Taken from Will Durant's book

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Earth Wind and Fire, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Taken from Will Durant's book, "The Reformation" page 489.

    Meanwhile the hard theocracy of Calvin was sprouting democratic buds. The efforts of the Calvinist leaders to give schooling to all, and their inculcation of disciplined character, helped the sturdy burghers of Holland to oust the alien dictatorship of Spain, and supported the revolt of nobles and clergy in Scotland against a fascinating but imperious queen. the stoicism of a hard creed made the strong souls of the Scottish Covenanter's, the English & Dutch Puritans, the Pilgrims of New England. It steadied the heart of Cromwell, guided the pen of blind Milton, and broke the power of the backward facing Stuarts. It encouraged brave & ruthless men to win a continent and spread the base of education and self-government until all men could be free. Men who chose their own pastors soon claimed to choose their governors, and the self-ruled congregation became the self-governing municipality. The myth of divine election (I would most hearty disagree with Durant here... MYTH INDEED!) justified itself in the making of America.

    NOTE: Durant was a RC & I believe studied to be a heretic priest at one time so he has a definite bias, but he grudgingly ground this paragraph out.

    After I read this, I thought of my own Welsh Calvinistic family. Very prim & proper folks who made their livings in the mines of Pennsylvania but managed to cross the Atlantic & build their churches even before they built their homes. They were some of the kindest people Ive ever had the privilege to meet & they put God before everything.

    So how did this country fall so into Easy Believing, Carnal lifestyles & general sloth?
     
  2. Inspector Javert

    Inspector Javert
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    I don't see how Durant's past is relevant...he's one of the most brilliant and honest historians I am aware of. Passages such as this one are simply commonplace in his writings. Secretly, I think there is a "conspiracy" against his History (his works are beloved yet inexplicably out of print??). I actually received his "The Story of Civilization" series as a Christmas gift last year....it cost HUNDREDS of dollas. It is still in such incredibly high demand, that I don't believe there's a market-based reason that he should be out of print, if I had the money...I'd honestly buy the copyright and re-print them. I bet you it'd make millions. He would beat the stuffing out of Howard Zinn. Inasmuch as it is brutally straightforward, honest, and blends "historicism" with simply "history" in a perfect manner, I'm not surprised at your quandary. Durant doesn't force conclusions...he feeds the facts, that's all. He leaves it up to YOU to answer the quandaries that he poses. That's his job.

    By the way.........not actually consulting the passage itself....I bet you you are misconstruing what he means by "Divine Election". I would bet you money that he is speaking of the "Divine Right of Kings", not a Theological concept of "Election" as understood in a Calvinist mindset: Mind you, he is speaking of the influence of the Theology upon Socio-historical thought...not Theological thought. I am guessing that he means what you or I might commonly call "Divine Right" of kings, not election. There is Historical warrant for the influence of "Calvinism" (as he would have understood it) for that idea. He (I am guessing as an amateur History sycophant) calling the "Divine Right" a "myth", not the Calvinist Soteriological precept of "election" as you might take it.

    When one reads 150+year old histories...one might actually learn to almost substitute the term "Calvinism" for what we might call "Evangelicalism"...sometimes, less than perfectly Theologically educated historians use the terminology somewhat interchangeably. I believe I have read numerous historians refer to even men such as Wesley as "Calvinists". They are using the term in a sense which you or I might call it "Evangelicalism". Try understanding Durant's passage that way, and it might make more sense to you.
     
    #2 Inspector Javert, Sep 2, 2013
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  3. Inspector Javert

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    He didn't "grudgingly" grind anything out. Every passage Durant writes reeks of such intellectual honesty. He was an historian of the HIGHEST caliber. This is nothing to him.
     
  4. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    Durant's writing are among the most readable histories every published.

    Thanks for an excellent post on him.
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    The book is The Story Of Civilization "The Reformation" ....Purple cover.....you have the page referenced above. Read the context.

    BTW....I have many of those same books & got them @ Barnes & Noble in NYC for $15.00 a piece

    I love Durant & all these Civilization books have been read multiple times. I specifically like his explorations on Napoleon, Spinoza & Cato the Elder. I am less impressed by his evaluation of Jesus....but that is my opinion. That he spend enormous time researching & writing these 11 volumes is a splendid accomplishment & one that Ive used to enrich my own understanding of history.

    But I cannot dismiss that this wonderful historian was a human & (perhaps unintentionally) brought in his own perspectives & biases into his writings.

    Wicki (granted a weak sister when it comes to imparting information), nonetheless....

    In 1900 Durant was educated by the Jesuits in St. Peter's Preparatory School and, later, Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, New Jersey. Historian Joan Rubin writes of this period, "Despite some adolescent flirtations, he began preparing for the vocation that promised to realize his mother's fondest hopes for him: the priesthood. In that way, one might argue, he embarked on a course that, while distant from Yale's or Columbia's apprenticeships in gentility, offered equivalent cultural authority within his own milieu."[
     

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