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Why the Dark ages were anything but dark

Medieval Catholicism wasn’t the enemy of progress, it was its engine

By Mathew Lyons   November 2020
A medieval equitorium Credit: Wikimedia commons

A medieval equitorium Credit: Wikimedia commons

Those who think of the medieval world—and medieval Catholicism in particular—as the antithesis of open-minded progress, might be surprised to learn that the great Benedictine abbey at St Albans had stained-glass portraits of both Muslim and Jewish scholars adorning its cloisters.

It’s true that St Albans was unusual in its devotion to learning and what we would now call science, but it stood out only by degree. As Cambridge historian Seb Falk sets out to…

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