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The political evolution of Christianity is rich indeed, in a clear contrast to Islam's. Is this the difference between ongoing concurring successes and early traumas of Crusades, Mongols? Or does the desert environment lead to intellectual dessert, ha?

To Tom Holland (in "Millenium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom"), Canossa is an inauguration of the Western church-state separation. It seems that his The Forge of Christendom: The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West is just an alternative title:

Henry IV presumed that he had not only the right but also the duty to poke his nose in the affairs of the church, Holland says. Gregory's victory intended to assure that the business of the church was of the church alone.

Paradoxically, the incident, known as the "Investiture Crisis," eventually led to the idea of separation of church and state.

Now I am reading "Desert Queen", a biography of Gertrude Bell. The Arab religious leader around WWI was Sharif Hussein. His sons led the Arab revolt, together with T. E. Lawrence. Hussein declared himself a caliph briefly in 1924, but was soon militarily eclipsed by ibn Saud.

by das monde on Tue Jun 14th, 2016 at 09:52:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The political evolution of Christianity is rich indeed, in a clear contrast to Islam's.

I don't see how that follows from what I wrote, at all. I wrote about the parallel evolution of the Sunni caliphate and the Holy Roman Empire ideas. The former is just as complex. It first moved from a notionally elected leader to a hereditary concept, then absorbed Persian imperial culture, then came rival caliphates, then appropriation by dynasties without connection to Muhammad. And that's just the Sunni idea of the Caliphate.

Further, given that we are discussing the time period before the Mongol invasion, when Christian Europe still had everything to learn from the Muslim world intellectually, your "intellectual desert" speculation is totally off.

Regarding the Tom Holland quote, "eventually led to the idea of" is a lot weaker than your "inauguration of". Perhaps it will prove useful if I go into more detail. The outcome of the investiture conflict didn't change the facts that bishops were also feudal lords, attended the imperial assembly (Reichstag), and 3 of the originally 7 electors choosing new Holy Roman Emperors were cardinals. Neither was there a change in the Empire (as well as kingdoms independent from it) giving assistance to the Church in its hunt for heretics, and referring to divine authority and the Bible in its laws. What did change was only that the authority to appoint the same bishops as feudal lords and as church leaders was separated (forcing the Empire and the Papacy into compromises). I think real separation means the removal of the Church from state institutions and religious references from law. (BTW, in some Catholic states, this gathered steam well after the start of Enlightement.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 15th, 2016 at 06:09:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"eventually led to the idea of" is a phrase of a reviewer. Tom Holland is very emphatic that the Canossa episode was a significant crossroad in European history. Islam may have been similarly dynamic at that time, but the dispute between the Henries and the Popes was a special development that defined European norms and enabled a more dynamic trajectory. Sunni complexities remained chronological facts somehow.

Our general discussion is not just about before the Mongol invasion (especially if you still pivot on the real separation). It is surely an open question how Christianity would have coped with the Mongols if they would have seen Europe worthwhile to conquer. But the Mongol impact on the Middle East soil and ideology was pretty arresting.

by das monde on Wed Jun 15th, 2016 at 07:22:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have The Collected Letters of Gertrude Bell along with The Memoirs of Aga Khan in my library. I found them in a group of books on sale to the public from Cal State LA. Primary source material! I was appalled and snapped them up. Possibly a case of the university no longer having a middle east specialist on its faculty. I haven't taken the time to read either yet.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 15th, 2016 at 02:52:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cal State Northridge it was. CSULA has an excellent middle east historian, but he wouldn't get into issues involving the Saudi monarchy. Told me about giving one talk and, afterwards, having an agent of the Saudi government come up to him and tell him: "You got things right THIS time." He has extended family in Alexandria.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 16th, 2016 at 09:05:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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