medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

CARLOS wrote:
> For a paper I am working on, I am gathering texts on the festivities
> of Baptism and Epiphany, trying to distinguish between Western and
> Eastern churches.
> Forgive my ignorance: the 2nd-century Christian author Tertullian, can
> be considered a member of the Western Church? I rely on the Catholic
> Encyclopaedia (s. v. "Eastern Churches"): "The root of this division
> is, roughly and broadly speaking, the division of the Roman Empire
> made first by Diocletian (284-305)", i.e., after Tertullian's life.
> "Another distinction, that can be applied only in the most general and
> broadest sense, is that of language", and Tertullian wrote both Latin
> and Greek treatises.

Distinguishing between the Western and Eastern churches at that date makes 
no sense.  Yes, the major difference is that the people spoke Latin versus 
Greek, but all educated Romans would have known Greek.  The division really 
dates back long before Diocletian: what became the Eastern Empire (the 
Hellenistic world) had been Greek-speaking since the time of Alexander. 
Greek (rather than Latin) was the "lingua franca" of the Eastern Empire. 
Which is why the New Testament scriptures (to say nothing of the Septuagint) 
are in Greek.  Hence the criticisms of "The Passion of the Christ": the 
"Romans" in 1st century Palestine would have spoken Greek; Jesus and Pilate 
would have spoken to each other in Greek; a tradesman such as a carpenter 
would have needed some knowledge of Greek.

John Briggs 

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