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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

I am sorry to jump into the discussion so late, but on the West Coast, 
when I read my mail, it was morning and some of us were still 
caffeinating.  Without responding to the all of the issues raised here, 
I would at least argue that first of all, the church(es) of the Middle 
Ages were quite diverse.  There were at least two quite different forms 
of church polity particularly before and after the reforms of the 
eleventh century consolidated at Lateran IV.   So, secondly, these 
churches were not "Catholic" in the sense that "Roman Catholic" is used 
now.  Late medieval Christianity was the origin out of which all of 
Western Christianity emerged.  This is not a new point, of course.  I 
as well as others have written on the subject often enough.  However 
the point is worth repeating because from this perspective, there are 
no longer any late medieval Christians.  Certainly the church that 
emerged from Trent and became Roman  Catholicism is no more "medieval" 
than some other Western Christian groups.  Therefore explaining late 
medieval Western Christianity should not be seen as necessarily 
"defending" or "attacking" any present Christian group. The 
identification of Roman Catholicism as it came to exist after Trent 
with the "medieval Church" (as if that were somehow an identifiable 
unity) was a political move of some complexity, but one of very 
questionable historical value.  From this perspective, the medieval 
inquisitions, for example, were not "Roman Catholic" nor was the rise 
of the universities .


On May 7, 2004, at 6:05 AM, [log in to unmask] wrote:

> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and 
> culture
>
> Good morning, Cate!
>
> You asked:
>
>> A number of members of this list are clearly practising Catholics - 
>> how
>> difficult is it to achieve objectivity when teaching the development 
>> and
>> history of Catholicism?
>
> You were bound to "out" me, sooner or later, I suppose.
> Actually, I'm not a practicing Roman Catholic.  I'm
> Lutheran.
>
> That said, in regard to your question, are you really sure
> you want to try?  In the situation of which I wrote earlier,
> I found it much easier simply to tell the truth.  In similar
> situations since, I've found that a good rule to follow.
>
> I've no idea what your religious proclivities are, and they
> are your own business to do with as you please.  However,
> mine -- along with other long held beliefs (e.g. We are not
> all merely "brains in a vat"; my senses give me at least
> some apperception of what in the world is going on; etc.) --
> colour the way I teach.  Where they entered into the
> subject under debate, e.g. abortion on demand, I stated
> at the beginning of the discussion what my conviction was
> while asking my students to do the same.  They did,
> generally with temperence, knowledge, and gusto.
>
> When you begin a course and explain to the students what
> they can expect from you and what you expect from them,
> can you be comfortable telling them your feelings and
> beliefs at the outset while reassuring them that you wish to
> and will try to treat all of them fairly?  Yes, you will quickly
> discover some who strongly disagree with you.  (For ANY given
> position, there is at least one person who disagrees with it.  [He
> will probably attend the class where that position is taught.])
> So what historical data can the dissenter gather to support
> his position?  Can you assist him in his search?  The smart
> money says you in fact can.  Yet, in the process, he may
> come to see that hard facts resist his attempts at manipulation
> and that past events are subject to a variety of understandings,
> some more plausable than others.
>
> For example, did the stripping of the altars produce any positive
> effects?  Arguably, yes.  Was it entirely successful?  Clearly, on
> the basis of the statement of goals by the strippers and subsequent
> history, no.  (In general, Lutherans didn't play the stripping game.
> Comparison here might be interesting [and unwieldy]).
>
> I've blathered on here at great length, subjugating a massive
> number of innocent electrons in the process.  I laud you for
> taking on the task of teaching this subject to mature students.
> In writing a paper on it, you display far more guts than I have.
> Good luck on your presentation.
>
>
> Regards to all,
> Frank
>
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>
Gary Macy, Ph.D.
Professor
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Catholicism
University of San Diego
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
619-260-4053

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