The Age of Faith, Volume 4 : The Story of Civilization

  • by Will Durant
  • Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
  • Series: The Story of Civilization
  • 61 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A History of Medieval Civilization (Christian, Islamic, and Judaic) from Constantine to Dante, AD 325 - 1300
The fourth volume in Will Durant's Pulitzer Prize-winning series, The Age of Faith surveys the medieval achievements and modern significance of Christian, Islamic, and Judaic life and culture. Like the other volumes in the Story of Civilization series, this is a self-contained work, which at the same time fits into a comprehensive history of mankind. It includes the dramatic stories of St. Augustine, Hypatia, Justinian, Mohammed, Harun al-Rashid, Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Maimonides, St. Francis, St. Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, and many others, all in the perspective of integrated history. The greatest love stories in literature - of Héloise and Abélard, of Dante and Beatrice - are here retold with enthralling scholarship.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Medieval History is Fun and Relevant!

This book is my favorite book I've listened to all year. Most books I listen to are because I want to find our place in the universe and how we got where we are. This book does that better than any book I've listened to this year.

The author ties the pieces of the history covered together as a coherent whole. The period of time covered is from about 330 AD (Constantin's son) to about 1315 (Dante), and makes the listener understand how the events led to the making of Modern Europe and explains how we get where we are thus adding to my understanding about our place in the universe.

Most books that mention the Islamic Civilizations from 650 AD to 1300 just give comic book like characterizations. This book does not. He tells the story by first telling the story of the early Christian Church in ways which the reader can understand. I had earlier read an audible book called "Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years". I couldn't follow it, too many 'isms' unless you're an expert. Durant is expert at stepping the reader through. One thing I always like to focus on is the development of the Trinity and how it is ultimately resolved. This book shed light on that for me, for example.

I learned even more about Christianity and what they believe in and why by listening to the sections on Islam and Judaism. The author explains by comparing and contrasting between the religions (including paganism), and explaining clearly while looking within a religion.

The author has a couple of narratives that he uses to tie the book together. Perfect order leads to no liberty, tolerance of others beliefs can not exist under absolute certainty, and the part can not understand the whole.

The second half of the book covers from Charlemagne to the Italian Renaissance, which compares and contrast the progress in Western Civilization with the Islamic Civilization. The author does step away from his formula that he used in his first two Volumes. He uses a chronological approach and looks at subsets of natural entities within Europe and is less thematic than he was in his first two volumes. This allows him to be redundant and tell the same story in different places allowing the listener to relearn what he probably didn't catch the first time.

He'll spend a long time on Peter Abelard (1140 AD) which leads to a long section on Thomas Aquinas. Both allow the crack of reason into the magistracy of Faith. Once reason is permitted the relationship between man and the church will change. The Islamic civilization (at this time period) allowed theology to trump philosophy. In the end, Christian Western Europe allowed philosophy to coexist and will ultimately lead to the "Age of Reason".

As I was listening to the second half, I realized that the main character who had not been properly introduced was Dante, but he kept being mentioned. During the story, I ended up buying "Dante's Inferno", because the author would always include Dante way before he was to pop up in the story as a main character, and talks about Dante's Comedy in the final hour of the book and why it is a summary of the whole "Age of Faith". (I also bought a cheap Historical Atlas in order to follow the places better).

People, in general, avoid this period of history because it can be complex and is often thought of has not relevant to today. They are wrong, and I would strongly recommend this book.
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- Gary "l'enfer c'est les autres"

Unparalleled Genius, Artist and Sage.

You should start from the beginning. It's worth it and then some. Every one of these books is a true masterpiece. The synthesis of material in this particular volume is breathtaking. Durant truly grasps every subject about which he writes. The breadth and depth of every book so far has amazed me.
I can find no one who compares with Durant's work in the History of Civilization. It will shift your perspective and open your world view. It might even make you a little more compassionate toward the human race.
These books have ruined me for any other author!!

Please Audible- give us the rest!!! I've listened to the first 3 over and over, waiting for each one! This book was such an exciting surprise when I saw it was available.
Please give us the rest!!

And thank you for making this volume available.
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- Benoibe "audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-02-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.