I’ve just started reading Chris Walley‘s The Infinite Day. In chapter 2, Ludovica Bortellat tells Merral D’Avanos how her previous post as a university politics lecturer specializing in an obscure period considered by many to be of little relevance to real life has turned out to be of great practical benefit.
“I had some of the smallest classes at Stepalis. And now …” her tone abruptly shifted to one of sorrow. “Now suddenly I find my research to have been utterly relevant. And when I see all this I think, ‘I’ve been here before.'”
It struck me that even seemingly obscure periods of church history can have a relevance initially unforseen whenever the very same problems and heresises that occurred then rise up in our midst today. In that light, there are no obscure periods. They are just unknown, since most Christians have no interest in church history, yet some knowledge of it would keep us from alling into the errors of the past with fresh gusto. Encouraging the study of such seemingly obscure people and periods thus provides valuable resources for the church today and in the future, in the combatting of error.