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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Andrew,
This is hugely interesting, and your analogy of the "work to get an A"
hugely clarifying. More later, because I still have questions. Thank you for
taking the time to answer this so carefully.
cecilia

On Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 3:06 PM, Andrew Larsen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
> Cecelia,
>     Let me preface my unpacking by saying that I don't specialize in
> sacramental theology.  I teacha course on the Crusades, so what I've got to
> say is based on my reading of the documents, old course notes, and secondary
> sources that I've dug into so that I can explain this to my students.  I
> don't know if the term 'contingent merit' was every actually applied to
> indulgences.  But as I read the material, that's how they're conceiving of
> the issues.
>     High and late medieval theologians were interested in the distinction
> between inherent and contingent qualities and events.  For example, if I
> hold out a rock and drop it, why does it fall?  Is its fall an inherent
> element of the rock (Aristotle would say yes), or is its fall contingent on
> divine will (as Ockham would say)?  For Ockham, even though rocks usually
> fall when you drop them, God could one day decide that a particular rock
> won't fall but rather fly up into the sky.  So the property of dropping is
> entirely contingent on God making the repeated choice for rocks to fall.
>     So let's move to sacramental theology, which was rapidly developing in
> the 12th century, as the first several crusades were playing out.
>  Confession and penance were a long-established practice in the 11th
> century, but the full theology of C&P had not be worked out by the time that
> Urban triggers the First Crusade.  Urban's indulgence is rooted in the
> principle that penance has value because the actions assigned for penance
> are inherently meritorious.  It is inherently good to go on a pilgrimage.
>  The armed pilgrimage to Jerusalem that Urban calls for is such a difficult
> action that the merit of doing it can apply to all penance a knight may have
> to do.
>     Bernard of Clairvaux offers a very different approach.  The action of
> the pilgrimage is not of itself meritorious.  It is meritorious because God
> has decided, out of the goodness of his mercy, to treat the action as
> meritorious. God does not owe us the waiver of *poena* contained in the
> penitential pilgrimage.  Rather, God chooses to put himself into a position
> in which he can pretend to owe us the waiver of *poena*, so that we might
> have a chance to gain grace.
>     To help my students, here's the analogy I use.  If Urban II were
> teaching my class, he would say that any student who did the hard work of
> studying for the tests and managed to get all As would earn an A by their
> own merit.  On the other hand, if Bernard or Innocent III were teaching the
> class, he would say that no student in the class can possibly earn an A
> (none of them can read Latin, none of them know very much about the
> subject).  Rather, out of the goodness of his heart, Bernard says that he
> will mercifully accept a certain level of coursework as getting an A, even
> if it doesn't really merit that A.
>     Knights did not have a formally articulated duty to serve God by virtue
> of being knights.  They had a duty by virtue of being Christians, but
> knighthood was not vassalage to God, although some 12th century churchmen
> made arguments like that.
>     Hope this clarifies things
>
> Andrew E. Larsen
>
>
>
> On 9/9/08 11:12 AM, "Cecilia Gaposchkin" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
> Thank you to everyone who replied to my query. I had actually been reading
> Maier's book, which is what prompted by question about how "buy outs"
> actually worked in practice, and in the whole spiritual and actual economy
> of crusade.  And thanks to Jessalyn for the kind words.
>
> I would like to ask Andrew Larsen, whose post was fantastic, to tell me a
> bit more about "contingently meritorious" indulgences.  I suppose I'm not
> quite clear on how this is theologically different from the preceding (and,
> as you say, later) form.  In a sense, wouldn't' all penance be meritorious
> on God's favor?  I understand this more as a theological refinement, than as
> something whcih would then need to be back away from, so may be someone
> (Andrew?) can unpack this more for me.  I mean, I suppose that all "knights"
> are supposed to fight for their lord out of fidelity, and I have always
> understood that for the crusades this was no mere analogy but an actual
> amplification of knighthood's obligation to the Lord. In that sense, it
> cannot, I suppose, be penitential, and so it could then only be penitential
> if God allowed it.
>
> I'd love clarification.
>
> Thanks thanks, to all.
> cecilia
>
>
>
> On Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 8:15 AM, Christopher Crockett <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
>
> From: Jessalynn Bird <[log in to unmask]>
>
> > Dear Cecilia,
>
> > Sorry for the delayed reply.  What period was the vow redemption from?
> (This
> makes a big difference both in theory and in practice--as far as both can
> be
> surmised).
>
>
> which is all that kept me from offering a definitive answer to the original
> querry --all those late, Copy-Cat guys are of no interest to us Genuine
> Second
> Crusade People.
>
> > By the way,  I just read your book on Louis IX with much interest.  It is
> absolutely magnificent!
>
> Gaposchkin, M. Cecilia.
> The making of Saint Louis: kingship, sanctity, and crusade in the later
> Middle
> Ages.
> Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008.
> 331 p. : ill., maps
>
>
> yes, doesn't look too bad.
>
> one of those Fly-by-Night U.P.s, of course.
>
> c
>
>
> >On Behalf Of Cecilia Gaposchkin
>
> > I have just been reading about the redemption of crusading vows.  One
> well
> > documented case involving a nobleman's redemption involved his payment of
> a
> > sum of money great enough to fund one miles for one year to go to the
> holy
> > land. For this, the nobleman received his plenary indulgence.
> >
> > Can someone tell me about the said "miles" who would go in the nobleman's
> > stead. Would he received the spiritual benefits of crusading? Would he
> get
> a
> > plenary indulgence? Is this a kind of "two for one" deal?  Or would the
> sum
> > for the redemption, so calculated, be actually sent to the curial war
> chest,
> > rather than actually fund a replacement crusader.
> >
> > Thoughts and knowledge will be appreciated.
> >
> > thanks
> > cecilia
> >
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