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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