Thursday, February 12, 2009

Destroying the Civilization from Within

In Virgil's Aeneid, as the Greeks assault the walls Troy, the Trojans panic and begin to dismantle their own citadel and hurl fragments of it at the advancing Greeks. It's a grim metaphor for what can happen to an exhausted and panicked civilization.

The episode came vividly to mind on reading about yet another example of Western loss of confidence, especially as that loss of confidence has to do with the Christian patrimony of western civilization. Here's the latest disheartening example.
Wiley-Blackwell, a major academic press, was set to release its four-volume Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization this month. According to the encyclopedia’s editor, George Thomas Kurian, the set had been copy-edited, fact-checked, proofread, publisher-approved, printed, bound, and formally launched (to high praise) at the recent American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature conference. But protests from a small group of scholars associated with the project have led the press to postpone publication, recall all copies already distributed, and destroy the existing print run. The scholars’ complaint? The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization, they have reportedly argued, is “too Christian.” “They also object to historical references to the persecution and massacres of Christians by Muslims,” Kurian says, “but at the same time want references favorable to Islam.”
Weep for such craven cowardice, described (again) so lucidly by Victor David Hanson, whom I quoted in the blog-post just prior to this.
European postmodern man offers mostly platitudes that he thinks please those who might be dangerous to him, and finds psychological recompense and solace by gratuitously trashing those who aren't.
Read Edward Feser's commentary on ‘Too Christian’ for Academia? here.

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