10 July 2008

Preaching religious tolerance as the Crusades begin


Harper's has a fascinating piece on Nicholas of Kues (= Cusa, I think), or Cusanus, a fifteenth-century Roman Catholic cardinal who sought common ground between Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and even Hinduism in the wake of the Ottoman Turks' conquest of Constantinople, when most of European Christendom was girding for the Crusades. I'd never heard of Cusanus before, but apparently he's considered a leading theologian of the Renaissance in Continental Europe. And his perspective sounds like it would be invaluable for people of faith in the twenty-first century:
What Cusanus therefore proposes is tolerance. However, it is not the insulting sort of tolerance, which proposes official indifference. Rather it is a tolerance that has its roots in a philosophical commitment to the search for truth and a recognition that human frailties and imperfections will always lead to mistakes. “For it is a condition of the earthly human estate to mistake for truth that which is merely long-adhered-to custom, indeed, even to mistake this for a part of nature,” Cusanus writes (habet autem hoc humana terrena condicio quod longa consuetudo, quæ in naturam transisse accipitur, pro veritate defenditur.)

3 comments:

  1. Wow! That was a very interesting article. Thanks for posting it. Cusanus sounds like a very interesting person. It's amazing to see that even though the world it's so different now, people are really just the same. We still have the same arguments,just differnet weapons. Can you imagine how different the world would be today if Cusanus' idea had been instituted?gcuqj

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  2. Yeah, in all the church history courses I've taken, I'd never heard of the guy. I'm going to have to read more - Amazon has quite a few books about him.

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  3. Wow, thanks! You're an excellent researcher. It definitely sounds like he has an interesting story. I'm excited to see what his writings say.

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