Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Go to Yale, Get Stupid

Sorry about that headline (to the decent Yalie over at MU Law) but this sort of stuff is just....

A high-school textbook used for the AP (Advanced Placement) European History exam equates the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance with “high magic” and says that, to combat witchcraft in the 13th century, “the Church declared its magic to be the only true magic.”

The Western Heritage Since 1300 (10th Edition, AP Edition, is published by Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Prentice Hall) is written by Donald Kagan of Yale University, Stephen Ozment of Harvard University, and Frank M. Turner of Yale Unversity.

We are NOT making that up.

And there's even more at the link.

Revision-headline: Go to Yale OR HARVARD, Get Stupid

HT: CurtJester


VSO said...

OK, that is one of the STUPIDEST things I've ever seen! Pardon my french but where in the blue hell did these twits get their information? Or did they just make it up?

Again, if the Roman Church "made up" things like sacraments of Eucharist and Confession, then why do the Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonians have them who have been in schism with Rome for nearly 1,000 years?

neomom said...

"Do this in rememberance of me"

Seems to me that was about - say - 1300 years before this "history" book.

Now we see the error of letting progressives control academia for the past 40 years.

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk about being getting one's knickers into an unnecessary bunch. Did anyone even go to the comments section in the link provided?

Two people there, Maureen and Brooke, clearly provide historical context to the poorly worded sections in that AP World History Textbook.

"Now we see the error of letting progressives control academia for the past 40 years".

Give me a break, neomom. Please note that I am NOT in any way, shape, or form am equating Christianity to witchcraft or "bashing" that religion.
I am simply providing additional information to lend support to the two explanations.


Key Passage
The advent of Christianity suggests that potential Christians, comfortable with the use of magic as part of their daily lives, expected Christian clergy to work magic of a form superior to the old Pagan way. While Christianity competed with Pagan religion, this concern was paramount, only lessening in importance once Christianity was the dominant religion in most of Europe.

In place of the old Pagan magic methodology, the Church placed a Christian methodology involving saints and divine relics — a short step from the old Pagan techniques of amulets.

Augustine, an influential Christian theologian, argued that all pagan magic and religion were invented by the Devil to lure humanity away from Christian truth; he argued that while some of the effects were illusion and some real, both were workings of the Devil.

Shortly thereafter, theologians identified the pagan gods of old, such as Jupiter and Diana, as demonic servants of Satan that sorcerers would call up to do their bidding; later such claims extended to northern gods such as Woden and Freyja.

In the seventh and ninth centuries, the Church began to influence civil law to create anti-witchcraft legislation. The Latin 'maleficium', which originally meant wrong-doing, now came to mean malevolent magic, presumed to be associated with the Devil.

Not only was magic now a crime against society, but heresy and a crime against God. The Council of Leptinnes in 744 drew up a "List of Superstitions" which prohibited sacrifice to saints and created a baptismal formula that required one to renounce works of demons, specifically naming Thor and Odin.

History revisionism and "sanitizing events" has been problematic on BOTH sides of the aisle, neomom.



Dad29 said...


The book's wording was not "poor." It was astonishingly stupid. And the 'splanation you quoted is grossly under-informed.

The Church's rituals were not a 'substitute' for pagan ritual. The Church, however, did take what was GOOD in pagan societies (NeoPlatonism, e.g.) and reconcile it to Church teaching. Aquinas famously 'converted' Aristotelian philosophy to a Catholic worldview.

The book's frame of reference is eccentric--that is, secularized. The Church was not "selling" its Sacraments; it was introducing a method of salvation of souls.

And Augustine was right, by the way. Witchcraft, strictly speaking, is not of God.

neomom said...

So anony - how many of those AP kids will go to the comments section to get the appropriate "historical context"?


Anonymous said...

Dad29--And the 'splanation you quoted is grossly under-informed.

Excellent work at summarily dismissing the exhaustive work of historians, conservative and liberal, secular and ecclesiastical.

Do you have a doctorate's degree in European history? In the history of the Catholic Church? In theology?

Not that I am aware of. So I think the experts and links provided in the source I cited have a wee bit more credibility and authority than you.

neo-mom--Fair point. That is why a history teacher worth their salt would also provide balance and insight. History textbooks are not the end all and be all. A wide range of primary sources covering ALL viewpoints is desired to elicit meangingful dialogue.

neomom said...

OK - challenge number 2...

Seeing that 95% of teachers are extremely liberal and conservative positions are commonly shut down on campuses as "hate speech". Or that kids graduating out of the US public education system are having their asses handed to them by kids from other countries.

How many History teachers out there are "worth their salt" and will provide balance, insight and cover ALL viewpoints to get that meaningful dialogue? And how many will mimic what is in the text.

But then again, my spouse just went through the educator indoctrination program at the university, so I have a very different perspective on the quality of public education and those "experts". Most of which could fall off the face of the earth tomorrow and we all would be better off....

Some of his experiences: The class where he had to write a paper basically calling himself a racist to pass. The department head at the university was addressing one of his classes and compared George Washington to Osama Bin Laden. Or the new requirement that you can't give any child less than a 60% on their work because it is too discouraging to them. Or the instructor from Mexico that cared more about advocating for open borders than teaching the class we paid for. Or the director of diversity studies telling the class that white teachers really weren't qualified to teach any minority because of their "white values" (but she couldn't actually define what those are).

And there are so many more...

John Foust said...

Clearly, the only way to teach history is to require all history teachers to be devout Catholics, then right-wing Catholics wouldn't get up in arms about anyone else interpreting history.

Dad29 said...

Anony, any "history" book which fails to recognize metaphysics, or ontology, in its representation of Church activity is gravely deficient.

And it doesn't take a Ph.D. (or even a B.A.) to know that.

Anonymous said...

John Foust--I normally agree with what you have to say, but why be smarmy about this particular matter??? No need to be.

Dad29--Stay on point. The source I cited provides context to the topic at hand. Seemingly, you chose to go off the deep end without conducting a more thorough investigation into the matter. You would be amazed at how the Catholic Church came to be if you took coursework that looked into its history. A person's "faith" can be indeed questioned when certain facts come to light about its creation and development.

So just because to you a source fails to cover a specific aspect does not mean it is necessarily "gravely deficient". The authors may have decided to cover other parts more in depth, which is common in the textbook world. Marketing is the end all and be all. Refer to the Texas Board Of Education matter.

And, neo-mom, I'm sorry for your spouse's difficulties in his higher level education classes. However, for every "horror" story, there is a "success" story.

I think you would be surprised at the number of teachers who are willing to bring forth alterative points of view, liberal and conservative, to enable the chillun's to make an informed decision about particular matters.

Indoctrination by the left and the right has no place in the school setting. BOTH have their faults in that regard.

John Foust said...

My smarmy point is that Dad29 would settle no less than a public textbook that agrees with the Catholic Church's view of history. No others allowed!