Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wisdom from C.V. Wedgwood

I'm nearing the end of C.V. Wedgwood's The Thirty Years War (hint: The Spanish fought the French, and the Germans lost.) The next time you're at a pub and someone leans over and says, "Say, friend, what do you think is the essential difference between the Middle Ages and the modern world?" you could do worse than to quote this paragraph of Wedgwood's:
"When lust and private interest gain the upper hand of disorganized society, the most religious of crusades must lose its sacred character, but the Thirty Years War lost what little spiritual meaning it had for other causes. `The great spiritual contest,' says Ranke, `had completed its operation on the minds of men.' The reason was not far to seek. While increasing preoccupation with natural science had opened up a new philosophy to the educated world, the tragic results of applied religion had discredited the Churches as the directors of the State. It was not that faith had grown less among the masses; even among the educated and speculative it still maintained a rigid hold, bit it had grown more personal, had become essentially a matter between the individual and the creator."

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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Blogger Unknown said...

Two observations:
Were I at a pub where someone asked me about the Middle Ages, I perhaps ought to rethink my watering holes.
Were I to respond to the hypothetical question with the long-winded though reasonable response, I should probably count of being quite alone in any future visits to the pub.
Still, though, you offer an interesting posting.

March 31, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I was engaging in wistful fantasy, thought I did briefly discuss C.V. Wedgwood at Philadelphia's "press" club last week with a learned fellow member who is interested Central European history. It was so cool to be able to say, "Elector of Saxony" rather than, "Who's the douchebag smoking the cigars and playing the crap music?"

No, my interlocutor was not one of those obstreperous drunks who hold forth on some weighty subject, slurring his words, swaying all the while and threatening to fall off his stool without, alas, ever doing so.

March 31, 2014  

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