Our Christian condition: ‘Dominion’ by Tom Holland
Holland's history of Christianity offers magical insights into the secular present
"to dream of a world transformed by a reformation, or an enlightenment, or a revolution . . . is to dream as medieval visionaries dreamed: to dream in the manner of a Christian."
Every now and then you come across a book that straightens things out, which shows you something you sort of knew already but hadn’t worked out properly, let alone articulated.
Tom Holland’s Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind is certainly one of those books for me.
The central theme of the book, that Christianity lives on among us even when we have largely forsaken it, is not new. As Holland notes, Friedrich Nietzsche made it well over a century ago as part of his attack on ‘slave morality’ (the embrace of victimhood, weakness, poverty, restraint from the powerful).
It seems obvious once you think about it. But it’s something that’s rarely noted in our mainstream discourse, at least in Britain, where few voices are Christian or have much interest in Christianity. And it’s something that I haven’t come across in anything like the detail in which Holland presents it.