L’Observatoire des religions

La cathédrale comme dissuasion

mardi 5 juin 2007

Cathedral Building as an Entry-Deterring Device

Brighita Bercea
Robert B. Ekelund
Robert D. Tollison

Abstract :

This paper suggests that, while medieval cathedrals served many purposes and, indeed, were some of the greatest technical achievements of their time, they served a rational economic purpose as well. Protestant entry into the market for Christian religion finally materialized in the early sixteenth century. The Roman Catholic Church did not make a ’mistake’ in failing to forestall entry. We argue that the Church made a conscious rational effort to do so by supplying excess capacity and particular forms of capital in medieval cathedrals. While the attempt to forestall entry was ultimately unsuccessful, the extent of cathedral building helps explain why some areas of Europe remained Catholic and alternative forms of Christianity took hold in other locales. Copyright © 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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