The Foundations of Western Civilization – a video presentation at The Attic, 36, Regal Building, CP > 6:30pm on 18th March 2013

Time : 6:30 pm

Entry : Free (Seating on First-Come First-Served basis)

Place : The Attic, 36, Regal Building, Connaught Place, New Delhi-110001 
Landmark : On Parliament Street close to 'The Shop' showroom & next to the 'Kwality' restaurant
Venue Info : Events | About | Parking and Location | Regal Building Map
Metro : Nearest Metro Station - 'Rajiv Chowk' (Yellow Line and Blue Line)

Event Details : The Foundations of Western Civilization – an education in 24 evenings.  An Attic video presentation from The Great Courses taught by Prof. Thomas Noble, University of Notre Dame. You can discover the essential nature, evolution, and perceptions of Western civilization from its humble beginnings in the great river valleys of Iraq and Egypt to the dawn of the modern world.

The next two lectures of the series are as follows : 

Lecture 37- Medieval Political Traditions, II
The English and French examples of centralization were not the norm in the rest of Europe. Iberia (Spain and Portugal ) is an interesting example. An Islamic state based in Cordoba was part of the Abbasid Caliphate of Iraq. Starting around the 9th century the ‘Reconquista’ (re conquest) started by the Christian kings of northern Spain and lasted till the Muslim kings were finally defeated in 1492. One of the dynamics of this culture was the extraordinary blend of Christian, Islamic and Jewish peoples. 
Ireland was a different case. While fighting the Vikings the Irish King asked for help from English mercenaries. They’re still there!
In Eastern Europe, Poland was initially well governed specially after embracing Roman Catholicism but became weaker and divided. Rus ( the remote ancestor of Russia) was occupied by the Vikings, entered into trade  and accepted Orthodox Christianity from Byzantium but was destroyed  by weak leaders, factionalism, repeated attacks by the Steppe peoples and finally by Mongol invasions. 
Italy never existed till the mid 18th century. There was Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. Southern Italy with its external influences, Byzantines, Muslims, Normans, Germans, Central Italy dominated by the Pope and the Papal State and the communes a remarkable political innovation.
Germany had its own variations. It was outside the Roman Empire and lacked the towns, roads and institutions of the empire. It was divided into 5 main ‘Duchies’ who were never able to centralize. They were in constant conflict with the Pope.
In the high middle ages the Roman Catholic Church was the most important state- like entity. It developed the most sophisticated legal system and the College of Cardinals became like the ‘senate’ of the Church Council. Disciplinary mechanisms included ex-communication, interdiction and the infamous inquisition.
The great lesson of high medieval political development is that an astonishing array of entities, all drawing on Roman, Christian and ethnic traditions  created a bewildering spectrum of political possibilities.

Lecture 38 - Scholastic Culture
 Scholasticism is the convenient term for the dominant Latin intellectual culture of high medieval Europe. These range from the literary letters of the lovers Abelard and Heloise or letters written by scholars just keeping up with their friends. Satire was revived as a literary form and there existed a vast corpus of poetry.
The economic and geographic expansion of the age brought the Latins in contact with the learning of Arab and Jewish culture. Aristotles works were translated into Arabic and brilliant thinkers such as Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd began to explore the old questions about the relationship between things and to try to understand the truths that could be acquired by human reason and those that depended on divine revelation.
The first great change in western intellectual life was the elevation of logic to paramount status among the disciplines. Logical reasoning came to be seen as equal to or even superior to authority when settling controversial issues. The 12t century saw a progression from the great monastic schools to the great cathedral schools to the beginnings of the great universities. Scholasticism came to refer to a particular method of reasoning based on dialectical analysis.
Peter Lombard taught in Paris and wrote the Four Books of Sentences. “A sentence is a conclusion reached at the end of a process of logical reasoning. One first poses a problem; then argues through the problem making cases for and against various propositions; and finally one reaches a conclusion. This conclusion can then serve as a new question.”
The increasing sophistication of life gave rise to a new institution, the stadium generale, now known as a university. In the normal pattern the university would have four faculties: Arts, Theology, Law and Medicine. Paris had the best Arts and Theology faculties followed by Cologne and Oxford. Bologna was the greatest  of the Law schools and Montpelier in southern France and Salerno in Italy had the best medical faculties of the middle ages. One of the outstanding theologians of the age was Thomas Aquinas. His exposition of the Catholic faith was always influential but in the 19th century was made the basis of official catholic theology.
The intellectual culture of scholastic Europe is now referred to as “a renaissance of the 12th century.

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The Foundations of Western Civilization – a video presentation at The Attic, 36, Regal Building, CP > 6:30pm on 18th March 2013 The Foundations of Western Civilization – a video presentation at The Attic, 36, Regal Building, CP > 6:30pm on 18th March 2013 Reviewed by DelhiEvents on Monday, March 18, 2013 Rating: 5

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