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The claims to universality advanced by the medieval Church brought it into close relationship with an ancient human institution: the state. Especially after the fourth century, when it was first recognized and then given status as the only legal religious body, it was necessary for the Church to formulate a set of poliyical principles, comparable to those for economic activity, which could then be applied to the many and continuing relations between church and state. The general outline of these principles was completed by 500 and was transmitted to the Middle Ages. [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.