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The Church in the West had made the claim that it could and would bring all men into subjection to godliness, and that in so doing it would create a universal Christian society. Because of the great influence wielded in medieval society by the feudal nobles, the Church was particularly interested in directing their activities to what it considered to be useful ends. Accordingly, as we have already seen, it gave a religious coloration to knighthood and preached that knights should fight only in such just causes as defending the helpless and protecting the innocent. About the year 1000, synods in different parts of France began to proclaim what they called the Peace of God, which was an attempt to put such things as churches, peasants, and cattle beyond the range of feudal warfare. They also tried to establish the Truce of God, by which certain days of the week and seasons of the year (such as Advent and Lent) were to be free of fighting. These efforts met with indifferent success. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section III: The Medieval Church. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.