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Struggle of Faith and Reason: A History of Intolerance and Punitive Censorship

Part II: From Mediaeval Cathars to Giordano Bruno and Lucilio Vanini

Juhani Sarsila

Humanists look up to Hellas as the cradle of European culture. The book spans nearly five centuries of a later epoch of this worthy tradition. Starting with the awesome high-mediaeval Cathars, the exposition proceeds in chronological order. Eventually, we meet Giordano Bruno and Lucilio Vanini, both of them red-letter heretics. The work affords cognisance of a neglected branch of learning. History of morals in general, and that of the struggle of faith and reason in particular, provides in-depth insights into the allotted fate of dissentient man. A potentially fateful nexus appears to be interweaving between book and author. Organised religion is evermore based on the politically beneficial idea of anthropomorphism or metaphysical projection. For has Man not made God in his image?

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My friend and former student, Professor Joel Kuortti (University of Turku) assisted with the first volume of this oeuvre. With the present volume, he not merely read the lengthy manuscript and afforded fruitful suggestions, but he thoughtfully edited the texture for readability, brevity and structure. He painstakingly ameliorated it and helped to crystallise the explicit humanist drive of the work. In the spirit of Horace (Odes 1, 11), the editorial labour benefits the current exposition for “quam minimum credula postero” – do not trust posterity! Our cooperation has been mutually convivial – albeit ‘Covidial’ – and it affords me cordial pleasure to thank Joel for the work he put in these two volumes: Dum vivimus, vitam agamus nihil novi timentes, Socratis exemplum secuti. I would like to thank Leena Sainio for her picture that substantially enlivens the present narrative. I also place on record my sense of gratitude to Timo Airaksinen, Markku Hyrkkänen, Maija-Leena Kallela, Tiina Kartano, Artemis Kelosaari, Tapani Laine, Petri Latvala, Tapio Nykänen, Antti T. Oikarinen, Lassi Patokorpi, Sauli Salmela, Kirsi Salonen, Ira Sarsila, Seppo

I. Sotasaari, Ilkka Tanner, Seppo Varho, Hannu Vatka, Jarkko Vilkkilä and Justus Vuorio, who have all lent their helping hand in this venture of a heresy enthusiast. Eventually, I would like to offer my thanks to the international publishers of Peter Lang for having accepted also the second tome for release in one of their series. After thirteen well-nigh burning months in purgatory, let us all see whether virus will...

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