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MacCulloch, D., History of Christianity

By: Benjamin Knoll

Also See the Video Series by MacCulloch -

DIARMAID MACCULLOCH – HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY, supplemented with Wikipedia entries to help contextualize some of the topics. Chapters are organized by topic and are not in chronological order.


• At its core, Christianity is a "personality cult" - a person Jesus is "the Christ", as aspect of God who is also a real person in history.

• It's a young religion compared to other world religions. Influenced heavily by Greek and Jewish worldviews.

• It's survived because it's mutated, just like all religions that survive.

• Major "crisis of confidence" was after about 100 years or so and Jesus hadn't returned. It had to become something else to survive.


• The world of Greece and Rome was the larger context into which Judaism was influenced and Christianity was born. What are the influences of Greek and Roman worldviews on what became Christianity?

• "LOGOS" - the act of speech/thought of speach/ultimate meaning

• "CHRISTOS" - Greek translation of Messiah "Annointed One"

• Greeks were "people of a book" - Iliad and Odessey – which shaped their identity

• Greek religion was focused around temples

• Greek literature developed the idea of "allegory" - of stories that had metaphorical meanings.

• Greek word "ekklesia" meant the council of citizens of the polis that came together for collective governance. It's the word that was adopted for "church."

○ Ekklesia :: polis :: Greekdom / Church :: local Christian community :: Christianity

• Greeks were one of the first to experiment with democracy and shared political governance. This is a big responsibility – maybe why they were unusually religious compared to other contemporary societies – looking for meaning in the cosmos.

• They developed theater and made "drama" a force in society (something that Jesus referred to extensively)

• Plato/Socrates influence on Christianity:

○ The assumption that Christian thought should be defensible using Socratic logic.

○ The impulse to "look beyond the immediate and everyday to the universal or ultimate" (theory of Forms)

○ The assumption that God's nature is "oneness and goodness" as opposed to human personality traits.

• Aristotle influence on Christianity:

○ Laid out the logic of how ideas should be organized in the empirical sciences (something western religions felt obligated to try to do)

○ When Christians tried to apply their religion to the natural world, they used the language of Aristotle

• Conquest of Alexander the Great set the political and intellectual context of the world into which the Hebrew people became subservient to the Roman Empire.

○ "Soter" (savior) was a title of Egyptian kings before the Romans took over.

○ Created a mix of Greek and oriental culture, thought, and knowledge that provided the context into which Christianity came.

• Rome and the Roman Empire

○ The idea of "republic" as a political entity became popularized (people participate through intermediaries) -- later Christian communities styled themselves "republics"

○ Roman idea of "citizenship" - universal set of privileges and responsibilities regardless of ethnicity/religion in the Roman republic – perhaps influenced Paul with the idea of universal salvation that reaches beyond Hebrews.

○ Roman infrastructure of travel and commerce provided the context in which Christianity could later spread.

○ Roman emperors sometimes claimed divine status as gods, legitimizing their rule


• The Hebrews came about as a people around 1300-1200 BCE. They were in a very harsh and difficult place to live (Levant around Jerusalem) -- no one else wanted to live there and they were the outcasts from various civilizations who eventually grew to consider themselves a common people with a common religion.

○ The various stories, myths, and tales of the various peoples combined and mixed together to become the basis of the stories recorded in the Tanakh

• Hebrew identity was "this is our land, we had to fight for it, we lost it, and it's ours again, but we have to keep fighting for it."

• In contrast to the Plato idea of the impersonal, "oneness and goodness" God, the "Habiru" god Yahweh was personal, jealous, fiery, and loving all at the same time.

• By 1200 or so, a military commander and judge named "Saul" had come to be seen as the equivalent of a king. Was overthrown by a young upstart "David."

○ David was the "founding father" hero of these people. It was so important that later Christians linked Jesus to David.

○ Solomon built the temple that was core the Hebrew identity

• After Solomon, the kingdom split into northern (elite, cosmopolitan, wealthy) Israel and (lower class, parochial, farmers) Judah. They were at a crossroads between various world powers (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, etc.) and so were always in the middle of conflicts.

○ A common feature was prophets and prophecy – people who would speak about the ruling class in the two kingdoms and how they're not being faithful to Yahweh and Yahweh's vision. They were societal critics.

• 640 BCE King Josiah – a major reform program, "rediscovering" the text of Moses and solidifying the community's identity as a people of covenant that dates back to Israel – this rewrote/reinterpreted all of Jewish history within that idea of covenant and then interpreted their various wins and losses as a response to their degree of faithfulness to that covenant.

• 586 – Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and carried many from the kingdoms off into exile. It was during their time in exile that more stories developed to preserve the identity. They returned and reconsecrated the temple in 516 BC "Second Temple" period

• They internalized the idea that they were led off into exile because of disobedience. Not going to happen again!

• Theology of "Hassatan" developed at the margins in stories at this point (maybe it was him! The adversary was the reason we were carried off!) Job could be interpreted as their musings on why God would let the exile happen to God's people.

• Around 200-100 BC, the word "Ioudaios" came into use to describe the religion and people of the Jerusalem temple (Judaism). Synagogues also became an institution at this time.

• In this context, there was huge pressure for the Jewish people to "Hellenize" their religion and culture to gain respectability in the mainstream Greek society. Ideas of God started taking on more Platonic ideas.

• Also began to emphasize "allegory" in their sacred texts, looking for the deeper layers of truth and deemphasizing literalism.

• Hebrew theology hadn't ever paid that much thought to an afterlife, but Plato's did, and so this was adopted into Jewish theology, the idea of having a soul.

• By the time of Jesus there were: Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and Zealots (they tolerated each other but didn't see each other as legitimate expressions of their identity)

○ Sadducees: elite keepers of the temple who were skeptical about all the hellenized afterlife theology and wanted to maintain the status quo with the Roman empire

○ Pharisees: they were the hyper-scrupulous group that saw Israel's past through the lens of obedience (Jesus and Paul were more from this part of Judaism)

○ Essenes: set up utopia communities out in the margins, monastic types

○ Zealots: use military force to drive the Romans out and make Israel a free nation


  • We get most of our information from the Gospels (evaggelion in Greek, evangelium in Latin, meaning "good news" -- "godspell" in Old English)

  • An overview of historical research – includes birth narratives, synoptic gospels, Jesus seminar research, Marcus Borg-type interpretations – preaching "the kingdom"

  • Jesus was killed by the Roman empire, but early Christians didn't want to offend the Romans too much so in their narratives they shifted blames to the Jewish leaders. (Romans didn't want a rabble-rouser to stir up trouble – that was their motive.)

  • The Resurrection and Ascension are not historically verifiable. But people experienced him and reported it. That's clear from the historical record.

  • After Jesus's death, there were two church centers: one in Jerusalem with James as the leader and then the itinerant one with Paul as the leader. They fought furiously about the original interpretation and meaning of Christianity.

  • Paul's initial theology had a good deal of influence on early Christian movement. He reinterpreted Jesus within his paradigm: Jesus is the one who "righteouses" people (justifies), not the Law. But the righteousing is still necessary.

  • Paul was charismatic and was the one who popularized the speaking of the Spirit in addition the Father and Son.

  • Paul focused more on Jesus's death and resurrection than on his life and teachings.

  • Gospel of John / Revelation – after 50 years or so Jesus was seen more as a god figure. Adopted Roman language "king," "son of God," etc.

  • Rebels took control of Jerusalem in 66 CE, the temple was burned, the Romans came back in and just leveled Jerusalem. Jewish Christ-people moved north of Jordan.

  • The Pharisee Jewish leaders then shaped the future of Judaism.

  • Early Christians were a different group of Jews until around 100 CE where there was a clearer break. By then they were worshipping on Sunday, celebrating the Eucharist, and there were "bishops" in authoritative positions.

  • Peter and Paul both died in Rome (by strong tradition) -- was the basis of the papacy.


  • We have to reconstruct early Christianity through their documents, but very few survive. So we've lost most of what was happening.

  • Paul had a lot of influence on direction of early Christianity: he was a proponent of being supported by the people, shifted Christian growth to urban centers and became middle class respectable, and was going to make peace with the world.

  • Why upset the apple cart when the end was coming any time? Paul didn't think it worth spending much energy on.

  • Slaves: early Christianity didn't really challenge this.

  • Women: very early Christianity had an expanded role for women, but then moved to more traditional societal roles and standards.

  • Paul was focused on being respectable and mainstreaming in society.

  • How were early Christians different than their neighbors? 1) they were much more prudish about sex than their Roman neighbors (abortion and divorce, especially), 2) a strong norm of supporting each other (it was likely more an ideal than a reality, the "sell all they had" probably didn't happen)


  • Gnosticism was a blend of early Christianity in conversation with Judaism that was a "middle way" type of theology.

  • Lots of dualism, Greek idea of world of forms and ideal reality, skepticism of Hebrew creation myths, there had to be a "first mover" that was purer than Jesus (because Jesus was a flawed human), Jesus's suffering was therefore play-acting, they opposed the romanticization of martyrdom and the growing hierarchy.

  • WHY IMPORTANT? Because it made Christians reconsider their strong separation from Judaism. They kept their Jewish scriptures and reinterpreted in light of the Christ beliefs.


  • Marcion was much more legalistic than loving in his theology. Scriptural literalist. Gained some adherents.

  • Gnosticism was a relaxed, liberal version of early Christianity, and Marcionism was a strict and legalistic version – early Christianity likely survived because it was a middle-way between these two versions.

  • "katholikose" = general, whole, universal – an early thrust of Christian theology was the NEED to have a uniform structure wherever it was.

  • The early canon was beginning to develop – letters circulating among early Christian communities. But was not finalized for 300 years.

  • Creeds became more aggressive as Christianity grew and diversified – needed to maintain some unity.

  • Early ecclesiastical hierarchy (bishop, priest, deacon) was in place by 200 CE.

  • The Jerusalem church had the early apostles but also a group of elders "presbyteroi" (later became "priests). Also some assistants (deacons). A similar structure had developed in Antioch in Syria.

  • These three-tiered hierarchies were adopted most likely from Jewish Temple's organization system.

  • The early structure emerged: itinerant apostles and prophets, local bishops, priests, and deacons. This created tensions, and eventually the local leadership model won out.

  • BISHOPS were beginning to be popular by 100 CE or so. The idea was that someone needed to keep teaching and identity centralized and uniform. This was easier and more efficient for community functioning, and so the charismatic apostles and prophets faded from importance.

  • A shrine for Peter was built in the 160s and Rome grew in influence among the various Christian episcopacies (even though they were technically all equal). The first "bishops of Rome" emerged in the mid 100s and they backwards traced a fictional line of bishops to Peter to establish authority.

  • By the 200s, the episcopacy of ROME was gaining in influence among the early Christian church.


  • Montanus was a charismatic prophet type who started a movement called "the New Prophecy." He claimed new revelations and visions in Asia Minor during the 100s.

  • They also had a number of female prophetesses who "spoke in states of ecstasy." They were awaiting the New Jerusalem and the Last Days.

  • Existing Christian leadership tried their best to limit his influence (it was a threat to their power!)

  • The Montanists were popular for about 400 years.

  • They're important because they represent a charismatic, prophetic challenge to the institutionalized Christian order and identity that was developing.

  • JUSTIN: He was an educated person with lots of training in Greek philosophy. Important because he did some of the first apologies – trying to explain Christianity in ways that would be acceptable to a Greek audience. (God the Father = Plato's supreme being; Jesus = Logos)

  • IRENAEUS: He was a bishop who reinforced the authority of bishops and stressed the importance of the centrality of the Eucharist; also popularized the idea of "heresy"

  • TERTULLIAN: First to write and communicate in Latin. He was a strong defender of early Christianity against Montanists, Marcionists, infant baptism-ists, etc. He also was one of the first to explain the relationship between the Father, Son, and Spirit: "trinitas"

  • Adoptionist monarchism: God adopted Jesus as his Son; he was a man but God's power rested on him.

  • Modalist monarchism: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different modes of the same thing (God)

  • CLEMENT: Knowledge was a tool to a higher form of Christian life, positive view of creation and early life, path to perfection continues well after early death, moral progress was central to his thinking, but also sex was for children only.

  • ORIGEN: created commentaries on the Bible and early Christian writings, was a non-literalist and said we should interpret the scriptures allegorically, was an early systematic theologian, had a theory about early spirits who abused their free well and fell from heaven, the universal fall means universal salvation (eventually) as well,

  • His view might have prevailed, but then what urgency is there to do evangelism and convert? Salvation > knowledge for the early church.


  • The Romans at first really didn't care about early Christians, so long as they paid their taxes and made external devotions to the cult of the emperor. PROBLEM: early Christians were not pluralistic, but strongly arguing for a religious monopoly.

  • BUT Christians often refused military service, rejected devotions to the cult of the emperor. So the Romans got suspicious.

  • ALSO, they tended to annoy their neighbors because they were overly secretive and separatist from the wider culture.

  • They also were secretive about their worship services: baptism and Eucharist were for members only.

  • But they were attractive because of the meaning that they gave to their community and for looking after each other. They were also fairly egalitarian in terms of social hierarchy.

  • By the late 100s, intelligent non-Christians were beginning to see Christians as a complete alternative to the Roman establishment, and that was not going to be taken lightly.

  • In the 200s, there was instability in the Roman government which created a lot of societal anxiety and heightened the appeal of Christianity (that gave structure and meaning).

  • A number of charismatic leaders emerged in the Christian movement during the 200s: Plotinus (merged Christian theology with Platonism), Mani (Manichaean cult, good vs. Evil)

  • In 250 CE, Trajan Decius had become emperor and declared a moral renewal to the Roman gods to try to revive Roman society and politics. He viewed Christians as a threat and a cause of the downfall of Rome. Led to imprisonment of many Christians and some executions.

  • Also a split at this time between Northern Africa and European churches over whether authority was needed for baptism (Rome said yes, North Africa said no, so long as it's done in the right way). Rome beginning to assert exclusive authority.

  • In the 290s, Emperor Diocletian began another round of moral renewal, included a full-scale attack on Christians in 303.

  • In early 300s, the church had several different centers, all of which were teaching some different things (the church was NEVER uniform at any point in its history!)

  • Syrian church was a pioneer in creating liturgy, music, and chant. Beginning on Eastern liturgical focus which continues to this day.

  • Syrian church also developed early Liturgy of Addai and Mari – one of the oldest known liturgie.


  • Chi Rho - the XP symbol - it's from the first two letters of "christos"

  • Between 300-450 AD, Christianity went from being a persecuted minority to the state religion of the Roman Empire. How did that happen?

  • CONSTANTINE - 312 AD was the Roman Emperor - had a military victory at Milvian Bridge. He had a vision of a flaming cross and the inscription "CONQUER BY THIS." He associated the Christian god with his military victories, was converted, and made Christianity the state religion. Christianity now had an official sponsor and legitimate state status.

  • He made his capitol Byzantion and named it Constantinople.

  • He promoted religious liberty for all, but Christianity more equal than others.

  • Jerusalem became a pilgrimage site for Christians - it had become "backwater" after the Romans razed it in 66 CE. Christians started to visit to see the sites of Jesus's life.

  • Christianity was now becoming the religion of the powerful and elite. It was in a "cosy alliance with high society."

  • In the 100s, Christianity sought to explain itself in the dominant paradigm of the time (Greek classic thought)

  • Now it was continuing on unabated: Christianity was expressing itself and adapting to the dominant political and ideological contexts it found itself in (just as it had always done).

  • An informal east-west split was already beginning at this time.


  • WEST: Emperor Diocletian had adopted the term "diocese" for the subdivisions of his area -- this began to be used to describe Christian communities. Also the word "sedes" (chair in Latin) became "see". "Cathedra" (chair in Latin) became the word for the church where the bishop sits. "Basilica" was a large hall of a secular ruler where court was held - adopted into Christian buildings.

  • EAST: "Diocese" began to be used for wider regions of bishops.

  • LESSON: Christianity began to borrow structure, form, and labels from "the secular world of administration" suggesting further adoption of the wider social and political contexts.

  • Liturgy and worship: STILL VERY DIFFICULT to get a sense of what early rituals and liturgies were like before Constantine. It was during the 300s with the rise of architecture and legitimization that we have much clearer records.

  • Clerical vestments were adopted from those found in imperial and royal households.

  • Seeing the beginning of Lent and Advent


  • One source of power and authority: bishops and priests. But an alternative source of power and authority begin to emerge: MONASTICISM: charismatic mysticism.

  • The closer Christianity got to mainstream society, the more the impulse to do something counter-cultural and separate out from society.

  • Buddhism and Christianity both developed this institution more than other world religions.

  • After there were no more martyrs (because the faith was the official religion now), monastics could do the costly signaling of asceticism to be examples for others.

  • Early patrician fathers and monks promulgated doctrinal innovations that were more mystical and ecstatic.

  • They had an uncomfortable relationship with the wider church: they wanted to be mainstream but also weren't as deferential to the regular patterns of authority.


  • DONATISM: Egyptian hardliners did not want forgiveness to be given out so quickly and North African bishops were concerned with who had the authority to forgive. When a pro-Rome bishop was elected in Carthage, the opposition elected a rival bishop DONATUS and it made a Donatist schism for a few centuries.

  • Constantine faced a dilemma: people looked to the church authorities as well as his own. So he started settling church disputes by calling councils of bishops.

  • This set a precedent: he allowed that bishops had authority separate from the Emperor. They never gave that authority back.

  • Arian controversy over nature of the Trinity -- Arian taught that God created Jesus, and those who disagreed said no, they're coeternal and the Son wasn't created (see more below).

  • Council of NICE settled the matter against Arianism - Constantine decreed that the Father and Son are the same substance, and that's what the council decided.

  • Why freak out over this? Ordinary Christians experienced God through the liturgy in holy places with particular stories. Upset those stories and it threatens their access to God, in their understanding.

  • These councils strongly narrowed the boundaries of orthodox belief and doctrine in the early church. By the 380s, Christianity had gone from being a "first among equals" religion to an "enforced at the point of a sword" religion in the Roman Empire and supported by the bishops.


  • A new controversy now emerged: how to understand Jesus' divinity.

  • ALEXANDRIAN perspective: stressed the distinctiveness of the three -- didn't want to get much more into it - Jesus and God are like wine and water mixed together - you can't separate them out once they're mixed.

  • ANTIOCHANE perspective: stressed the oneness of the Godhead - Jesus is fully human and fully divine - Jesus and God are like oil and water - they coexist together in the cup but don't mix together.

  • 428 CE - Nestorius was chosen bishop of Constantinople and started strongly promoting the Antiochane view (oil and water) He was an 'energetic and tactless' priest. His strong promotion of the Antiochane view threatened to tear the eastern church apart for all that it was arguing over it.

  • So 451 - Emperor Marcian calls together a council at CHALCEDON to try to find a middle view to stop the fighting. The proposed explanation was "perfect in divinity and humanity, same truly God and truly man, consubstantial with the Father in divinity, and consubstantial with us in humanity." - this is still the orthodox view in many traditions today. (Just as important as NICE in terms of setting orthodoxy for the future.)

  • Response 1: NESTORIANS that thought that this didn't do enough to preserve the "fully human/fully divine" theology.

  • Response 2: MONOPHYSITES/MIAPHYSITES - the ones who fought the Nestorians

  • LESSON: it's wrong to think that Chalcedon solved everything - they continued to fight about this for years. And much of the disagreement was political over the bishops who supported each of these.


  • Basically, several Christians hated the Chalcedonian compromise and chose to fight or ignore it.


  • MIAPHYSITES were strong in the eastern church and between 482-519, Rome and Constantinople were in formal schism.

  • The Miaphysites and their bishops began building up a strong regional version of the church and its teachings and culture.

  • Syrian, Armenian churches grew from this


  • Miaphysites had another success - in Ethiopia

  • King Ezana renounced traditional gods and converted his kingdom to Christianity

  • CHURCH OF THE EAST (451-622)

  • In the Middle East, the church continued to be influenced both by Greek philosophy and Asian culture/philosophy.

  • By the 500s, it had split entirely from the Byzantine church, had its own non-Chalcedonian theology, and claimed its own bishop structure.

  • Monasticism thrived in this church.

  • This church also sent out missionaries eastward to Asia and India - established communities there.

  • The Miaphysites theology (oil and water - fully human and fully divine) kept the theology of the eastern church optimistic compared to that of the west - if Jesus had a whole human nature, then it was good, so human nature was good even if corrupted somewhat.


  • By the 300s-400s, the Church in Rome was calling itself the "Catholic" church, but more appropriately would be "the Western Church of the Latin Rite."

  • The church began expressing itself largely through architecture in the establishment church of the Roman empire. Many basilicas and ornate churches were built.

  • Continued emphases on Peter > Paul in the Roman church, as expressed through architecture.

  • JEROME: secretary to Pope Damasus who created the first extensive Latin translation of the Bible (the "vulgate" - the "popular version")

  • Christianity became more and more a religion "fit for the Roman aristocracy" - we want to give to the poor but not actually spend that much time with them. Something that could be respectable in high society.

  • One way to do this: reinterpret Virgil and other classical poets through a Christian lens.

  • As the Roman Empire was weakening, it became more popular in the 350s+ for popular political leaders to become church leaders.

  • 373/4 - popular military leader AMBROSE is made a bishop. He was a popular bishop who influenced orthodox theology and set courses for the future of Christianity.

  • AUGUSTINE - one of the most influential theologians in Christianity.

  • Northern Africa - born in the 350s. Father was a pagan, mother was a devout Christian.

  • Went on to college and the academic life, but was constantly preoccupied with anxieties about reality, good vs. evil, etc. He's also seeing a world that is collapsing around him: Rome is crumbling. Had a near nervous breakdown near 386 CE. Has a born again experience and becomes a devout Christian.

  • Became bishop in Hippo in Northern Africa in the 390s.

  • City of God vs. City of Heaven - why was Rome falling? Traditionalists said that it's because of Rome's flirtation with Christianity. Augustine said it was because they weren't sufficiently Christian/righteous.

  • Developed a theology of pervasive evil and depravity, also "original sin."

  • God's grace is predetermined and some get it and some don't.

  • He also linked evil and depravity to sexual behavior. Adam and Eve's fall was a sexual sin.

  • You should like your wife… but not too much.

  • He also developed a theology of the sins - God is a monarch with a stern gaze (just like earthly kings), and just as earthly kings had courtiers to intercede on your behalf, so do the saints do likewise with God in the heavenly court.

  • PELAGIUS and PELAGIAN controversy: he was a British monk who didn't like Augustine's theology and pushed back hard. If the world is depraved and all are evil, then it's an excuse to not even try. He rejected Augustine's "original sin." We all have free will and sin of our choice, not because of our depraved nature.

  • Also made some developments to Trinitarianism -- equated "three persons in the same substance" with our minds - our memory, reason, and will are different things but all from our minds -- similar with God. So he got the creed changed to how the Spirit proceeds from the father AND son instead of just the father.

  • Development of monasticism even more: the RULE OF BENEDICT became a thing -- hermitage life with a rule of obedience, but soft around the edges.


  • AKA: "Early Medieval" period

  • The Roman Empire had fallen, replaced with a series of "barbarian" kingdoms - Arian Goths mostly.

  • What is now France, Spain, northern Italy were these Gothic/Celtic tribes - those who were ruled by Christian kings were ARIANS and had not adopted the NICEA Trinitarianism.

  • The CHURCH was one of the few major remnants from the Roman Empire - it preserved the Latin language, still used the Roman bureaucracy model, still kept the "tidy-mindedness" of Roman governance.

  • THEODERIC - Arian Ostrogoth military leader who became powerful - allowed the Catholic Church to flourish even though he was an Arian. Supervised the translation of some of the classics (Plato, Aristotle) into Latin.

  • MOST 'barbarian' leaders who adopted Christianity were ARIANS - non-Trinitarians - and that was important politically because the ROMAN CATHOLIC was pushing the Nicene Trinitarian doctrine.

  • Ostrogoths were in what is now ITALY.

  • POPE GALSIUS - 490s - important because he strengthened the idea of dual authorities - Pope and Emperor - Pope supports the Emperor in temporal affairs if the Emperor stays out of religious affairs. This principle took hold in the Western Church but not the east.

  • CLOVIS - became king of the Franks in 481 - a Germanic group that eventually became France. The Roman Church now had a powerful defender in the Western edge of Europe.

  • Important because most of the 'barbarian' monarchs followed Clovis's lead and chose Catholic Christianity instead of Arian Christianity… HUGE implications for the type of Christianity that Europe came to have.

  • This was a turning point for the shift from Arianism in the European west to the Catholic Trinitarianism Christianity.

  • POPE GREGORY I - 590s - he thought the End Times were near and he sent out missionaries and aggressively worked to get people to live holy lives in preparation for the end times.


  • Gregory sent missionaries up to the BRITANNIA - at this time was mostly Angles, Saxons, Jutes - further evidence of Roman Church's shift north and west instead of east.

  • There had been Christians in England/Ireland since the 100s/200s, but conversion was sporadic and it was one of many different religions.

  • PATRICK from England went to Ireland to act as a bishop. Details are cloudy, but was responsible for much of the spread of Christianity in Ireland. No central authority in Ireland, and so he and his successors found much more success in promoting monasteries and nunneries.

  • Celtic monastic life was popular and intense. Their spirituality came to have similarities of the positive optimism from Origen and the east - not the Augustinian depravity.

  • Irish clergy came up with this practice: we make lots of small mistakes, so let's work on them all individually. Evolved into frequent confession to priests who then told you a small penance to do to work it out for forgiveness. Eventually made its way into the whole Western Church - confession to priests.

  • AUGUSTINE (a different Augustine) - a monk that Pope Gregory sent up to England. Founded a religious center in Canterbury next to the Roman city who then bought some property at LAMBETH.


  • "Augustine's missionary party tried to turn Canterbury into Rome and Kent into Italy." - he set up shop at CANTERBURY.

  • Pope Gregory sent Augustine a "pallium" - a special vestment that they forgot to get rid of during the Reformation. Archbishops of Canterbury still wear them, even though historically it shows obedience to Rome.

  • By 700 Christianity had a strong monopoly on the British kingdoms. A single monarchy had emerged by 900 in no small part due to all the kings converting to the Roman religion - it helped unify them all (?)

  • Nature of these conversions: it was rarely a "born again" type individual conversion like we're used to thinking about these days. Instead, a king or leader was converted and the people "followed" because they were used to being ruled. They submitted to the new religion rather than feeling the "conversion" power.

  • Throughout all this time, the Roman Empire was the nostalgic glory days. Being Roman Christian was the closest thing to preserving the Roman Empire nostalgia.

  • CHARLEMAGNE and the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE (800-1000s)

  • In France, the Merovingian monarchy came to a close in the 750s - replaced by an upstart nobleman named Pippin.

  • The French bishops installed "King Pippin III" with ceremony. As early as 760s, chroniclers were saying that the Pope had ordered this to happen. When King Pippin captured lands in Italy back from the Byzantines, he gave the lands to the POPE not the Emperor - created the Papal States of central Italy.

  • Pippin's son CHARLES came to power - 760s through 810s - 50 years. Became CAROLUS MAGNUS, Charlemagne. He conquered much of Europe - on Christmas Day 800, was crowned HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR by Pope Leo III.

  • This is a big deal because western Europe had not been united politically since the fall of the western Roman Empire three centuries before. Charlemagne united them (most of what's France, Germany, and northern Italy) and kings after took Charlemagne as their predecessor. He orthodox Christianized these areas, too.

  • Charlemagne modeled himself after Roman emperors, down to the coinage and look. They also created a "DONATION OF CONSTANTINE" which was a forged document saying that Constantine said that the Pope could have the Holy Roman Empire.

  • He also promoted the use of the "Filioque" -- that the Spirit proceeds from the Father AND Son (Augustinian).

  • This kingdom lasted for a thousand years in Europe in one form or another.

  • From 800 onward, both the Empire and Papacy looked to the past to legitimize rule in the future.

  • Charlemagne's son LOUIS mandated that all monasteries use the BENEDICTINE rule.

  • During this time the CELTIC-inspired practice of confession to priests and doing a penance became popularized throughout the Roman church.

  • BUT there was the idea, too, that monasteries could pray or do penance on behalf of the sins of the people. (God didn't much care WHO did the penance, so long as it was done) - they were group not individual in this pre-modern society.

  • This also changed the EUCHARIST. Up until this time it was a sung ritual with high ceremony. But with the need to do lots of these holy rituals to make up for the myriad of sins of society, so a 'LOW MASS' became popularized, where it was spoken not chanted, and performed quickly.

  • REQUIEMS - masses for the dead - also became popularized.

  • Sending your kids off to monasteries or convents was a noble thing to do - they had a life of learning, power, and influence, and scored you "righteousness" points. These became a highly visible institution in the 800s - they were sanctuaries of order, safety, and predictability in an unpredictable world.

  • Charlemagne died in 814 and his kingdom split into three Frankish kingdoms.

  • Through the 900s, the reputation and power of Popes declined and the political Emperors rose. This allowed difficulties between the east and west church to fester, of which the disagreement over the Filioque was a symptom, not a cause.


  • Muhammad comes in the late 500s. He begins to receive revelations in 610 CE.

  • Muhammad and the Qur'an are in constant dialogue with Christianity and Judaism. Said that Islam is a restoration of an original truth that earlier religions had obscured.

  • Islam has an expansive theological acceptance for other Abrahamic faiths "people of the book"

  • In the 630s, the new Islamic religion and armies conquered several Christian cities and . Conquered Jerusalem in 638 CE.

  • In 733 - Christian armies won in France and Constantinople, preserving Europe for Christianity… but an Islamic army beat a Chinese army in 751 which led to Islamic dominance and the eventual fall of the Church of the East.

  • Goes into some detail about how Islam eventually overtakes Christianity in northern Africa and Christianity's forays into east Asia led to interesting dialogues with Buddhism.

  • If Islam had never come, there's a good chance Christianity would have had its headquarters in Iraq rather than in Rome, Italy. Islam is what pushed it back and kept it out of that part of the world.



The Byzantine Empire was in control of most of the area in pink from around 400 AD - 1350s when they were conquered by the OTTOMAN TURKS. Before then, they considered themselves their heir of the Roman Empire and called themselves as such - the word "Byzantine" empire wasn't used until they were gone to describe what was gone.

The religion was mostly eastern Christianity. The Byzantine Empire is the political structure that allowed the Eastern Church to flourish and survive.

1204 - Constantinople was sacked by Roman Catholic crusaders -- led to a fragmentation of the empire. The Ottomans successively won territory little by little until they took Constantinople in 1453.


CHAPTER 13 - 451-900

  • The Eastern church values tradition in liturgy, music, etc.

  • They were also a political unit who punished heresy, but they didn't tend to go as far as massive burnings at the stake like the Western church.

  • HAGIA SOPHIA is the major church in Constantinople that was the religious capital for a thousand years. It inspired architecture and religious structures for a millennium.

  • EMPERER JUSTINIAN was one of the first to consolidate the Empire, give it structure and borders, etc. The codification of laws structured politics from that point forward, including the development of the Church.

  • Also rebuilt the Hagia Sophia.


  • Very symbolic - domes represent the canopy of heaven.

  • Tiered architecture representing the hierarchical relationship/path to God

  • The liturgy focuses on symbolism of the path to God at the end of time - the high point of the Eucharist (which happens much less frequently than in the Western church)

  • THEOSIS -- union with the divine (deification)


  • Strong monastic tradition - bishops were often monks and that was the norm by the 1000s

  • JOHN OF THE LADDER - wrote "Ladder of Divine Ascent" - similar to western mystical writings (like St. John of the Cross)

  • MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR (580-662) - writings about the mystical ascent to God. Drew also from PSEUDO-DIONYSIUS who was a mystic writer that informed much of Eastern Christianity.

  • Heaven is one of tiers - progressive ascent to God.

  • Used the Origen approach of metaphorical interpretation of scripture

  • God created the LOGOS to which we can all become part and take part in.

  • Referred to Christians as "gods" through grace.

  • Wrote about the Eucharist and the liturgy as the path of theosis.


  • Influence of Islam - an aversion to artistic depictions of the Divine. Pope Leo III was a fan of this line of thinking.

  • But the Eastern Orthodox LOVED their religious art and icons.

  • Leo didn't like the Eastern Orthodox, and he didn't like religious art, so he used that to persecute the Eastern Orthodox church by implementing several "iconoclastic" (burn/destroy the icons) policies.

  • The icons were a proxy for the bigger differences between the West and East church.


  • There's the 10 commandments about a "graven image" - but it's not graven -- it's sculpted!

  • But also a bigger picture about how to best interact with God.

  • WESTERN CHURCH: you get to God through the clergy, so art is irrelevant at best.

  • EASTERN CHURCH: yes, the clergy are important, but getting to God can ALSO happen outside of the clergy, and if art inspires it, that's completely legit.

  • In the end, it harmed the Western church more than the east - it divided the west over how big a deal it actually was.

  • JOHN OF DAMASCUS - eastern theologian who ended up having the more popular view: we can know God only through God's activities… and art is one of those creations/activities, so through art we can get a "sideways glance" at God.

  • Eventually, the West lost the battle, and over the course of a century, art became a legitimate form of theology throughout the East AND West.


  • The 1020s were a high point - Basil II led conquests and they acquired a lot of territory.

  • 1054 - the East-West schism is formalized.

  • On 16 July, when three papal legates entered the Hagia Sophia during Divine Liturgy on a Saturday afternoon and placed a bull of excommunication on the altar,[110] the so-called Great Schism was actually the culmination of centuries of gradual separation.[111]

  • So actually not that big a deal -- it was formalizing what had been happening for centuries. They had been in disagreement since the 300s over doctrine, authority, etc.

  • BUT this is when the official break of communion happened. Before this, they were still technically a single church.

  • 1040s - Seljuk Turks began invading little by little.

  • Two centuries of victories and losses.

  • 1200s - Fourth Crusade from Roman Church is a devastating blow for the Byzantine empire. 1204 - Constantinople is sacked and it never recovers. Makes it easier for Ottoman Turks to invade and take over a few centuries later. (Starting 1300s, completed in 1450s).


  • ICONOSTASIS -- in the liturgy, there developed a tradition of shielding the worshipers from view of the Eucharist - they can hear the priest chanting behind the wall but not see it. Instead, they see art and icons affixed to the ICONOSTASIS which fixes their minds on the divine. With the Eucharist inside and the art outside representing the heavenly vision, the place becomes a symbolic "gateway to heaven"

  • HESYCHASM issue -- "Hesychasm is a mystical tradition of contemplative prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Based on Jesus's injunction in the Gospel of Matthew that "when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray",[1] hesychasm in tradition has been the process of retiring inward by ceasing to register the senses, in order to achieve an experiential knowledge of God (see Theoria)." -- this practice/tradition developed, wasn't much adopted in the West where mysticism/quiet/interior was not as popular from an institutional perspective. But it became more mainstream in the East.

  • In James I 1600s in England, he invited a few Eastern scholars to Oxford. First cup of coffee consumed in Oxford (England?) was by that eastern scholar who brought it with him.

CHAPTER 11 – The WEST – Universal Emperor or Universal Pope?

  • CLUNY – a city in France that represents many of the major changes in of the 900-1100 CE.

  • Cluny Abbey in 909-10 represented renewal of western monastic life

  • Beginning of a major phase in grandeur of church architecture

  • The abbey was notable for its stricter adherence to the Rule of St. Benedict, whereby Cluny became acknowledged as the leader of western monasticism. The establishment of the Benedictine Order was a keystone to the stability of European society that was achieved in the 11th century.

  • The monks were subject only to the Pope who was weak, and they were strong supporters of the Gregorian reforms of the 12th century. That's why CLUNY was so influential and powerful.

  • PILGRIMMAGE began to be a major new way to show devotion – Santiago de Compostela in Spain where relics of James were – pilgrimages from Cluny in France to Santiago in Spain

  • FEUDALISM began to be the economic structure of Europe. This created more wealth and food. This shifted much of the economy to farming.

  • This had a huge impact: the growth of PAROCHIAE: parishes. The parish structure, with a local parish priest, was the way the church began to be organized.

  • As parishes became more and more common, tithing on the part of people became more common as well as a means of financing.

  • Money and lending became more popular, clergy became more sensitive to sins of pride and money, and as the means to sin multiplied, so did the means of remedying sin.

  • By the 1170s, the idea of PURGATORY had become popularized.

  • Over 11th-12th centuries, the church became more and more interested in regulating sexual behavior.

  • The church was acquiring territory. They made marriage more formalized – turned it into a sacrament – and that made it more difficult to have formal legal heirs. So the church acquired more property when people passed away.

  • This led to an increase in the idea that clergy should not be married, too.

  • POPE GREGORY VII – 1070s/80s: major reforms

  • He made universal claims for the authority of the Bishop of Rome. Before this time, the Pope was the Vicar of Peter – now they were the Vicar of Christ.

  • He advanced the bureaucracy of the church – instituted a set of CARDINALS to help with administration. - starting in the 1200s they took on the power of selecting new popes.

  • Also created a new system of laws throughout the church that also influenced political society.

  • Emphasized heavily the celibacy of priests. It was introduced before this time but he strengthened and emphasized it, imposing penalties.

  • INVESTITURE CONTROVERSY: power of pope > power of emperor

  • Before the Gregorian Reforms the Church was a heavily decentralized institution, in which the pope held little power outside of his position as bishop of Rome. With that in mind, the papacy up until the twelfth century held little to no authority over the bishops, who were invested with land by lay rulers; Gregory VII's banning of lay investiture was a key element of the reform, ultimately contributing to the centralized papacy of the later Middle Ages [WIKIPEDIA]

  • "It was based on his conviction that the Church was founded by God and entrusted with the task of embracing all mankind in a single society in which divine will is the only law; that, in his capacity as a divine institution, he is supreme over all human structures, especially the secular state; and that the pope, in his role as head of the Church under the petrine commission, is the vice-regent of God on earth, so that disobedience to him implies disobedience to God: or, in other words, a defection from Christianity." [WIKI]

  • "He acknowledged the existence of the state as a dispensation of Providence, described the coexistence of church and state as a divine ordinance, and emphasized the necessity of union between the sacerdotium and the imperium. But at no period would he have dreamed of putting the two powers on an equal footing; the superiority of church to state was to him a fact which admitted of no discussion and which he had never doubted. He wished to see all important matters of dispute referred to Rome; appeals were to be addressed to himself; the centralization of ecclesiastical government in Rome naturally involved a curtailment of the powers of bishops. Since these refused to submit voluntarily and tried to assert their traditional independence, his papacy was full of struggles against the higher ranks of the clergy. [WIKI

  • The age of CATHEDRALS began to signify the more power of the bishops. - GOTHIC architecture, stained glass windows, massive spires up to heaven.

  • CRUSADES – 1060-1200

  • The Church saw warfare as something that could help it achieve its purposes (contra early Christianity where Christians were pacifists)

  • Muslims had been in control of the Holy Land for a long time. The church was powerful enough to now to be able to think seriously about taking some of that land back.

  • Church leaders told the people that to die in the crusades was a sure-fire way to salvation.

  • The crusaders also sacked other cities and areas along the way. Not an honorable time in the history of the church.

  • Monastic orders emerged – the KNIGHTS TEMPLAR and the KNIGHTS HOSPITALLER.

  • By now the monasteries had increased in power and prestige. They weren't the ascetic bastions they used to be. The CISTERCIAN ORDER emerged as a reaction against this. Monasteries in the wilderness. The CARTHUSIANS were similar, although its members were more isolated, seeing each other only for meals. There emerged many options for people interested in pursuing a monastic vocation.

  • MARIAN DEVOTION also continued to develop here. Gregorian reformers liked this because it was a symbol of chastity and virtue and the regulation of marriage. Having images of Mary in chapels became more popular.


  • A developing theme was that of theology, orthodoxy, and heresy. Notable heretics included:

  • Berengar of Tours – 1000s who was not persuaded by the idea of transubstantiation

  • WALDENSIANS – were promoting the idea that Christ was poor which was scandalous because it called out the increasingly rich church

  • BRETHREN OF THE FREE SPIRIT – 13th century – taught that God could be in all things and in everyone's inner light.

  • PETER ABELARD coined the term "theology" in his book "THEOLOGIA CHRISTIANA"

  • Characteristics of theology and theologizing

  • Emphasis on the classics: ARISTOTLE and PLATO

  • SCHOLASTICISM: Aristotle's paradigm applied to religion – through reason and debate one could uncover truths. Became popular in new institutions called UNIVERSITIES. Popular for centuries.

  • Laid the foundation for modern scientific approach to knowledge.

  • The scholasticists would choose a book by a renowned scholar, auctor (author), as a subject for investigation. By reading it thoroughly and critically, the disciples learned to appreciate the theories of the author. Other documents related to the book would be referenced, such as Church councils, papal letters and anything else written on the subject, be it ancient or contemporary. The points of disagreement and contention between multiple sources would be written down in individual sentences or snippets of text, known as sententiae. Once the sources and points of disagreement had been laid out through a series of dialectics, the two sides of an argument would be made whole so that they would be found to be in agreement and not contradictory.

  • In the face of scholasticism and heretics, the church responded by cracking down. The enemies scapegoated often included Jews, heretics, lepers, and homosexuals.

  • PASTORAL REVOLUTION: the orders founded by DOMINIC and FRANCIS were founded in the 1200s. Became the Dominican and Franciscan FRIARS. Also the CARMELITE ORDER became popular.

  • Pope INNOCENT III – early 1200s – Continued to expand the power of the Pope in Rome.

  • FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL – Council led by Innocent; people should receive the Eucharist at least once a year; manuals for clergy instruction and pastoral care emerged. (think 'correlation' movement)

  • One of the largest and most influential councils of the early Middle Ages

  • Also required Jews to identify themselves by clothing so as to not intermarry with them or appoint them to public office.

  • Also clarified doctrine of TRANSUBSTANTIATION

  • Clarified procedures for discipline for heresy and excommunication.

  • Strengthened behavioral expectations of priests for moral behavior, etc.

  • TRANSUBSTANTIATION emerged as a popular doctrine. The holding up of the Eucharist for all to see as a high holy point in the Mass became even more popularized.

  • 1208 – Juliana of Mount Cornillion popularized the idea of a feast day; URBAN IV in 1264 established CORPUS CHRISTI as a feast day to celebrate the Eucharist.

  • INQUISITIONS became more institutionalized – seen as an aspect of pastoral work to prevent against heresy and protect the heretic.

  • THOMAS AQUINAS – major important figure of the 13th century that set the stage for religious and political thought of the West.

  • Combined Plato and the classics with Christianity – Plato's FORMS were the nature that God had created, and through our reason we can uncover those truths. He linked the UNMOVED MOVER of Plato with the Christian God in more detail than before.

  • Europe cooled in the 1200s and farming became harder and the economy suffered. A new phase of devotional life developed.

  • Christ's PASSION and its theology became more developed – in a context where life was hard, the idea that Christ SUFFERED more than anyone had ever suffered became popularized.

  • Anti-Semitism increased as the church needed a scapegoat for the difficult period that people were going through.



  • By 1300, everyone acknowledged the Pope in Rome as the chief pastor, were united by a common Latin language, saw itself as the heir to the Roman Empire.

  • Black Death in 1350s wiped out a third of Europe - this was devastating.

  • In the aftermath of this, with everyone preoccupied by the theme of death, the doctrine of INDULGENCES became popularized.

  1. A wrong needs a right, 2) God/Christ's merits are infinite, so there's a surplus that can be pulled from, 3) the Pope had the power to dispense from this 'merit' to those in Purgatory. This is an 'indulgence'.

  • This was a popular option for a community obsessed with death and anxiety about their souls.

  • Sales of indulgences became as popular as lottery tickets. Started off innocently, but then became more popular as the pope needed more and more money to finance building projects.


  • WILLIAM OF OCKHAM - said that we owe our loyalty and faith to God and not he Pope

  • Also taught NOMINALISM - an early postmodernist deconstructionist - saying that words were ideas without firm realities behind them (made systematic theology difficult). Became popular in the universities and educated classes, was seen as a threat by the church.

  • Ockham argued that only individuals existed and that universals were only mental ways of referring to sets of individuals. "I maintain", he wrote, "that a universal is not something real that exists in a subject... but that it has a being only as a thought-object in the mind [objectivum in anima]"

  • JEAN GERSON - thought that the hierarchy needed to be reformed and simplified because it'd gotten too complicated and strayed too far from the original vision.

  • Guiding light of CONCILIARISM -- a reform movement in the 14th-, 15th- and 16th-century Catholic Church which held that supreme authority in the Church resided with an Ecumenical council, apart from, or even against, the pope. The movement emerged in response to the Western Schism between rival popes in Rome and Avignon.

  • JOHN WYCLIF - Oxford philosopher - there's an objectively true invisible Church that was not being manifested in the false visible worldly Church. He also said to look straight to the Bible instead of the Pope for knowledge and truth (and most of the Mass wasn't in there)

  • Followers became known as LOLLARDS - they were middle-class-ish but not upper-class folks who would network and communicate outside of public view to spread skepticism toward the institution.

  • He produced the first popular copy of the Bible in English.

  • HUSSITES in Bohemia, led by JAN HUS a university professor who believed Wyclif and enthusiastically spread his message.

  • After John Wycliffe, the theorist of ecclesiastical reform, Hus is considered the second church reformer, as he lived before Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. His teachings had a strong influence on the states of Western Europe, most immediately in the approval of a reformed Bohemian religious denomination, and, over a century later, on Martin Luther.[3] Hus was a master, dean, and rector[4] at the Charles University in Prague.

  • Beginning in Italy, the HUMANISM movement began in the 14th century which led to the RENAISSANCE. As classical texts began to be rediscovered and spread, the ideals of Greek philosophy began to be popularized again.

  • This was the beginning of the modern movement, with the focus on empiricism, objectivity, evidence, etc.

  • Also celebration of the Western culture and its history

  • Also, could apply literary analysis to the Bible -- not just something to be performed, but analyzed and critiqued like any other book.

  • In Spain (ARAGON and CASTILE), Catholicism took a strong and strict turn, in part due to the increased diversity there compared to other parts of Europe (Muslims and Jews). The SPANISH INQUISITION became an institution to root out heretics. People volunteered information and squealed on their neighbors.

  • Spanish Catholicism became at once deeply spiritual/mystical but also strict and institutional.

It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms and to replace the Medieval Inquisition, which was under Papal control. It became the most substantive of the three different manifestations of the wider Catholic Inquisition along with the Roman Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition. The "Spanish Inquisition" may be defined broadly, operating in Spain and in all Spanish colonies and territories, which included the Canary Islands, the Spanish Netherlands, the Kingdom of Naples, and all Spanish possessions in North, Central, and South America. According to modern estimates, around 150,000 were prosecuted for various offenses during the three-century duration of the Spanish Inquisition, out of which between 3,000 and 5,000 were executed (3% of all cases). The Inquisition was originally intended primarily to identify heretics among those who converted from Judaism and Islam to Catholicism. The regulation of the faith of newly converted Catholics was intensified after the royal decrees issued in 1492 and 1502 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert to Catholicism or leave Castile.[1]

  • DESIDERIUS ERASMUS - he was a public intellectual, created his own translation of the New Testament, and had a positive public reputation.

  • Argued that since not everything the Church taught was in the Bible, some were simply articles of faith that you believed because they said so.

  • He was a humanist optimist who thought he could help reform the world through his writing.

  • He was a moderate who was skeptical of too much mysticism but also too much authority.

  • He also shifted the needle away from Augustine and more toward Origen

was a Dutch philosopher and Christian humanist who is widely considered to have been the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance.[5] Originally trained as a Catholic priest, Erasmus was an important figure in classical scholarship who wrote in a pure Latin style. Among humanists he enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists", and has been called "the crowning glory of the Christian humanists".[6] Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament, which raised questions that would be influential in the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. He also wrote On Free Will,[7] In Praise of Folly, Handbook of a Christian Knight, On Civility in Children, Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style, Julius Exclusus, and many other works.

Erasmus lived against the backdrop of the growing European religious Reformation. While he was critical of the abuses within the Catholic Church and called for reform, he nonetheless kept his distance from Luther, Henry VIII, and John Calvin and continued to recognise the authority of the pope, emphasizing a middle way with a deep respect for traditional faith, piety and grace, and rejecting Luther's emphasis on faith alone. Erasmus remained a member of the Catholic Church all his life,[8] remaining committed to reforming the church and its clerics' abuses from within. He also held to the doctrine of synergism, which some Reformers (Calvinists) rejected in favor of the doctrine of monergism. His middle road ("via media") approach disappointed, and even angered, scholars in both camps.


  • In 1505, Martin Luther was in a rainstorm and thought he was going to die, but promised that he'd go into the monastic life if he lived. And he did.

  • Began teaching in 1511. Through his work and pulling on the ideas in the context at the time, he began to critique the idea of merit and taught that justification came by 'faith alone.'

  • Up until this point, the "story" of Western Christianity was that through Purgatory and the way you interacted with it here (indulgences), you could do something to affect your standing in the afterlife for you and your family.

  • Martin challenged this. NO - that's a lie told by the church to get money from you. Where is it in the Bible?

  • So he wanted to start a discussion on indulgences (1517). For a few years he went back and forth with the authorities, and was excommunicated in 1520.

  • He had become a popular hero, though, for sticking it to the church.


  • The German Peasants' War, Great Peasants' War or Great Peasants' Revolt (German: Deutscher Bauernkrieg) was a widespread popular revolt in some German-speaking areas in Central Europe from 1524 to 1525. It failed because of the intense opposition by the aristocracy, who slaughtered up to 100,000 of the 300,000 poorly armed peasants and farmers.[1] The survivors were fined and achieved few, if any, of their goals.

  • The revolt incorporated some principles and rhetoric from the emerging Protestant Reformation, through which the peasants sought influence and freedom. Radical Reformers and Anabaptists, most famously Thomas Müntzer, instigated and supported the revolt. In contrast, Martin Luther and other Magisterial Reformers condemned it and clearly sided with the nobles.


  • In 1519, Zwingli became the pastor of the Grossmünster in Zürich where he began to preach ideas on reform of the Catholic Church. In his first public controversy in 1522, he attacked the custom of fasting during Lent. In his publications, he noted corruption in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, promoted clerical marriage, and attacked the use of images in places of worship. In 1525, he introduced a new communion liturgy to replace the Mass.

  • Meanwhile, Zwingli's ideas came to the attention of Martin Luther and other reformers. They met at the Marburg Colloquy and agreed on many points of doctrine, but they could not reach an accord on the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

  • Zwingli was more "this is a symbol, how could Jesus actually be here?"

  • Important because Reformed theology was largely influenced by him.


  • Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.

  • Calvinists differ from Lutherans on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, theories of worship, and the use of God's law for believers, among other things.[1][2] The term Calvinism can be misleading, because the religious tradition which it denotes has always been diverse, with a wide range of influences rather than a single founder. In the context of the Reformation, Huldrych Zwingli began the Reformed tradition in 1519 in the city of Zürich. His followers were instantly labeled Zwinglians, consistent with the Catholic practice of naming heresy after its founder.

  • JOHN CALVIN exiled French humanist legal scholar. He articulated a good deal of the early Reformed Protestant theology (picking up where Zwingli left off).

  • Instead of bishop, priest, deacon, Bucer had argued for pastors, doctors, elders, and deacons.

  • Calvin put together a church government "by committee" instead of episcopal. These committees were called "presbyteries" --> PRESBYTERIANISM


  • They were a "radical reform" group - going off to live a pure communal form of Christianity. Rejected infant baptism (as you should be able to understand what you're doing).

  • They were an example of the RADICAL REFORMERS whose position was that for 1,000 years the church had made too many concessions to the state in order to attain power. Most of the theology was based on councils instead of on the Bible. Some even went so far as to say that the Bible itself is an idol, and that the 'inner light' in yourself is the ultimate authority (early predecessor of the Quakers).


  • Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.

  • Henry's objection with the church was real, but the marriage issue was a convenient spark.

  • He said that the Pope has no authority over the church in England, but rather the king does.

  • THOMAS CRANMER - archbishop of Canterbury, compiled/edited the Book of Common Prayer.

  • Anglicanism stressed aesthetic, liturgy, collects, and music as the main form of spiritual expression.

  • So by the 1560s there were the Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, and Anabaptists, among others. The process of CONFESSIONALIZATION throughout the 1560s and 1570s where each of them began to systemize their doctrinal positions and make clear the differences between them.


The Counter-Reformation (Latin: Contrareformatio), also called the Catholic Reformation (Latin: Reformatio Catholica) or the Catholic Revival,[1] was the period of Catholic resurgence that was initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation. It began with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and largely ended with the conclusion of the European wars of religion in 1648. Initiated to preserve the power, influence and material wealth enjoyed by the Catholic Church and to present a theological and material challenge to Reformation,[citation needed] the Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort composed of apologetic and polemical documents, ecclesiastical reconfiguration as decreed by the Council of Trent, a series of wars, and political maneuvering. The last of these included the efforts of Imperial Diets of the Holy Roman Empire, exiling of Protestant populations, confiscation of Protestant children for institutionalized Catholic upbringing, heresy trials and the Inquisition, anti-corruption efforts, spiritual movements, and the founding of new religious orders. Such policies had long-lasting effects in European history with exiles of Protestants continuing until the 1781 Patent of Toleration, although smaller expulsions took place in the 19th century.[2]

Such reforms included the foundation of seminaries for the proper training of priests in the spiritual life and the theological traditions of the church, the reform of religious life by returning orders to their spiritual foundations, and new spiritual movements focusing on the devotional life and a personal relationship with Christ, including the Spanish mystics and the French school of spirituality.[3]

It also involved political activities that included the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Protestants. One primary emphasis of the Counter-Reformation was a mission to reach parts of the world that had been colonized as predominantly Catholic and also try to reconvert areas such as Sweden and England that were at one time Catholic, but had been Protestantized during the Reformation.[3]

Key events of the period include: the Council of Trent (1545–1563); the excommunication of Elizabeth I (1570) and the Battle of Lepanto (1571), both occurring during the pontificate of Pius V; the construction of the Gregorian observatory, the founding of the Gregorian University, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, and the Jesuit China mission of Matteo Ricci under Pope Gregory XIII; the French Wars of Religion; the Long Turkish War and the execution of Giordano Bruno in 1600, under Pope Clement VIII; the birth of the Lyncean Academy of the Papal States, of which the main figure was Galileo Galilei (later put on trial); the final phases of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) during the pontificates of Urban VIII and Innocent X; and the formation of the last Holy League by Innocent XI during the Great Turkish War.


Pope Paul III (1534–1549) is considered the first pope of the Counter-Reformation,[3] and he also initiated the Council of Trent (1545–1563), tasked with institutional reform, addressing contentious issues such as corrupt bishops and priests, the sale of indulgences, and other financial abuses.

The council upheld the basic structure of the medieval church, its sacramental system, religious orders, and doctrine, and declined to update the ritual of the Mass since historical studies of the Mass were lacking at the time.[6] It rejected all compromise with the Protestants, restating basic tenets of the Roman Catholic faith. The council upheld salvation appropriated by grace through faith and works of that faith (not just by faith, as the Protestants insisted) because "faith without works is dead", as the Epistle of James states (2:22–26).

Transubstantiation, according to which the consecrated bread and wine are held to have been transformed really and substantially into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, was also reaffirmed, as were the traditional seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. Other practices that drew the ire of Protestant reformers, such as pilgrimages, the veneration of saints and relics, the use of venerable images and statuary, and the veneration of the Virgin Mary were strongly reaffirmed as spiritually commendable practices.

The council, in the Canon of Trent, officially accepted the Vulgate listing of the Old Testament Bible, which included the deuterocanonical works (called apocrypha by Protestants) on a par with the 39 books found in the Masoretic Text. This reaffirmed the previous Council of Rome and Synods of Carthage (both held in the 4th century AD), which had affirmed the Deuterocanon as scripture.[7] The council also commissioned the Roman Catechism, which served as authoritative church teaching until the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992).

While the traditional fundamentals of the church were reaffirmed, there were noticeable changes to answer complaints that the Counter-Reformers were, tacitly, willing to admit were legitimate. Among the conditions to be corrected by Catholic reformers was the growing divide between the clerics and the laity; many members of the clergy in the rural parishes had been poorly educated. Often, these rural priests did not know Latin and lacked opportunities for proper theological training. Addressing the education of priests had been a fundamental focus of the humanist reformers in the past.

Parish priests were to be better educated in matters of theology and apologetics, while Papal authorities sought to educate the faithful about the meaning, nature and value of art and liturgy, particularly in monastic churches (Reformed Protestants had criticised them as "distracting"). Notebooks and handbooks became more common, describing how to be good priests and confessors.

Thus, the Council of Trent attempted to improve the discipline and administration of the church. The worldly excesses of the secular Renaissance church, epitomized by the era of Alexander VI (1492–1503), intensified during the Reformation under Pope Leo X (1513–1521), whose campaign to raise funds for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica by supporting use of indulgences served as a key impetus for Martin Luther's 95 Theses. The Catholic Church responded to these problems by a vigorous campaign of reform, inspired by earlier Catholic reform movements that predated the Council of Constance (1414–1417): humanism, devotionalism, legalism and the observantine tradition.

The council, by virtue of its actions, repudiated the pluralism of the secular Renaissance that had previously plagued the church: the organization of religious institutions was tightened, discipline was improved, and the parish was emphasized. The appointment of bishops for political reasons was no longer tolerated. In the past, the large landholdings forced many bishops to be "absent bishops" who at times were property managers trained in administration. Thus, the Council of Trent combated "absenteeism", which was the practice of bishops living in Rome or on landed estates rather than in their dioceses. The Council of Trent also gave bishops greater power to supervise all aspects of religious life. Zealous prelates, such as Milan's Archbishop Carlo Borromeo (1538–1584), later canonized as a saint, set an example by visiting the remotest parishes and instilling high standards.


Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a Navarre nobleman from the Pyrenees area of northern Spain, founded the society after discerning his spiritual vocation while recovering from a wound sustained in the Battle of Pamplona. He composed the Spiritual Exercises to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 1534, Ignatius and six other young men, including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, gathered and professed vows of poverty, chastity, and later obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope in matters of mission direction and assignment. Ignatius's plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by a bull containing the "Formula of the Institute".

Ignatius was a nobleman who had a military background, and the members of the society were supposed to accept orders anywhere in the world, where they might be required to live in extreme conditions. Accordingly, the opening lines of the founding document declared that the society was founded for "whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God[a] to strive especially for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine."[4] Jesuits are thus sometimes referred to colloquially as "God's soldiers",[5] "God's marines",[6] or "the Company", which evolved from references to Ignatius' history as a soldier and the society's commitment to accepting orders anywhere and to endure any conditions.[7] The society participated in the Counter-Reformation and, later, in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council.


  • Spain and especially Portugal spread Christianity far and wide in the age of Empire

  • The Portuguese were particularly brutal in spreading Christianity - regularly committing genocide and conquering native populations. But they fell from grace and global power quickly.

  • COLOMBUS in 1492 - opened the door for the spread of Christianity all over the Americas.

  • Hernan Cortez with Mexico

  • BARTOLEME DE LAS CASAS - a Dominican friar that was kind and benevolent and tried to protect the indigenous Mayans in the Yucatan.

  • COUNTERREFORMATION in the New World - there was a strong spread of Catholicism throughout both North and South America by Jesuits and other Catholic missionaries. Massive success at force-converting the native population. Often appropriated indigenous religious sites and practices.

  • Some local revolts - the Caste War in Yucatan was a big one - Maya in the Yucatan

  • The JESUITS went in to China and the rest of Asia - experienced mixed success

  • There was a backlash in Japan (think the "Silence" movie)

  • Also went into Africa with mixed success

  • The major force here were the JESUITS who undertook massive missionary and service efforts throughout the world.


  • Protestants still had a rough relationship with Catholics/Anglicans in England and the rest of Europe. Many migrated to America.

  • JAMESTOWN - Anglican settlement in Virginia 1607 - first Anglican church in North America, used the Prayer Book and wanted episcopally-ordained clergy. They didn't want their own bishops, though, and were happy to just have the ones back in England.

  • Led to Virginian Anglicanism that was more for the gentry and who liked "edifying but not dramatic" performance of the Prayer Book.

  • PLYMOUTH -- 1620 - Puritan separatists from Anglicans in England. Wanted to separate themselves out completely. Formed a 'commonwealth' and appointed JOHN WINTHROP as first governor. They did NOT use the Prayer Book, seeing it as corrupt Anglicanism. They wanted a PURE ANGLICANISM - they were puritans not separatists. They wanted to REFORM.

  • Massachusetts formed a series of self-governing congregations --> CONGREGATIONALISTS

  • ANNE HUTCHINSON - Boston woman in 1635 who claimed charismatic authority and preached and held her own meetings. She was expelled and went to RHODE ISLAND that had been set up by ROGER WILLIAMS as a place for religious freedom (even though Williams himself was a strict Calvinist).

  • QUAKERS arrived in Massachusetts in 1657

  • There was an effort to proselytize and convert the Native Americans - translating the Bible into a Native American dialect.

  • SLAVERY was a blot on all English Christianity in North America

  • MARYLAND was formed by Catholics who fled from England -- also said religious freedom was fine there.

  • WILLIAM PENN formed a QUAKER colony in Pennsylvania - complete free exercise of religion and non-coercion… although in 1705 the local community couldn't handle this much diversity and disenfranchised Catholics, Jews, and non-believers.

  • Characteristic pattern of Colonial America: "religious denominations, none claiming the exclusive status of Church, but making up slices in a Protestant 'cake' which together adds up to a Church." (730)


The Glorious Revolution, or Revolution of 1688 (Irish: An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar, Scottish Gaelic: Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor or Welsh: Chwyldro Gogoneddus) was the November 1688 deposition and subsequent replacement of James II and VII as ruler of England, Scotland and Ireland by his daughter Mary II and his Dutch nephew and Mary's husband, William III of Orange. The outcome of events in all three kingdoms and Europe, the Revolution was quick and relatively bloodless, though establishing the new regime took much longer and led to significant casualties.[1] The term was first used by John Hampden in late 1689.[2]

Despite his Catholicism, James became king in February 1685 with widespread support because many feared excluding him would lead to a repetition of the 1638–1651