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Lecture 99

HIST 3A Lecture Notes - Lecture 99: Scientific Method, Anabaptism, Hermes Trismegistus


Department
History
Course Code
HIST 3A
Professor
Amir Alexander
Lecture
99

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1. Platonic forms: The perfect, atemporal, aspatial essence of an object. The object itself is
just a crude shadow of the perfect form that one can never truly know.
a. Importance: Plato’s idea of knowledge through
2. Hylomorphism: The idea that physical objects are a combination of primordial matter, a
formless essence, and form. All things are made of matter, but form makes things distinct
from each other and is made up of substantial form, which is something that makes
something what it is and accidents, like color, weight, or texture, which don’t change the
substantial form.
a. Importance: This idea, along with other Aristotelian ideas, influenced the
medieval worldview.
3. Trivium: The three most important of the seven liberal arts: grammar, the science of the
correct use of language, logic, the science of correct thinking, and rhetoric, the science of
expression and persuasion.
a. Importance: The trivium and the seven liberal arts in general are important
because they demonstrate the hierarchy of the medieval order of knowledge and
illustrate how mathematics was viewed as less important.
4. Humanism: A system or philosophy that originated in the 14th century and that said that
focusing on improving human life and being moral citizens was more important than
knowing and categorizing abstract knowledge as in scholastic Aristotelianism. Humanism
emphasized a return to the original translations of ancient texts, classical Latin, and to the
works of Cicero.
a. Importance: This idea is significant because it represents one of the earliest
challenges to the intellectual order of the Middle Ages and demonstrates the strain
that was acting on the medieval worldview.
5. Christopher Columbus: Columbus was a 15th century Italian explorer and navigator who
“discovered” the Americas for Spain and the rest of the western European world.
Columbus’ “discovery” of the New World established Spain as a dominant world and
naval power, resulting in the accumulation of wealth for the Spanish.
a. Importance: Columbus was significant because his discovery of new continents,
peoples, animals, plants, etc. revealed ancient texts to be incorrect and not all
knowing, significantly challenging the medieval worldview.
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6. 95 Theses: The document that Martin Luther nailed to the Church in Wittenberg that
began the Reformation in the early 16th century, as they called out the Church for its
corrupt sales of indulgences. The document was the beginning of Luther’s challenge to
Church order and authority.
a. Importance: The 95 Theses were important because it began Luther’s challenge to
papal authority, to the structure of Christianity, and to the medieval hierarchy, as
it was largely religiously based. It was also important because it demonstrated
religious strain on the medieval worldview and spawned other religious
challenges.
7. Diet of Worms: An assembly of important figures within the Holy Roman Empire,
including the emperor Charles V that was called to address Martin Luther’s challenges to
the Church and to force him to recant. Luther refused and his challenge was cemented.
a. Importance: The Diet of Worms was important because it began Luther’s
challenge to papal authority, to the structure of Christianity, and to the medieval
hierarchy, as it was largely religiously based. It was also important because it
demonstrated religious strain on the medieval worldview and spawned other
religious challenges.
8. Anabaptists: A radical religious sect that believed in adult baptism and that adults who
chose to be baptized as adults were chosen and superior. Anabaptists led by Jan
Bockelson took over the city of Munster, instituted a religious rule, and killed dissenters.
a. Importance: Anabaptists were significant because they were a violent and
dramatic challenge to the established religious order and because they
demonstrated that the medieval worldview was beginning to crack and change.
9. Epicycle: An epicycle is a small circle whose center moves around the circumference of
another larger circle and was used by the Ptolemaic system to help explain the motion of
planets.
a. Importance: Epicycles were important because they contributed to the flexibility
and longevity of the Ptolemaic system and because they allowed Ptolemy and
Middle Age Christians to justify their geocentric views.
10. Retrograde Motion: Retrograde motion is the apparent backwards motion of celestial
bodies, against their normal direction of motion.
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