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High Middle Ages Reading Notes

Religious and Intellectual Life in the High Middle Ages
Intellectual life: Rediscovering the Classics

1200s, European scholars "rediscovered" Greek science + arts, coming
through contact with Jews + Arabs (Spain + Sicily)
Arabic + Jewish scholars translated works of Plato, Aristotle, etc., into Latin,
which opened up knowledge for Europeans who could not read Greek or
A handful of European scholars mastered Greek, + made new contributions to
math + science
1300s, new Universities were becoming centers for study of theology
(Classics) + natural philosophy (science)


New approach in Universities = Scholasticism (God gave man ability to
understand world through Divine Revelation—Bible— + through use of human
reason + observation)
First led to direct clashes between scholars + Church (ie. French scholar —>
Peter Abelard —> charged with heresy for supposedly using logic to criticize
Church, when he tried to use logic to prove Bible's infallibility + argued that
Bible should be studied using methods of classical logic— that there was no
contradiction between faith and rationalism)
Abelard's method of analysis became standard in universities, thanks to
writings of his student, Peter Lombard
Mid 1100s, Lombard introduced method of logical theological analysis based
upon Abelard's ideas
Mid-1200s, Scholasticism method = strengthened by study of "new" works of
Aristotle (translated from Arabic + molded Aristotelian concepts to fit
dominant Christian worldview)

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Most important Scholastic scholar + key shaper of Christian theology +
Dominican priest + taught at University of Paris.
He argued that God's greatest truths were in Bible, but that Christians
must also study nature, since it too was God's work (nature — studied using
method of logic + science)
Some topics beyond human reason could be understood only through
revelation—like Trinity.
He tried to blend philosophy + theology

or theology University organized as guild Universities had charters from Church or King (etc. medicine. law. with its own faculty (Cambridge + Oxford still organized this way) University of Bologna (N Italy) —> students (not teachers) constituted guild + hired teachers (most S European universities followed Bologna model) Schools • • • To enter University. needing advanced training.• His writings became fundamental texts for Catholic theology. + opened up Christianity to methods of logic and science The Universities • • • • • • • • • • • • • Universities grew out of Church's schooling system Students from Cathedral schools. law. or in "liberal arts” Only males with "grammar school" education (literate in Latin) could enter university After ~ four years. + theology. + students organized according to housing: each student dormitory became center of separate college within university.) that gave students and scholars certain liberties Students pushed liberties to limits of law (often angering townspeople) University charters granted certain privileges to graduates: graduates with advanced degrees had exclusive privilege of teaching or practicing professions such as law or medicine Most important universities of High Middle Ages —> University of Paris + University of Bologna (present two different methods of corporate guild organization) University of Paris —> model for universities in N Europe —> teachers constituted guild —> divided university into four faculties: arts. student needed very good knowledge of Latin (learned in "grammar” school) Grammar schools began with Charlemagne's effort to set up school in every bishopric + every monastery Despite shortage of teachers —> network of church-based schooling spread . students who passed examinations in logic + advanced Latin obtained "Bachelors” degree 4 more years. "Masters" degree in liberal arts 10 more years "Doctors" degree in medicine. medicine. went to University to study theology. law.

+ commerce all needed literate. after Papacy ordered that all bishoprics set aside funds to hire teachers) First. chivalry (honor). England (most impressive example) had literacy rate =~ 40% Lay schooling advanced literacy. educated men Grammar schools now prepared students for university studies in law + medicine + theology It took few hundred years for schools to create much higher literacy rate in Europe In 1100s —> most priests were only functionally literate + most laypeople were illiterate (literacy rate =~ 1%) In 1500s. but still had "secular" in its subjects Examples of poetry for elites = the great epic poems (French Song of Roland or Spanish El Cid) Epic “Romances” used Christian iconography (in French-language tale of King Arthur.e. Greatest literary work of High Middle Ages = Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy (combined fascination with romantic love with deep religious sentiments) In the end. + love. which had fallen into decline when Rome collapsed Some popular poetry of High Middle Ages directly parodied Church + its teachings (like many of popular "fables" of period —> written largely for popular audience) Poetry favored among educated elites seldom parodied Church. .• • • • • • • • + was most important form of primary education in High Middle Ages (especially in 1170s. Church saw Cathedral schools as institutions for training priests In 1100s —> student body + curriculum broadened Royal governments. but also launched secular (non-religious) intellectual trends that would emerge in 1400s The “Pre-Renaissance" • • • • • • • • • • • Expansion of education + arts based on Classical examples in High Middle Ages = "Pre-Renaissance” i. Dante's faith in Christianity has been restored through reason Main theme = Scholasticism—the marriage of faith + reason Dante said —> Man has free will + can choose good over evil. as does hero of Germanlanguage epic Parzival) These religious elements were just plot devises in stories about adventure. rebirth of secular poetry. Church bureaucracy. Arthur goes off in search of Holy Grail.

monarchs appointed "reformed" monks as bishops Reformer-Bishops campaigned to spread monastic example of poverty.g. who then imposed reforms on Church—e. but faced serious challenges After breakup of Charlemagne's empire.. bishops must obey Pope. German Emperor Henry III appointed monastic reformer as pope— Leo IX. + devoted themselves fully to worship Cluny helped revitalize Church as spiritual institution + became model for monastic reforms in other countries In 1000s.e.Religious Life Problems facing the Church • • • Catholic Church = Europe’s dominant cultural institution in High Middle Ages. chastity + obedience. John XII) undermined Church's moral authority Reform in the monasteries • • • • • • • Early 900s. chastity. Church reform movements began in monastic orders with creation of Benedictine monastery "Cluny" (Burgundy) Cluny —> under Papal supervision + independent of local aristocracy Benedictines at Cluny took vows of poverty. banned marriage among clergy + banned sale of church offices Leo argued that Pope ruled Church just as monarch ruled state. Papacy = very weak —> could not protect clergy + personal behavior of Popes (i. + Pope's power to impose reforms depended upon support from German Emperor . reform movement in monasteries began to change character of Church hierarchy In England + German states. + parish priests must obey bishops But Papacy was relatively weak. agenda of reformer monks + bishops conflicted with Papal policies In 1049. feudal lords treated parish churches (+ often entire bishoprics + monasteries) as own personal property Early 1000s. + obedience to priesthood (most parish priests still married + had families) + campaigned against using ecclesiastical posts for personal profit Papal reform initiatives • • • • In 900s.

it also confronted new challenges to dogma—new forms of popular “heresy” —> Catharsis (one of great heresies of period) Cathars argued that there were two gods—1. but College of Cardinals now put Papal succession in hands of Church. immoral. god of evil Believed that good god would reward spiritual devotion with holy grace. whose mercy was infinite.e. which then consumed "host” New development = cult of Virgin Mary (Jesus' mother = minor figure in Church before 1100s) In 1100s. representing communion with Christ According to doctrine of Transubstantiation (as understood in 1100s). which raised dignity of priests + emphasized tied worshipers to God— miracle was performed in front of congregation. God works through priest to miraculously turn bread + wine into body + blood of Christ. Catholics could appeal to her son (Jesus) for salvation While Church benefited from popular religious enthusiasm. which helped set up conflict between Emperor Henry IV + Pope Gregory VII Gregory (Pope from 1073 to 1085) was champion of Church reform + condemned corrupt. Papacy insisted. + preaching To Church. Cistercians devoted themselves to simplicity. Cult of Virgin ("Our Lady"--"Notre Dame" = French) became popular Through Mary. Cathars = heretics for questioning nature of God. could lead men to salvation . poverty. + abusive priests + encouraged laypeople to play more direct role in Church By raising moral status of Church + mobilizing the laity. prayer. + cast out evil of evil god Heresy of Waldensianism was > popular than Catharsis Waldensians said that individuals must study Bible and live Christ-like lives devoted to poverty. god of good. + prayer even than had Benedictines) Another manifestation = decline in ritual veneration of saints + of saintly relics + greater emphasis on Eucharist (sacrament of Last Supper—taking of bread + wine). Gregory fueled popular religious revival + popular piety Popular religious movements • • • • • • • • • • • • • One manifestation of popular piety = rise of new monastic orders (i.• • • • In 1059. + Waldensians = heretics for believing that they could preach Gospels Church clergy alone. + 2. somewhat changed when Pope Nicholas II created College of Cardinals (select group of bishops with right to elect Pope) Emperor still had voice in Papal elections.

it also embraced new movements if these recognized papal authority Two new orders accepted by Church = Dominicans + Franciscans (itinerate preachers) Dominican order formed by Spanish priest (Saint) Dominic as teaching order. + by using torture to force heretics to confess. (i. declared that salvation came only through sacraments administered by Church Council said that two most important sacraments were Eucharist + penance (confession). which brings us back to Investiture conflict between Pope Gregory VII + German Emperor Henry IV in 1070s They had battled over “lay investiture"—power of kings (who were laymen. + convert—"judicial" procedure called Inquisition In 1250s. Fourth Lateran Council (called by Pope Innocent III). (Saint) Francis of Assisi. Church acted to crush heresy by crusading against Cathars in S France + N Italy. + Muslims Franciscans were founded by wealthy Italian layman.• • • • • • • • • • • • • In 1215. but they also appealed to people who might otherwise follow Waldenians (who did not recognize Papal discipline) Royal vs Papal authority: The Investiture Conflict • • • • Pope Innocent III's attempt to stamp out heresy = part of Papacy's ongoing effort to consolidate its authority. who took a vow of poverty + called on his followers to live simple life in imitation of Christ Franciscans recognized Papal authority. Church encouraged European princes + kings to expel Jews from their territories —> process that culminated in 1492 with expulsion of Jews from Spain At same time that Church persecuted "heretics" + Jews. not clerics) to appoint bishops + abbots Henry IV insisted that this = traditional "right" of Christian monarchs + that appointment of bishops = under Emperor's authority Gregory VII argued that only Church had power to appoint men to clerical posts + that this was under Pope’s authority . but also became famous for hunting down heretics. recant. myth that Jews used blood of Christian children to make Passover matzo) Late 1200s-1300s. Church began burning heretics (including Cathars + Waldenians) at stake Church also saw threat in presence of non-Christians in Christian Europe Endorsed punitive taxes + restriction on Jews + tolerated popular anti-Jewish mythologies. which required priest as intermediary 1215 Council established a clear set of dogma defining only acceptable forms of (Catholic) Christian worship Early 1200s (under Pope Innocent III). Jews.e.

at 4th Lateran Council. had to obey Papal decrees Also established Papacy as temporal power. in Concordat of Worms Agreement allowed Emperor to grant bishops "temporal" (secular) but not religious authority (= Emperor could appoint bishop to rule a territory) Gave crown influence over bishoprics Effect = recognize distinction between Church + State. balance of power + authority shifted from Papacy to national monarchies . Henry IV begged for Papal forgiveness. Gregory VII reversed his excommunication As soon as Henry IV was able to beat Saxon rebels. he forced Gregory into exile Again. like all Christians. strengthened Papacy's control over (Latin) Christian worship + claimed that kings. Church moved toward a compromise. by claiming rule over territories in central Italy (Papal States) + pressuring kings to grant Papacy several fiefdoms Innocent III's reign marked highpoint of Papal power in High Middle Ages Late 1200s.• • • • • • • • • • • For Gregory VII. whom he called on to resign Gregory VII then excommunicated Henry + claimed that Henry IV no longer had right to imperial throne + supported behind Saxon princes who were fighting against Emperor In 1077. Gregory VII excommunicated several of Emperor's hand-picked bishops Henry IV retaliated by renouncing his oath of obedience to Gregory. + to establish principle that State held responsibility in sphere of temporal affairs. Papacy or Crown—who had supreme authority over Christian community 1122. Papacy became final judge of legal disputes within church ("Cannon Law”) 1200. with central Chancery that coordinated Papal relations with the Bishops and sent out papal legations (similar to royal missions kings used to reinforce their authority over feudal lords). asserting Papal authority over investiture was critical to other reforms When Henry IV ignored Pope's ban on lay investiture + appointed his own bishop for Milan (N Italy). popes tried to strengthen Papal authority over Church + rule Church like kingdom Papacy established bureaucratic structure like other monarchies. all Popes had to have some expertise in cannon law Innocent III. key issue = who had greater authority. while Church held authority in sphere of spiritual affairs The Pope as Monarch • • • • • • • After Gregory VII.