The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedJames W. Douglas
Title QuotedNon-Violent Cross: A Theology of Revolution and Peace
Date (Year/Month/Day)1967/10/3
ImprintEugene Origon : Wipf & Stock. 1968
QuotationI am doubly sorry for having delayed about your chapter"”the last one ["Christians and the Stat"] ... This last chapter is one of the best and makes some splendid points. You have stated better than anyone recently the whole point of the "render under Caesar" business and I think your final sentence caps it perfectly. It is a very good chapter, but I do have one complaint about it. It seems to me that there is one very thin patch, around p. 21, when you slide over the Constantinian transition with the greatest of ease. A thousand and two thousand years of history are it seems to me dismissed with little hint of their enormous complexity. I don't say "dismissed" fairly, of course, because you cannot be expected to go into all that. Yet it is central to your argument. At the same time, do we really yet know what really went on, what kind of a shift really took place in the thinking of the Church, when "Christendom" went into business? I think it yet remains to be studied. And then too there are so many subtleties about the Dark Ages, about the "truce of God" in the tenth century, about the First Crusade as a means of peace, by uniting warring Westerners not in an attack on Jerusalem but in defense of Byzantium (thus helping reunite the two Churches then breaking apart). And all that. I think your treatment needs to at least hint at all these complexities which make the thing more mysterious and more real at the same time.
Quotation SourceThe Hidden Ground of Love: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Experience and Social Concerns.; Selected and edited by William H. Shannon. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1985, p. 166
Letter toJames Douglas
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