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Medievalists of Color

July 13, 2018

Though the “Middle Ages” are part of the curriculum of most programs in political philosophy, the scholarly demands of mastery of Latin preclude most of us from teaching that subject. Fortunately, I took time to go back and study the history of this period of history from the fall of Rome to the 14th century for a new book I am writing that examines the causes of fragility of democracy in our time.

I found that these men and women, who lived a thousand years ago, responded to the disorders of their times and left us a legacy that is fresh with insights. In fact, I found them to be very much like us and I became aware of some academic programs in the field of Medieval studies as far away as Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and a wonderful program as near as Fordham University.

I can only imagine how exclusive are the communities of scholars gathered at those institutions and at others scattered across the United States in Departments of History and Philosophy. Once upon a time, long ago, there was a constant supply of Latin scholarship produced as a consequence of Catholic schools that required the study of Latin.

That has been swept aside in a modern Catholic Church committed to a theology of Social Justice that requires only “feelings,” not mastery of ancient languages. That erosion of scholarship among Christians has given Jewish scholars who master Hebrew and other ancient languages entry into very important areas of Medieval scholarship.

If only that were so among Christians.

In yesterday’s InsideHigherEd.Com we find a report that PC has intruded even as far as the field of Medieval Studies. A Medievalists of Color group has protested a lack of diversity in Medieval studies. The acid of ideology is now appearing in one of the few areas of study where the engendering spirit of the West was once protected from modern madness

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