Christianity and Europe

Henry, Martin (2005) Christianity and Europe. Irish Theological Quarterly, 70 (2). p. 132.

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At the present time, there are many voices, not least eminent clerical voices, being raised to remind us, as Europeans, of the danger of forgetting our Christian roots. When one looks closely at the history of ‘Europe’, however, the ‘roots of Europe’ may not perhaps appear as specifically Christian at all, at any rate not specifically Christian in any simplistic sense. It is surely in no sense controversial to point out that one undeniable root of European culture owes nothing whatever, at least in its own origins, to Christianity. This is the root Europe inherited, like its very name, from ancient Greece. For Greece’s principal contribution to the identity of what was to become Europe was well and truly formed before Christianity appeared on the scene. Indeed the Greek contribution to the future of Europe was formed in what would appear to have been total ignorance of the Jewish tradition from which Christianity eventually sprang. The same is true of the culture of ancient Rome, another essential ingredient of what later became ‘Europe’.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Christianity and Europe
Academic Unit: St Patrick's College, Maynooth > Faculty of Theology
Item ID: 643
Depositing User: Martin Henry
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2007
Journal or Publication Title: Irish Theological Quarterly
Refereed: Yes

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