of Islam. The Moslems were culturally advanced, and they were successful in expanding the religion of Islam. Belloc contends that the Crusades were a continuation of previous clashes between Europeans and Moslems which is accurate. The Crusades put the Europeans on the offensive and protected the Europeans.

Belloc gives a short explanation of Medieval Universities and the rich use of reason in Scholatic philosophy. Brief mention if given to the work of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)whom Belloc gives high praise. This may have been the acme of Catholic thought. Contrary to popular notions, Medieval teachers and students were intellectually active. One should know that the Popes and other Catholic authorities were unusually tolerant of these men.

Belloc's explanation of the Reformation is solid. He is clear that the Catholic authorities made a bad impression on the faithful. Belloc cites the sterility of fifteenth century teachers and students who were often referred to as Nominalists because of their concern over "names" rather than ideas and important issues. Such intellectual sterility and corruption was bound to cause a protest. The Catholic authorites had faced such challenges before, but during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, they remained immune until the time was too late. Belloc also mentions that the religious enthusiasm and the desire of men to loot the Catholic Church were the reasons for the Reformation.

Belloc's explanation of the English Reformation is useful. The English monarchs, beginning with Henry VIII (1509-1547), had no idea of breaking with the Faith. However, once they did, the English nobility and middle class took advantage of the monarchs' weaknesses and manipulated them to their economic advantage at the expense of most Englishment.

Belloc diagnoses the results of this. One thing that Belloc makes clear is that there was/is no Protestant creed. In fact, the Protestant "Reformers" hated each other as much if not more than they hated Catholics. This is the reason the Protestant crowned heads made theology to avoid internal dissention. This lack of a creed has resulted in loss of values, economic averace, skepticism, and loss of coherent thought. In effect, many Europeans have lost direction and their civilization.

Belloc's book is highly recommended. His book should be on the shelf of every serious Catholic. Belloc should have given more emphasis to the Catholic Counter-Reformation and especially St. Ignatius (1491-1556) and the Jesuits as an example of Catholic renewal. Yet, this book is well worth reading and is thoughtful.
Western Civilization is the Faith  Sep 12, 2005
Throughout Hilaire Belloc's wonderful essay, he returns to his thesis: The Faith is Europe. And Europe is the Faith. Writing in early twentieth century England, with Europe the center of civilized consciousness, his thesis certainly rang true. Nearly a century later, his work and its theme still have profound relevance. For it is likely only a return to the Faith that can now save us.

Reading Belloc is a joy, whether you agree with him, or not. His writing reflects a scientist's precision, a philospher's discernment, a kindly friend's good humor, and an artist's awesome talent.

There is perhaps not a better overview of the history of European and Western Civilization extant than Belloc's "Europe and the Faith". Its truths are timeless. And its presentation is savory. But a certain caution is required. Reading Belloc can be addictive. However, as addictions go, "Old Thunder" is a good one. Read Belloc, and be prepared for a wondrous ride. For the Faith is Europe; and Europe is the Faith.

Masterful writing, fair analysis, weak history. 2 and 1/2 *  Feb 21, 2005
The subject says it all. Belloc is a master with words; I love reading him no matter his opinion. It is like sitting down listening to a friend who can express himself quite well.

His speculations are quite interesting, such as his idea about the fall of the Roman Empire, that it was simply a transition and not a fall. Many have tried to make the case but few so eloquently, albeit unsuccessfully. His assertion that the Roman Empire "in its maturity accepted the Christian faith" is breathtaking in its brashness, if not borne out by the facts. Oh sure, the people of the empire eventually "accepted" Christianity in place of their traditional faiths, accepted it being imposed by the point of a sword and law. There weren't many willing conversions of the heart after Constantine (and before Constantine the number of Christians in most parts of the empire were negligible).

This leads into why this book only receives two and a half stars. Belloc is an apologist, not an historian and he doesn't let little things like facts get in the way of his positions. He gets so many things wrong about the ancient world that I was forced to wonder how much he got wrong about the later periods that I'm not as well versed in. I found the latter parts of the book much more convincing perhaps for just that reason, he just didn't know his history of the Roman empire that well or chose to overlook things (actually in another of his works that I've read he says the apologist SHOULD overlook inconvenient facts).

Belloc's thesis is that the Catholic faith is Europe and Europe is the Catholic faith. He also claims that Rome is and was the bedrock of Western civilization even before Christianity was imposed on it. He makes the latter point--the importance of Rome--much more convincingly than he does the importance of Christianity to Western civilization. Europe, Rome and Western civilization existed long before Christianity. It now appears we will find out if it will survive without it.

Ancient Rome rapidly crumbled without its ancient "pagan" faith in the latter 4th and 5th centuries. It remains to be seen if we will do the same and crumble without our former faith or if we will find another way. Belloc's work is interesting if you view the situation with such a long-term view, albeit not one he would approve of.

This is the weakest of Belloc's books I've read--the Crusades is the best and deserves 4 or 5 stars (if I get around to reviewing it). This clearly rates two to three stars. I probably would have gone with my initial instinct to give this three stars but after reading the uncritical reviews others wrote of this book, two stars it is for balance. Read Belloc by all means but don't take him entirely seriously.
The Deep Roots of Rome  Nov 27, 2004
This is a look at European history from 20,000 feet. Belloc describes four major transitional periods:
1. From pagan to Christian Rome during the Empire.
2. From Empire to Dark Ages.
3. From Dark Ages to Middle Ages.
4. From Middle Ages to Reformation.
Among the important themes Belloc highlights:
1. Roman tradition and influence runs deeply and continuously through European history. By so demonstrating, he debunks the myth of the "master race"--a popular theme among his intellectual contemporaries. Pity so few listened to him.
2. It was the Catholic Church that held Europe together through the centuries, the glue of our civilization. In his own words, "Europe is the church, and the Church is Europe."

I found his analysis of Empire to Dark Ages particularly helpful. Belloc makes good sense out of the period's confusingly intertwined barbarian and Roman influences and its complex political and military dynamics. Bottom line: the Roman Empire was never conquered from without; in reality, it changed gradually but profoundly from within, all the while retaining its vital social and spiritual roots.

Belloc's review of the Reformation, especially Britain's leading role in destroying the Unity of Faith, makes for sad, surprising and sobering reading even today. (For a much fuller and yet more moving treatment, read Belloc's "How the Reformation Happened.")

For Belloc, the European ideal came during the Middle Ages, when people were unified in faith and hungered for truth more than riches. By his day, Europe had reached new lows of disunity, sophistry, and capitalist greed. Belloc was one of the few prominent thinkers to see these evils early on and predict their awful consequences. Although his subject was history, I think Belloc was writing with an eye to the future, in the hope that we might understand the errors of our past and correct them before too late.
Catholic Christianity and Roman Civilization...  Dec 8, 2003
This old classic by English Catholic author/historian Hilaire Belloc provides a Catholic response to modernist and Protestant polemics against the Church. Belloc shows that the Catholic Church was essential in perserving the knowledge and greatness of pagan antiquity, insuring that after the "fall" of the Roman Empire, European civilization would have another springtime (in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance).

Another central part of Belloc's thesis is that the Roman Empire never really "fell" to "superior" barbarian hordes as it has been presented in some textbooks. In fact, the Roman Empire absorbed all tribes who came to then for the benefits of civilization. Out of this New Barbarian Order came feudal Europe, formed by classical learning and Christianized by the Catholic church. In the Dark Ages, the faith preserved this civilization while it was under attack from the Muslims, Magyars and Vikings in succession. It was in these centuries that the seeds that would later flower in the Middle Ages and Renaissance were nurtured and protected.

Belloc concludes by showing the devestating impact (personal, economic and in government) that the Reformation had on European civilization (a thesis that he explores in greater detail in How The Reformation Happened and Characters of the Reformation). He proclaims the chief of effect of the Reformation was "the isolation of the soul" and chief by-product was a progressive sense of dispair. He then boldly states that Europe's former glory will be confined exclusively to history textbooks unless the continent returns to the Faith that shepherded and nurished its greatness.

I felt that this, like all of Belloc's books, was an excellent read that boldly defends Catholic truth and explodes many of the Protestant assumptions that are still latent in American and Northern European civilization over 80 years after the book's publication.


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