ERA 4 << Medieval Church (2): Growth & Decline of Papacy (AD 1000–1500) >> SESSION 2
Reference: Gonzalez, volume 1, chapters 33-36
† 11.1.1 Background
· Definition: Scholasticism is the theology that developed in the “schools”, and with its own characteristic methodology. It was an attempt to rationalize theology in order to build up faith by reason. In 12th-c, cathedral schools became the centre of theological activity. They were replaced by the universities in 13th-c.
· Causes:  The emergence of the philosophy of Aristotle led to an attempt to relate it to theology.  The mendicant orders were interested in the use of philosophy in the study of revelation.
· Periods: There were 3 distinct periods of Scholasticism: early scholasticism [1000–1100], high scholasticism [1100–1300], and late scholasticism [1300–1500].
· Method: It sought to prove existing truth by rational processes rather than seeking new truth. They studied the Bible, the creeds and canons of the ecumenical councils, and writings of Church Fathers. It followed a standard method of posing a question, and then quoting authorities who supported different answers, and then showing how it was possible for all the authorities quoted to be correct. The data of revelation were to be organized systematically by the use of Aristotelian deductive logic (syllogism) and were to be harmonized with the newly rediscovered philosophy of Aristotle.
on reason: From the early church, most Christian theologians were
accustomed to a Platonic or Neoplatonic philosophy. After the discovery of
Aristotle’s philosophy in
· Reactions: Some theologians responded to this challenge by affirming the traditional Platonic and Augustinian outlook. Franciscan monk Bonaventure (1221–1274) insisted that faith is necessary in order to achieve the correct understanding. Another route was to explore the possibilities that the new philosophy offered for a better understanding of Christian faith.
† 11.1.2 Schools of scholasticism
·  Realism—universals exist before created things [dominant in early scholasticism]
o Definition of a “universal”: A “universal” is what particular things have in common, namely characteristics or qualities. The noun “universal” contrasts with “individual”, while the adjective “universal” contrasts with “particular”. For example, ancient Chinese philosopher Gongsun Long (325–250 BC, logician school) said that “A white horse is not a horse” because a “particular” horse that is white is not entirely equivalent to the “universal” concept of a horse.
o Characteristic: Plato insisted that universals or “ideas” exist apart from particular things or individuals. Men must look beyond this life for ultimate reality. This school was represented by Anselm and Lombard.
·  Moderate realism—universals exist in created things [dominant in high scholasticism]
o Characteristic: Aristotle insisted that universals have an objective existence but that they do not exist apart from individual things but rather in them and in their minds. This school was represented by Abelard and Aquinas.
·  Nominalism—universals exist after created things [dominant in late scholasticism]
o Characteristic: General truths or ideas have no objective existence outside the mind. They are merely subjective ideas of common characteristics developed by the mind as a result of observation of particular things. Universals are only class names. This school was more concerned with the individuals whereas the other two schools were more concerned with the group. These people were forerunners of the empiricists, positivists, and pragmatists. This school was represented by William of Ockham and Roger Bacon.
† 11.1.3 Early scholasticism
Life: He moved from
o On reason helping faith: He applied reason to questions of faith, such as the existence of God and the motive for the incarnation. It was not to prove things he did not believe without such proof, but to understand more deeply a truth already known by faith. “I believe in order that I may know.” (Latin credo ut intelligam) Faith must be primary and the foundation of knowledge. This position was held by Augustine—faith seeking understanding. His explanation of the following 2 important questions has been regarded as the standard orthodoxy. They show how reasonable Christianity is; they demonstrate the inner consistency and beauty of Christian faith.
o Ontological argument of the existence of God: Anselm’s book Proslogion , originally called Faith Seeking Understanding, demonstrated a logical deduction that has been regarded by many philosophers as the best argument for the existence of God. When one thinks of God, one is thinking of “that-than-which-no-greater-can-be-thought (conceived)”—the greatest conceivable being. The question then is, is it possible to think of “that-than-which-no-greater-can-be-thought” as not existing? Clearly not, for then an existing being would be greater than it. Therefore, by definition, the idea of “that-than-which-no-greater-can-be-thought” includes its existence. Were He not to exist, He would be inferior to an identical being that did exist, and thus would not be “the greatest conceivable being.” The analogy is that to speak of God as not existing makes as much sense as to speak of a triangle with four sides.
◦ Another version: Everyone has an idea of a perfect supreme being in his mind. This idea must correspond to a reality that has an objective existence, for such a being lacking existence would not be perfect nor would it be that than which a greater cannot be conceived. Because no greater idea than that of God as the perfect Supreme Being can be conceived, God must exist in reality.
o On the reason for incarnation: Anselm’s book Why God Became Man attempted to show that it was absolutely necessary for God to become man and die in order to save us; that is, God had no choice. The importance of a crime is measured in terms of the one against whom it is committed. Therefore, a crime against God, sin, is infinite in its import. But, one the other hand, only a human being can offer satisfaction for human sin. This is obviously impossible, for human beings are finite, and cannot offer the infinite satisfaction required by the majesty of God. For this reason, there is need for a divine-human, God incarnate, who through His suffering and death offers satisfaction for the sins of all man. This is called the commercial theory of atonement. It ended the patristic view of the atonement as a ransom paid to Satan.
† 11.1.4 High scholasticism
· Peter Abelard (1079–1142)
Life: He was a French teaching at the
o On reason and truth: He emphasized the position of reason in the development of truth. “I know in order that I may believe.” (Latin intelligo ut credam) “By doubting we come to enquire and by enquiring we reach truth.”
o On universals: Realists held that universals (similar to Plato’s ideas) are more real than the individuals and exist independently of them. Nominalists, in contrast, held that universals have no reality of their own; they are merely arbitrary names. Abelard took a mediating position, seeing universals as mental concepts. They have no existence independently of particular individuals, but they are not just names. He believed that reality existed first in the mind of God, then in individuals and things, and finally in man’s mind. The idea of dog precedes individual dogs in the sense that God planned the creation of dogs so the idea was in His mind. It exists in individual dogs, and its exists in our minds when we have the concept of “dog”.
o On atonement: He thought that the death of Christ was not to satisfy God but to impress man with the love of God so that man would be morally influenced to surrender his life to God. The cross becomes the supreme example of love. This is the moral influence theory of atonement.
o Impact: His book Yes and No  included 158 theological questions which various authorities did not agree on their answers. He wanted to show that theology must not be content with citing authorities. It was necessary to find ways to reconcile such apparently contradictory authorities. Eventually, scholasticism used his method as the standard.
· Peter Lombard (1100–1160)
Life: He was a teacher in the
o Impact: His Four Books of Sentences  was a systematic treatment of theology, not from his new ideas but based on extracts from the Bible and other authorities. “Sentences” mean maxims and opinions. Topics included the Trinity, the incarnation, the sacraments, and eschatology. It became a basic textbook on theology in universities. Works of major scholastic theologians usually include a Commentary on the Sentences. He emphasized the 7 sacraments which were accepted as authoritative at the Council of Florence .
◦ Bernard of Chartres (??–1130) said: “We are like dwarves sitting on the shoulders of giants (the ancients). We see more than them and things that are further away—not because our sight is better than theirs, nor because we are taller than they were, but because they raise us up and add to our stature by their enormous heights.”
· Albert the Great (1206–1280)
Life: He was a professor in
o Philosophy & theology: He made a clear distinction between philosophy and theology. Philosophy is based on autonomous principles, which can be known apart from revelation, and seeks to discover truth by a strictly rational method. Theology, on the other hand, is based on revealed truths, which cannot be known by reason alone. Revealed data (from God) are always more certain than those of reason, which may err. For example, philosophy cannot prove creation out of nothing because the object of inquiry is beyond the scope of human reason.
o Science & religion: His chief works, compendiums of theology and creation, treated respectively theological and natural science in an effort to reconcile science and religion.
· Roger Bacon (1214–1292)
o He laid the foundation for experimental science. Truth can be approached through the realm of nature by experiment.
· Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)—greatest theologian of the Middle Ages
Life: Thomas Aquinas’s mother was the
sister of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. He was a Dominican monk from
o Summa Theologica [1265–1273] (The Sum of Theology)—It was the greatest theological work in the Middle Ages—with 512 questions and 3000 articles. It is an imposing intellectual construction comparable to a vast Gothic cathedral with its symmetry and perfect balance. It tries to synthesize faith and reason into a totality of truth. Because both are from God, there can be no essential contradiction between them.
◦ Part 1 discusses the existence and nature of God, emphasizing God’s being, and Trinity.
◦ Part 2 discusses man’s advance toward God. Thomas noted that man’s nature of morality and the virtues, but he pointed out that man’s will is bent by sin, although it is not completely determined to evil.
◦ Part 3 discusses Christ as our Way to God and stresses Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection. It concludes with the 7 sacraments as channels of grace instituted by Christ.
o On faith & reason: Some truths are within the reach of reason, and others are beyond it. Philosophy deals with the former. There are truths that reason cannot prove, but which are necessary for salvation. So God reveals all truth necessary for salvation, to be dealt with by philosophy and theology. Man by the use of reason and the logic of Aristotle could gain such truths as those of God’s existence, providence, and immortality. Like a two-storey house, Aristotelian philosophy provides the first storey on which Catholic theology can be made perfect and complete by adding the second storey.
o On the existence of God: It is impossible to be saved without believing that God exists. The existence of God is an article of faith; even the most ignorant person can accept it. But the existence of God is not a truth beyond the reach of reason. In this case, reason can prove what faith accepts. Therefore, this question is a proper subject for both philosophy and theology. There are 5 ways to prove it. The first way, for example, begins by considering movement; since what is moved must have a mover, there must be a prime mover, God.
· Anselm vs Aquinas: Anselm distrusted the senses, and thus started not by looking at the world, but by examining the idea of God. Thomas followed the opposite route, starting with the data known through the senses. This clearly shows Anselm’s Platonic orientation compared to Thomas’s Aristotelian orientation. Whereas Anselm believed that true knowledge is to be found in the realm of pure ideas, Thomas held that sense perception is the beginning of knowledge.
† 11.1.5 Late scholasticism
· Characteristics:  They searched for ever subtler questions to pose, and for fine distinctions with which to answer them. They developed a dense style and technical vocabulary that were far beyond the reach of the uninitiated.  There was an increasing rift between philosophy and theology, between what reason can discover and what is known only through divine revelation.
· Duns Scotus (1266–1308)—the Subtle Doctor, Scottish Franciscan
o Subtlety: His subtlety and fine distinctions were so frequent that his writings can only be understood by those who have spent many years in philosophy and theology.
o On faith & reason: While Aquinas supported the use of reason in helping to understand faith. He rejected that doctrines (such as the immortality of the soul or divine omnipresence) could be proved to be true by the sole and proper use of reason. He stressed the primacy of the will. Reason shows the will what is possible, but the will itself is free to choose whichever of these it will accept. The will does not simply follow whatever reason dictates.
o On God’s free-will: He stressed the freedom of God. Things are the way that they are, not because reason requires it but because God freely chose it. While Anselm claimed that the incarnation and the cross of Jesus Christ were necessary and God had no choice, Duns held that they happened because God chose that they should.
o On the individual: He laid more emphasis on the individual than on the institution.
o On immaculate conception: He was the first major advocate of the doctrine of Mary’s immaculate conception (that Mary was conceived without sin), in contrast to others before him who held that Mary was freed from sin after her conception. He argued that this would make the most perfect form of redemption.
· William of Ockham (1288–1349)—English Franciscan
o On faith & reason: He held that all true knowledge is acquired empirically through the senses. He insisted that theological dogmas were not rationally demonstrable (they are only probable arguments), and that they must be accepted on the authority of the Bible. Human natural reason can prove absolutely nothing regarding God or the divine purposes. This meant that all the traditional arguments whereby theologians had tried to prove that a doctrine was reasonable lost their power. This view separated faith and reason.
o On God’s imperative: Whatever God pleases to do is possible. Nothing is above the absolute power of God—not even reason, nor the distinction between good and evil. Were it not so, one would be forced to declare that God’s absolute power is limited by reason, or by the distinction between good and evil. Strictly speaking, one should not say that God always does good, but rather that whatever God does, no matter what it might be, is good. It is God who determines what is good, and not vice versa. Likewise, it is incorrect to say that God has to act reasonably. It is the sovereign will of God that determines what is to be reasonable and then, by the “ordered” power of God, acts according to those directives.
o On universals: He denied the existence of objective universals and held that universals are only names for mental concepts that men develop in their minds. Only the individual is real. Universals have no reality or existence outside of the mind of the person thinking them (Latin universalia post rem). The concept encourages Western individualism. With this, he undermined the authority of the church.
o On the pope: He held that the highest authority in the church is not the pope but a general council with lay participation. He believed that only the Bible and the universal church cannot err and that the pope must submit himself to them. He taught that the pope has no secular power and that the emperor can depose the pope.
o Occam’s Razor or Law of Economy: It is the law of simplicity—“the simplest explanation is the best” or “it is futile to multiply hypotheses when a few will suffice.”
† 11.1.6 Results of scholasticism
· Papal power: Aquinas’s emphasis on the sacraments as channels of grace strengthened the hold of the RCC on the individual.
· Secular vs sacred: Aquinas’s view that reason precedes revelation as a means of knowledge but is completed by revelation led to a danger that people might separate truth into two spheres, the secular and the sacred. Nominalists actually believed that there is a realm of scientific truth and another realm of theological truth.
· Rise of experimental method: Nominalism led to an exaltation of the experimental method as the main avenue to truth.
· Philosophy & religion: Scholasticism furnished the RCC with an authoritative integrated synthesis that harmonized philosophy and religion.
· Reaction: Late scholasticism provoked the reaction of many who deplored the contrast between the complexity of academic theology and the simplicity of the gospel. The Imitation of Christ  by Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471) represented such as a reaction and called for deeper devotion.
† 11.1.7 Growth of universities
· Reasons for the rise:
monastery schools: Martianus Capella  adapted the Roman quadrivium
(geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, music) and trivium (grammar, rhetoric, logic)
to the use of religion. The trivium was useful for training the clergy in
public speaking and preaching. The quadrivium was useful in the establishment of
the dates of sacred festivals of the church. These studies were used in
Charlemagne’s palace school and were based on the model of monastery schools
and cathedral schools. The
o  From scholasticism: The presence of a great teacher, such as a scholastic, would attract many students, forming the foundation of universities.
arguments: Because of the quarrels between the English and French kings,
the English students in
Early universities were guilds of scholars—both
teachers and students. They were organized in order to defend the rights of
their members, and to certify the level of proficiency achieved by each.
· Studies: The university usually had 4 faculties. The arts were the general course for all. Theology, law, and medicine were more advanced studies. The student in the general curriculum of the arts studied the trivium, which led to the bachelor’s degree. Further study of the quadrivium gave him a master’s degree which qualified him as a teacher. Continued study in the other faculties might give him a doctorate in law, theology, or medicine. In 14th-c, the process to obtain a doctor required 14 years after the completion in the Faculty of Arts. Instruction was in Latin.
† 11.2.1 Revival of classical learning
of Renaissance: The French word means “rebirth” which, as applied
to a historical period, implies a negative judgment on the preceding age. Those
who used this term called the 1000 years since the fall of
When Constantinople fell to the Turks , Byzantine exiles flooded
· Arts & beauty: The interest in antiquity also manifested in the arts, including painting, sculpture, and architecture. The ideal of many Italian artists was to rediscover the classical canons of beauty.
· Emphasis on man: Art in the Renaissance turned its attention to human splendour, instead of being used for religious instruction until that time. The goal of the period was to be the “universal man”.
· Printing press: The printing press introduced by Gutenberg  was not yet seen as a means of popularizing literature. It was used as a medium for communication among scholars, or for duplicating the writings of antiquity.
Conflicts between the old aristocracy and republican sentiments were constant.
In cities such as
† 11.2.2 Architecture
· Purposes of churches: Medieval churches had 2 purposes: didactic and cultic.
o Didactic purpose: This responded to the needs of an age when books were scarce, and there were not many who could read them. Church buildings thus became books of the illiterate, and an attempt was made to set forth in them the whole of Biblical history, the lives of great saints and martyrs, the virtues and vices, the promise of heaven and the punishment of hell.
o Cultic purpose: It centred on the medieval understanding of communion. This was seen as the miraculous transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. It was the setting in which the Great Miracle took place.
architecture: Floor plans of early basilicas had the shape of a
“T” while Romanesque basilicas had the shape of a common Latin cross as there
was a growing distance between the priests and the laity. Early basilicas had
wooden roofs while Romanesque basilicas had stone roofs. To support heavier
roofs, they therefore have semi-circular arches with thicker walls, with few
windows, and heavy pillars. Inside were great domes with decorative mosaics.
Examples are St Sophia (Constantinople, modern-day
St Sophia Church: It was at one time the largest cathedral in the world. After the
· Gothic architecture: Critics thought it was barbaric, worthy only of the Goths. In contrast to Romanesque architecture, Gothic architecture perfected the building with pointed arches. The ceiling used ribbed vaults with the weight rested on columns in the corners, not on the entire walls. But to balance the weight of the vault, pillars needed to be built some distance from the wall to exert a lateral thrust.
· Characteristics:  The main lines of the building were so vertical that it seemed to soar to heaven, reminding one about God. This effect could be enhanced by adding towers and spires that pointed to heaven.  The pointed arch led the eye and aspirations upward from earth.  Spaces became available for long windows which illuminated the building with mysterious light effects, reminding one about the mystery of God.  The windows could be decorated with stained glass mosaics depicting Biblical stories and lives of saints.  The cross-shaped floor plan expressed the central symbol of Christianity.  The entire building was a book in which the mysteries of faith and all creation were reflected. It provided a worthy setting for the eucharistic celebration.  The cathedral represented the supernaturalistic spirit of the age clearly by its dominating position in the town and by its symbolic expression of Biblical truth.
† 11.2.3 Popes of the Renaissance
Most of the popes in the Renaissance followed the ideals of the time, chasing
after sensual pleasure. These were enthusiasts of arts, employing the best
artists to adorn the city of
IV [1431–1447]—He asserted his authority over the council. He put
much effort to embellish the city of
V [1447–1455]—He tried to gain political dominance over all
Italian states, and to make
III [1455–1458]—He used military campaigns aiming to unify
· Paul II [1464–1471]—His main interest was collecting works of art—particularly jewelry and silver. He was famous for luxurious life and keeping concubines.
IV [1471–1484]—He bought the papacy by promising gifts and
privileges to the cardinals. Corruption and nepotism reached new heights. His
main goal was to enrich his family. One of his nephews would later become Pope
Julius II. Another nephew was made a cardinal, patriarch of Constantinople, and
· Innocent VIII [1484–1492]—He was the first pope to acknowledge several of his illegitimate children, on whom he heaped honours and riches. He appointed one of his sons to manage the sale of indulgences. He killed hundreds of innocent women when he ordered the cleansing of witches .
VI [1492–1503]—Papal corruption reached
its peak. He bought the papacy. He was said to
commit publicly all capital sins. He openly acknowledged his illegitimate
children. He bathed
II [1503–1513]—He was a patron of the arts. During his reign,
Michelangelo finished his paintings in Sistine Chapel and Raphael decorated the
[1513–1521]—He was a patron of the arts. His great dream was to complete the
great basilica of St Peter in
† 11.3.1 Lay reforming movements
Peter Waldo (1140–1218), a rich merchant in Lyons (
· Joachimites: Joachim of Fiore (1132–1202), a Cistercian monk and the abbot of Fiore , proposed a scheme of history as consisting of 3 successive eras:  the era of the Father—the OT dispensation, the age of the married, lived under the Law;  the era of the Son—the NT dispensation, the age of the cleric, lived under grace;  the era of the Spirit—the new dispensation, the age of the contemplative monk, lived in the freedom of spiritual understanding. The 1st era, from Adam to Jesus, lasted 42 generations. The 2nd era would also last 42 generations. Joachim calculated that the 2nd generation would end in 1260. During this era, monks who are more spiritual than the rest are heralds of the 3rd era which will be a new age of love. There will be a new religious order which will convert the whole world. The present corrupt church and leadership will be replaced by a new spiritual church and a new leader. Joachim’s teachings were followed by some fringe movements, including the spiritual Franciscans, but were later condemned.
· Female monasticism: For medieval women, monasticism was practically the only way in which to lead a life free from direct dependence on their fathers, husbands, or sons. Thus, women flocked to monastic orders. Soon, these orders began to limit the number of women. Then some women began living in communities practicing prayer, devotion, and relative poverty. But the church often suspected them of heresy.
· Fragellants: Soon after their appearance , thousands of Christians joined the movement. They whipped themselves in penance for sin, sometimes till blood flowed. Their action was based on the belief that the end of the world was near, or that God would destroy the world if man did not show repentance. After joining the group, they first had to obey absolutely to their superiors for 33 days and to gather for self-whipping twice everyday. After that, they whipped themselves only on Good Fridays.
rebellion: In Würzburg (
· Church responses:  conversion, e.g. the Dominicans tried to convert the Albigensians,  crusade, e.g. the extermination of the Albigensians,  prohibition of the Bible, e.g. the Synod of Toulouse  forbade laymen to read vernacular translations of the Bible so that the comparison between the NT church and the RCC could be avoided,  Inquisition, e.g. Gregory IX commissioned the Dominicans to punish heresy by threats, torture, and death.
† 11.3.2 John Wycliffe (1320–1384)—Morning star of Reformation
Wycliffe was an English theologian who spent most of his career at
· On legitimate power: Wycliffe stressed that all legitimate dominion comes from God. But such dominion is characterized by the example of Christ, who came to serve, not to be served. Any lordship used for the profit of the ruler rather than for that of the governed is not true dominion, but usurpation. Therefore, any ecclesiastical authority that collects taxes for its own benefit is illegitimate. Civil authority had a good reason to take property from the church.
true church: The scandal of the Great Schism led him to push his
teaching even further. He began teaching that Christ is the head of the church;
· On the Bible: The Bible is the sole authority of the church, above the church, tradition, councils, and the pope. It contains all that is necessary for salvation. Since the church that owns Scripture is the body of all who are predestined, they should study the Bible, and in their own language. Wycliffe translated the NT into English; Nicholas of Hereford translated most of the OT; Wycliffe’s followers completed the rest and the Wycliffe Bible was published .
· On communion: The Council of Lateran IV  had affirmed the doctrine of transubstantiation. Wycliffe rejected this because he saw in it a denial of the principle manifested in incarnation. When God was joined to human nature, the presence of divinity did not destroy the humanity. Likewise, in a mysterious way, the body of Christ and the bread are both present in communion. Wycliffe’s view would mean that the priest could no longer withhold salvation from anyone.
Wycliffe’s views were completely based on Scripture
but were condemned in
o Followers of Wycliffe: They followed the teachings of Wycliffe. They set out to preach their understanding of Christianity. They helped spreading the English Bible and fuelling discontent with the RCC.
o Beliefs: They believed that the Bible belonged to the people and should be returned to them; that pastors should not hold civil offices; and that images, clerical celibacy, pilgrimages were abomination. They reject the doctrine of transubstantiation, and prayers for the dead.
o Rebellion: At first, they had supporters in the nobility. After an abortive rebellion , they lost support of the nobles but continued among the lower classes. Then they became more radical. A Lollard conspiracy, which hoped to reform the church and to overthrow the government, was discovered . They were then persecuted and went underground. During the Reformation, they were absorbed into Protestantism, and helped in the English Reformation.
† 11.3.3 John Huss (1369–1415)
Huss was a famous scholar and preacher in
Wycliffe: Wycliffe’s ideas were debated in
· On indulgences: Huss was against the sale of indulgences. He concluded that only God can grant forgiveness, and that to sell what comes only from God is a usurpation. There were public demonstration against the exploitation of the Bohemian people by the papacy. Pope John XXIII (antipope) excommunicated him again.
· Death: Emperor Sigismund invited Huss to defend himself before the Council of Constance, and granted him safe-conduct. The council disregarded the safe-conduct and ordered Huss to recant his teachings. But Huss rejected it because that would be an admission that he and his Bohemian friends were heretics. He was condemned as a heretic and was burnt . The Bohemians repudiated the council and 452 noblemen gathered and announced their agreement with Huss—that unworthy popes ought not to be obeyed.
o Utraquists: Among the Hussites (followers of Huss), there were 2 groups: Utraquists and Taborites. The first group were mostly from the nobility and the bourgeoisie. They were willing to retain everything except what was explicitly rejected by the Bible.
o Taborites: These were mostly from lower classes. They were an apocalyptic movement that spread among the peasants even before Huss. They rejected everything that was not to be found in the Scripture. Therefore, they rejected transubstantiation, worship of saints, prayers for the dead, oaths, indulgences, priestly confession, dancing, and other amusements.
o Four Articles : The threat of armed intervention led the different groups to agree to Four Articles that would be the basis of Bohemian resistance:  The Word of God was to be preached freely.  Communion would be given in both kinds to the laity—both bread and cup.  The clergy should be deprived of its wealth and live in apostolic poverty.  The gross and public sin, especially simony, would be properly punished.
Victories: King Wenceslas died  and
his legitimate successor was Sigismund. The Bohemians demanded that he grant
freedom of worship. Sigismund did not agree. The pope then called a crusade against
the Hussites. Sigismund’s army was totally destroyed outside
o Moravians: The papacy finally negotiated with the Bohemians and granted them some elements of the Four Articles. Some left the established church and formed the Union of Brethren or Bohemian Brethren . Some remnants of the Brethren became the Moravians.
† 11.3.4 Girolamo Savonarola (1452–1498)
Savonarola was an Italian Dominican friar, wellknown for his scholarship. He
was invited to join St Mark’s monastery in
· Reforms: He taught on the contrast between true Christian life and the love of luxury. He preached against the evil life of the pope. On being elected as prior of the monastery, he sold much of the property to help the poor. He also reformed the monastery.
When Charles VIII of
† 11.3.5 Mysticism
· Causes:  Scholasticism emphasized reason at the expense of emotion. The nominalism of late scholasticism was even worse. When the church lapsed into formalism, the human heart longed for direct contact with God. The mystic desired this contact by immediate intuition and contemplation, leading to the experience of being in union with God and a feeling of ecstasy.  Mysticism was also a kind of protest and reaction against the troubled times and a corrupt church.
· Johannes Eckhart von Hochheim, Meister Eckhart (1260–1327)
o Neoplatonism: He was a German Dominican monk. His mystical doctrine was essentially Neoplatonic, for its goal was the contemplation of the divine, the Ineffable One.
o On knowledge of God: He believed that all language about God is analogical, and therefore inexact. He sought to exalt God by showing that no human concept can grasp the divine, and that true knowledge of God is not rational, but intuitive. God is known, not by study or rational argument, but by mystical contemplation in which one is finally lost in the divine.
o On union with God: He believed that only the divine is real so he taught that the aim of the Christian should be the union of the spirit with God by a fusion of the human essence with the divine essence during an ecstatic experience. “God must become I, and I God.”
Open to speculation: All ideas of all
things that would exist were in the mind of God. “
· John of Ruysbroeck (1293–1381) & Gerhard Groote (1340–1384)
o Devotion: They were Flemish mystics. Their mysticism was more practical and more directly related to everyday life than Meister Eckhart. They gave shape and popularity to modern devotion. This consisted mainly in a life of disciplined devotion centred on the contemplation of the life of Christ, and on its imitation. The objective was to lead to inner peace.
o Brethren: Grotte founded the Brethren of the Common Life who lived in lay communities not under a monastic rule, and did secular work. Erasmus was one of them. They devoted their lives to teaching and other practical service rather than to the passive experience of God. Grotte attacked corruption in the church and called his followers to renewed holiness and devotion. He encouraged his followers to stay in their secular jobs.
· Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471)
Life: He was one of the Brethren of the
Common Life, living in a community under Augustinian canons. His name came from
his birthplace Kempen (near
o Imitation of Christ —This is his famous work, which has over 2000 printings in the last 500 years. The theme was the need of a positive love for Christ and service for Him in practical ways, applying the methods of self-examination and humility; self-denial and discipline; acceptance of one’s lot, and trust in and love for God. There were 4 books. Book 1 is on the beginnings of the spiritual life. Books 2 and 3 are on the inner life and on spiritual comfort. Book 4 is on the holy communion.
o Quotes:  “If you knew the whole Bible off by heart and all the expositions of scholars, what good would it do you without the love and grace of God?”  “It is clear how rarely we apply to our neighbours the same standards as to ourselves.”  “Jesus has in these days many people who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross.”  “Make use of temporal gifts, but set your heart on eternal ones.”  “It is to those who become like children that God gives understanding, and He enlarges the faculties of minds that are pure. But from those who are arrogant and inquisitive he keeps his grace concealed.”
· Gabriel Biel (1420–1495)
Life: He was a German who joined the
Brethren of the Common Life. He taught at the
Theology: He managed to blend the
spirituality of the Modern Devotion with his academic studies, avoiding the anti-intellectualism of Thomas à Kempis.
He supported Semi-Pelagianism. He set out an
“order of salvation” for the sinner. The first step is taken by the
sinner—cease from consenting to sin and turn to God by his own unaided
free-will. Martin Luther was later taught by
On God’s grace: There is the “pact of
generosity” by which God promises to reward with His grace those who do their
very best. Then there is the “pact of justice” by which God ordains that those
performing good works in a state of grace deserve to be accepted by Him as
righteous. Both pacts are ordained out of God’s grace. This enables
· Effect of mysticism:  Although the mystic movement was not opposed to the church, it weakened the authority of the church by insisting that one can achieve communion with the divine through direct contemplation. With this movement, the traditional means of grace such as sacraments, preaching, and even Scripture lost their importance.  Mysticism may be thought of as anticipating the more personal approach to religion characterized by the Reformation.  The dangers of this movement included the tendencies to substitute a subjective inner authority for the Bible, to minimize doctrine, to become too introspective and antisocial. All these were manifested in some later religious movements.
† 11.4.1 Spanish colonies
Columbus (1451–1506)—He was an Italian explorer who received the
support of the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, and reached
In 1493 to 1510, the popes gave enormous authority to the Spanish crown to
appoint bishops and high ecclesiastical officers for the
· Monks supporting the people: In contrast, those who carried out missionary work—Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits—lived among the people and knew their plight. The friars then became the defenders of the Indians against the plundering of the European settlers. In 19th-c, when the old colonies began their struggle for independence, the bishops were loyalists, while many parish priests and friars sided with the rebels.
The first open protest against the exploitation was a sermon preached by
Dominican Antonio Montesinos in
slaves: The loss of Indian labour led the Spanish to import black
Empire: They occupied present-day southern
Empire: They occupied present-day central
Empire: They occupied the Andes, centred around the present-day
of the natives: When the native Indians were conquered by the
Spanish, their religious idols were destroyed. Friars were subsequently sent
expansion: After the Spanish conquered central and south America,
they moved north. The threat of French advance from
South America: River Plate region (present-day
· Independence: In 19th-c, the Spanish colonies obtained independence: Haiti , Mexico , Paraguay , Venezuela , River Plate , Chile , Peru , Central America , Bolivia .
† 11.4.2 Portuguese colonies
partition: In 1493, after the first discoveries of
control: In 1549, the news of cruelty against slaves reached
 treasure our heritage
Beautiful Gothic architecture expresses Christian faith. Universities were established to train Christian workers.
 appreciate God’s providence
The extreme corruption of the papacy did not destroy the church. Faithful believers were still preserved by God.
 avoid past errors
Scholasticism lost its influence when it moved away from the common man.
 apply our knowledge
Christianity is compatible with human reasoning. We should use our mind to understand and strengthen faith.
 follow past saints
The courageous John Wycliffe and John Huss were precursors of the Reformation.
● What were the main teachings of Wycliffe, Huss, and Savonarola? Were they judged (as heretics) correctly by the church?
o Wycliffe: The truth church is not the same as the visible church. Christians should own the Bible in their own language. Transubstantiation is not Biblical.
o Huss: An unworthy pope is not to be obeyed. The Bible is the final authority. The sale of indulgences is a usurpation.
o Savonarola: True Christians must reject the love of luxury.
o Judgment: They were judged as heretics because they threatened the authority of the church but their teachings were completely Biblical and their judgments by the church were wrong.
● Can the ideas of Christian mysticism help to improve our own personal devotion?
o Yes, the emphases of contemplation of God, imitation of Christ, and the attainment of inner peace help us to focus in our personal devotion. However, the modern emphases of praying and studying the Scripture are also important.
● What lessons can we learn from popular movements before the Reformation, including the Lollards, monasticism among women, fragellants, and the Bohm rebellion?
o Lollards: the popularity of a gospel different from the one taught by the official church
o Female monasticism: existence of sexual inequality in the society (total number restricted by monastic orders)
o Fragellants: radicalization of the mass
o Bohm rebellion: corruption of the clergy, injustice of the church siding with the powerful
o All these movements pointed to the necessity of true reformation.
● What were the methods used by scholasticism? How much contributions did they make on today’s theology?
o Method: posing a question, and then quoting authorities who supported different answers, and then showing how it was possible for all the authorities quoted to be correct
◦ encouraged rational understanding of our faith: contributing to apologetics
◦ ontological argument of the existence of God (still the best philosophical argument)
systematic theology (
◦ Summa Theologica as an encyclopedia of the reasoning of our faith
● What is your reaction to the subtle arguments of late scholasticism?
o Late scholasticism searched for subtle answers to subtle questions which are mostly irrelevant to our faith. When knowledge and sophistication become themselves objectives of theological studies, the increase in knowledge will be useless for our effort to spiritual maturity. We must avoid such a direction.
● How does Gothic architecture reflect the glories of Christianity?
o vertical lines seemingly soaring to heaven—reminding us about God
o towers and spires pointing to heaven—reminding us to worship God
o stained glass windows illuminating the building with mysterious light effects, depicting Biblical stories and saints—recounting Biblical teachings and the mystery of God
o long naves and slender columns and multicoloured windows—providing a worthy setting for the eucharistic celebration
o dignified atmosphere of the church—reflecting the mysteries of faith and creation
● What were the sins of the popes during the Renaissance? How can true Christians become so corrupted?
o Sins of popes:
◦ publicly committing cardinal sins
◦ illicit relations & illegitimate children
◦ war for the purpose of more power
◦ selling of indulgences
o The corruption was the result of their possession of despotic powers and great wealth.
did the Spanish treat the native Indians? How did the monks sent to the
o The Spanish exploited the native Indians but the monks lived among them and sympathized with them. Eventually, the priests sided with the rebels in wars for their independence.
o Like most events in history, the Spanish conquest were both good and bad. On one hand, vast number of natives were converted to Christianity, though not all of them were genuine believers. On the other hand, the Spanish destroyed the local culture and oppressed the natives by their exploitation.