RNS Quote of the Day, 08/18/11

Priests who could not read or who, from ignorance, stumbled stupidly through the ritual of the Eucharist were another scandal. A Bishop of Durham in 1318 could not understand or pronounce Latin and after struggling helplessly with the word Metropolitanus at his own consecration, muttered in the vernacular, “Let us take that word as read.”

Later, when ordaining candidates for holy orders, he met the word aenigmate (through a glass darkly) and this time swore in honest outrage, “By St. Louis, that was no courteous man who wrote this word!”

A Distant Mirror, Barbara Tuchman

If survivalists read any work of history, it should first be this one, both for a much-needed sense of perspective, and for the parallels to our own time that litter its pages.

Also, there’s plenty of raw humanity in its pages, as above — a feature of Tuchman’s wonderful prose.

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One Response to RNS Quote of the Day, 08/18/11

  1. RN says:

    Another good book to put on my reading list. I’m currently going through Victor Davis Hanson’s Carnage and Culture, http://www.amazon.com/Carnage-Culture-Landmark-Battles-Western/dp/0385720386/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313773929&sr=1-1 , which is a fascinating read. One if the thing I find interesting about the 1300’s was it was the end of the medieval warm period, and a lot of its events may be traced to crop failures and other weather-related problems (for example, did the plague, carried by fleas on rats, become an issue because they moved indoors more to escape the cold, at the same time people became suspicious of cats?)

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