Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Spanish Church and the Papacy in the Thirteenth Century

The Spanish Church and the Papacy in the Thirteenth Century - A full-text online book by Peter Linehan which was originally published in 1971 by Cambridge University Press.

I really like the idea of publishing out-of-print history related books on the Web. Why not give this information away to Web seekers if there is no longer any financial gain to keeping the book off line? It will in many cases bring the book to the attention of researchers and allow it to be used to advance our understanding of the past.

From the site:

It is high time that a history of the medieval Spanish Church was written, to replace Lafuente's Historia eclesiƔstica, which is now a century old and has aged badly. But this book is not meant to fill that gap. The materials for a work of synthesis simply do not yet exist. Hence the absence of, for example, any sustained discussion of the monastic Orders which had contributed so much to Spanish life since the eleventh century, or of the rise and fall of the Mendicants -- and particularly of the Dominicans in St Dominic's own country. Nor is it a history of the Reconquista, although I am not unaware of the part played by churchmen in that operation. Indeed, in view of the consequences for the Spanish Church of that unique movement, some such sub-title as The Infra-structure of the Reconquest might well have been appropriate.

For all this, however, it has proved impossible to exclude these topics and others from what was originally conceived as an investigation into the workings of the reform programme, pure and simple, in Spain -- the kingdoms of Leon, Castile and Aragon, that is -- in the period after the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. It soon became clear that the subject posed questions of an economic nature regarding the Church's place in society. Nor could such an investigation be limited to Spain, thus defined. The political and ecclesiastical boundaries did not coincide, and so I have not hesitated to wander across the frontier into Portugal, as occasion demanded and as churchmen did then, and to accept the old-fashioned geographical interpretation of Hispania which the statutes of the Spanish College at Bologna employed in the late fourteenth century.(1) It is to be hoped that the conclusions reached will now be subjected to criticism based on the documentary resources of particular dioceses. If they merely serve as a set of Aunt Sallies to be shied at, the book will at least have caused students to defend the old assumptions by engaging in the battle of the archives. And that activity had the blessing of Jaime Vicens [x] Vives -- the highest accolade any historian of Spain could desire.(2)

1 comment:

sumir said...

"I really like the idea of publishing out-of-print history related books on the Web. Why not give this information away to Web seekers if there is no longer any financial gain to keeping the book off line? It will in many cases bring the book to the attention of researchers and allow it to be used to advance our understanding of the past."

Dear Brown,

You are very much right. A book may loose its attraction for a period. But after sometime, the contents may become useful. It is sincere readers who can make them useful.

Secondly, it is teachers, who usually read books which are not in trend. They may have read it sometime back. They find its relevance for a topic or issues on some later day. It is they who generally recommend the books.

Even publishers forward their books as specimen copies to established scholars free of cost. They expect them to write reviews on it so that their sale may increase.

Now when some titles are not making money for them, they should not consider it as a commodity. They can not underrate the value of any book. The author always has put in hardword and some idea into its work. They do have monetary consideration for writing a book but I think they get more satisfaction when they find their book in print. At that time they never thing about the money or royalty which it may bring. They have their own readers and audience.

The Guttenburg people are doing the similar work. There are many titles about which we read so much in writings of leading historians and writers. But, I doubt, if every one has read the actual source or the author.

I have found my collegues buying new copies of old classics which are being reprinted in India by local publishers undersome arrangment with actual publishers of Europe or America. I myself have bought four different titles of historians of bygone years. I could have borrowed their copies from library. But I just desired to have my personal copy because it is this way, I read the whole book. In case of library books, you sometime return it without reading it in true sense.

When I once asked one of my collegue that why he was reading the old philosopher. He said, that he did not get chance to read the original thinker earlier. Secondly, he said that he felt that it was now that he understood what the ancient philosopher was saying. I think it is true in my case also. I think that I can now understand the thinkers better than what I have learnt during my twenties.

You have an argument. It definitely make a good business sense only if these publishers who raises mansion on the sweat of the authors could understand it in true spirit. They may not be loosing any money but creating possibility that their dead titles may again come into demand.