Review Triple Shot

Very few people read my nonfiction reviews, so I’ve decided to bundle two up together and review them at once. Today’s theme is christianity.

Book 1:

How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E Woods Jr.

This work of nonfiction is an apologia about the Catholic Church. The author went back in time to discuss events following the Fall of Rome and preceding the Modern Era, to explore the Church’s seismic impact on Europe. The author sought to dispel myths that the Church was responsible for the Dark Ages. Instead the author brought to life the important impact the Church’s monasteries had on civic, scientific, economic and cultural life during the so-called Dark Ages, preserving the knowledge of ages past and helping cultivate marginal land into farmland.

I liked this book, but I had problems with it. Namely, like I said, the author set out to write an apologia. The author didn’t talk about any of the bad things the Church did back then or now. For example, the author didn’t discuss how the Spanish Inquisition was used to culturally repress Andalusian Jews and Muslims following the Reconquista. The same goes for how the Church was instrumental in the cultural repression of native religions in the New World, and how the Church was a sponsor of the trans-atlantic slave trade.

I thought this book was worth reading, but I’m glad I listened to this lecture series and this lecture series first, to provide more cultural context to events which the author neglected to really mentioned.

Book 2:

The Church History by Eusebius

This is a translation of an ancient Greek text written by a bishop back in the 4th century. Truth be told, a LOT of this went over my head. This was about the various competing theological variants back in the day, each trying to decide which was the ‘legitimate’ Christianity.

In retrospect, this wasn’t worth reading for me. I’m too detached from when this was written to extract any useable information from it. This has nothing to do the the Catholicism, Protestantism and Orthodoxism which I am more familiar with, save for being their ancestors in the same way dogs are descended from primordial canids.

If you are a Christian scholar, you probably should read this. But if you, like me, are only casually familiar with the events transcribed in this book, you can probably skip this one and not miss anything.

Book 3:

Bloodborne: The Death of Sleep

I recently finished playing ‘Bloodborne’ by From Software. This graphic novel was based on that IP.

Bloodborne the game is famously difficult to understand. It’s plot is cryptically hidden behind layers of Gothic and Lovecraftian Horror- and what little we do know is mainly in the form of speculation. This game is unapologetically confusing. Despite that, the game is considered to be one of the best games ever made due to how fluidly it combines the Gothic and Lovecraftian themes.

That’s where this graphic novel steps in: it has a fairly clear plot, with dialog and characterization- things which the original game famously lacks. Don’t get me wrong, this graphic novel is still shrouded in mystery- but because we actual dialog from The Doll, Gehrman, the Hunter, Djura and the Child, it’s easier to see a through line in the plot and the themes.

Now the bad: if you aren’t familiar with Bloodborne’s plot, setting and themes, this graphic novel will make ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. To explain, the game includes certain invisible foes called Amygdala. They re-appear in this graphic novel, in all their Lovecraftian Horror glory. The novel never explains the Amygdala, so if you try to read the novel before playing the game, then you’re going to be confused at the presence of giant, invisible bugs.

Net total, I thought it was well worth reading for me, a person who’s played Bloodborne and done research into the backstory of Bloodborne.

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