Silence, by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Many years ago, the great historians of the French Annales school complained that scholars spend far too much time dealing with the elites and their wars and very little on the crucial matters of ordinary everyday life. Why, they asked, do we have no histories of death, of childhood, of old age? Today, of course, we have many such narratives. But Christian history still has a lot of room for such grand thematic questions, and Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch presents one in his history of silence. The book, which grows out of his 2012 Gifford Lectures, is a triumph. It challenges and will transform readers’ attitudes on a host of subjects that they may think they know well. Unusually for a work of scholarly history, it may also reshape readers’ spiritual and devotional lives.
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