"What is Europe, Nicea, Christendom...?" Dr. Mark Graham, a professor, author, and language enthusiast (he's fluent in Greek, Latin, French, and German!) is the first speaker up for Grove City College's Center for Vision and Values conference- "From Nicea to Nietzsche: The De-Christianization of Europe".This Thursday and Friday, the Center for Vision and Values will play host to a wide variety of our nation's finest Christian historians as they converge on this quaint, but famously conservative educational mecca for an academy of sorts on the foundations of Western thought and what the future holds for Christianity in Europe. As a Townhall partner, Grove City has graciously invited me to blog live from these lectures and provide an insider's ear to Townhall readers ...[# More #]
Dr. Graham has just concluded his speech on the topic of "Defining Europe, Nicea and Christendom". His underlying conclusion is that Europe began as an idea before a regional definition. Nicea, which is located in modern-day Turkey (which is not considered part of Europe), is considered the regional founder of European Christian thought. So how can it be "European thought" if it wasn't founded in Europe? Because Europe was originally a term to define a specific collection of values and not a collection of countries. These values were the values of Christianity.
In fact, as Graham informs us, it wasn't until the 8th Century (during the reign of Charlemagne), that "European" was first used to describe a region in historical records. Until that time, it was strictly used to distinguish the Christian cultures from the Islamic cultures. As you may find, these often existed in similar territories or "countries".
So if Europe was really an idea- a Christian idea- before it was a conglomerate of world powers, then is it possible to extinguish this foundation without extinguishing the nations?
I'm thinking that this will be the underlying question that will be the basis of some pretty interesting discussions over the next two days. Stay tuned!