RLG100Y1 Lecture Notes - Christian Mysticism, Protestant Reformation, Early Christianity
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Christianity – Modernity
-theme of two streams of religion, mysticism and philosophy... they really get developed in the
middle ages... monastics kind of did both (monks), middle ages in Europe, monks were the ones
who could read and write... functions of monastery’s in medieval Europe was to preserve
learning (massive libraries)...
-in Christianity, mysticism opened the door for women... many female Christian mystics as
women were not considered capable of being rationale so they weren’t allowed into the
philosophy side of religion...
-movement of Christian philosophers, 12-13th century, two very popular ones... read in the
text... movement called scholasticism... (school, related to study = scholastic)... monks were
often scholastic... Thomas Aquinas was a monk...
-4th century (300 ce) was pivotal for Christianity, thats when it went from being outlawed to
being tolerated... a few emperors later, it became the state religion for the roman empire (within
-7 sacraments what are they?
-confirmation means confirming your bastismal vows...occurs later in life
-confession occurs throughout your life
-cant take communion in catholic and eastern orthodox traditions without confessing to a priest
-marriage happens once, ordination happens once....
-only bishop can ordain new priests...
Western Modernity- generally thought to start around 15th-16th century with the Renaissance
-changes economically, time when Columbus and others like him sailing off and discovering
new worlds... getting rich as merchants, colonization, expansion and increase in power of
European empires...face of the world is changing...
Christianity – Reformation
Protestant Reformation – started by Martin luther, all you needed to do to be a monk or nun is to
give up your life and join the order... (1438-1546)...in roman tradition, only one church in the
west... he lived in a time where this kind of perceived corruption was all around (heretics)... he
thought church lost its way, tenor of protestant reformation, not we need to do something new
and different, we need to go back to early Christianity (too much excess and indulgence)... this is
the father of the protestant reformation, plenty of others but he was the main dude)...protestant =
protest, someone who is protesting... reformation = want to do something about it, reform,
Luther: reacted against sale of indulgences – in 1517 nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in
-emphasized justification by faith alone (sola fides) and priesthood of all believers
Put on trial in 1521 at diet of worms...
-luther saw the catholic church’s asking of donations as blasphemous... against it...pergatory =
purging yourself to prepare for heaven... get out of pergatory = donation... catholic church reason
for this is because this is raising funds for st peters fascilica (church in Rome)... from lathers
perspective, believers are buying their way out of pergatory... fundamental splitting point
between protestants and catholics.... luthers reaction is to nail a document to door of local
cathedral....this event, on this date... is referred to as beginning of reformation, 1517....
-luther was a mystic not a philosopher... for him it was far more important to believe with your
heart rather than understand with the head... he had a mystical experience, when he’s pondering
the state of christanity, sitting down with bible, happens to be reading letters in ‘paul’, happens
to read the part where paul says ‘people are not justified by what they do but their faith, that is
what invites god’s grace’... realizes thats what the church has forgotten, the lessons of paul...
what you do does not amount to anything without faith, he felt that the church was all action and
no faith... e.g. donations
-most important theological doctrine for protestant reformation... justification by faith alone (sola
fides) and priesthood of all believers... get away from the church and back to the documents and
doctrine... basic problem, not enough protestants were literate in Latin, so no priests to translate
the church... where were the bibles? In churches... big problem...
-priesthood of all believers... don’t need an intermediary between you and god... every single
individual believer is a priest, there are no priests or monks... thus questioning entire purpose of
church authority and rejecting it... this is why protestants were perceived as major threat to the
church theologically, politically, and economically...
-luther was called to defend his views... technically an empire called holy roman empire, not
roman at all, based mostly in germany (current germany/Poland/Austria), this was kind of its
own empire, this was considered the secular arm of the church, an actual government/military
that was under the spiritual control of the church... number of german princes not technically part
of the empire, wanted their own authority, did not want to be under the pope...
-luther called to defend himself in imperial court, technically church is not allowed to get
involved in secular matters, technically they cannot arrest, execute, or jail people... made a
mockery of this during inquisition, for the sake of appearance he was called to the imperial
court... all the pope’s reps were there... diet of worms (deyet is council, worms is city it occurred
in).... luther was considered a heretic, so he wasn’t going to show up... so the imperial
government has to promise him that he will not be killed.. he refuses to recant anything, sticks to
his position... on the way home from event, he stages his own kidnapping, slips into hiding for a
year under protexction of local prince who supports luther b/c for political reasons he does not
wantto be under the authority of the pope... if you challenge pope theologically you challenge
him politically, luther then translates the bible from latin to german so locals can understand it...
-writes shit about the pope, insults him, calls him the anti-christ... pope excommunicates him,
brands him as a heretic...
-importance of printing press (1439), printing press... first thing printed on Gutenberg press, the
bible... most commonly printed book in world is the bible... now you have the makings of a
peoples revolution... more and more people started being literate... this is why the theological and
political challenges were possible... political leaders start swaying their allegiance to get away
from dominance of pope, and theological impulse to change... split right down the middle of
catholic church... vast majority numerically living in Europe remained catholic... Protestantism
was always a minority but it was a significant break... only real split of consequence that had
occurred since split between eastern orthodox and roman catholic church... protestant
reformation is a catch all term that refers to many individual groups that share rejection of pope,
overarching authority, priesthood of all believers... what you have then is a whole slew of
different groups called protestant but not one giant protestant religion thats all unified... no one
protestant church as there is catholic church... to be called a protestant basically means going
against eastern orthodox and roman catholic church...
John calvin simple, humble hard work key to being pious, doctrine of the Elect
-contributed quite a bit to the spread of ideas of the reformation... message of john calvin
resonated with a lot of people, he was not a priest or monk, he was a laywer... a working joe... he
articulated the reform message for people who were working by saying work itself is how you
can be religious... this worked quite well for those who don’t have the hours upon hours to spend
in bible study... simple humble hard work is how you show your piety... calvin very explicitly
said it is not through your work that you gain gods favour, it is through your work that you
demonstrate your faith which ultimately leads to gods favour... still the faith part thats important,
you live your faith out in how you work.. not the fruits of your work that is important, its the
style or attitude that matters in terms of your work as a manifestation of your faith... you have a
calling, something you were meant to do (what you were ‘called’ to do, specifically protestant
idea, called by god)... called to the priesthood is the historical meaning, but calvin says whatever
god has intended for you in your work/life whether its carpenter/lawyer/doctor... real paranoia of
resting b/c if you rest/idle, spend too much time enjoying the fruits of your labour then you are
susceptible to temptations by the devil.. not a strong believer in fun
-doctrine of the elect, god knows already who is going to be saved and who is going to be
banned... logical conclusion is if its already been decided whats the point in doing anything...
well calvin said if you don’t know , so just work and work and work than you are showing the
signs of gods favour... Calvinism was the origins of Americans...
Church of England (Anglicanism) King Henry VIII of England...
-know themainreasons for protestant reform and know some examples of protestant
denominations: lutherism and Calvinism...
Puritans – Calvinists from England who fled to America (pilgrims)...
Evangelical Christianity: emotional, charismatic, missionizing
Characterstic of much American Protestantism... simply a style of Christianity not a whole new
sect or whatever...
Fundamentalism not a term that originates with islam... from the Fundamentals, published
between 1910- 1915... based on literal reading of the bible
-in opposition to secularization, biblical criticism, theory of evolution.... wealthy lay protestants
so concerned with liberalization, industrialization, secularization of the world that they decided
to publish these essay saying we need to stick to the fundamentals of our religion... e.g. rejecting
theory of evolution, rejecting science...
Catholic response to Reformation – read in text... counter reformation, council of trent (1545)
-later, first Vatican council (1869)... schools for priests to go to, seminaries, learn the important
texts, get rid of the corruption in priesthood... before as a priest you could just memorize the latin
without even knowing what it means, this centralization was to get rid of corruption and abuse of
Vatican II (1962-1965) – updating catholic doctrine
-services in languages other than latin
-more acceptance of other faiths (ecumenism).... first Vatican council very conservative
-dialogue with modern secular institutions, science...
-stuff at end of text about missionizing and denominations you don’t need to know