The Pillars of the Earth Themes

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The Power and Corruption of Church and State

The United States of America is a relatively young nation, less than 250 years old. The Constitution of the U.S.A. is predicated on the separation of Church and state, and thus many younger Americans, unfamiliar with world history, are wholly unaware of the fact that Church and state have, historically, been linked together inextricably in the governing of humanity. European history is replete with power struggles between Church and state, yet both Church and state were, and in some cases remain, governing entities. In twelfth-century England, where the story is set, both Church and state had the power to create, enforce, and adjudicate laws.

Prior Philip holds court on the grounds of his priory, and as prior, he is entitled to punish law-breakers through hangings, mutilations, torture, or any other he means he deems appropriate. Fortunately, in the story, Philip...

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This section contains 1,296 words
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