Theology of the Reformers - Lesson 3

Scholasticism, Humanism and Mysticism

In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of the historical and theological context that shaped the Reformation by exploring the key movements of Scholasticism, Humanism, and Mysticism. You will learn about the definitions, purposes, key figures, and the impact of these movements on theology and the Reformation. By analyzing the interplay between these intellectual currents, you will develop a deeper appreciation for the complex factors that contributed to the emergence of the Reformation.
Timothy George
Theology of the Reformers
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Scholasticism, Humanism and Mysticism

TH230-03: Scholasticism, Humanism, and Mysticism

I. Scholasticism

A. Definition and Purpose

B. Key Figures

C. Influence on Theology

II. Humanism

A. Definition and Origins

B. Key Figures and Contributions

C. Impact on the Reformation

III. Mysticism

A. Definition and Characteristics

B. Key Figures

C. Influence on Theology and the Reformation

All Lessons
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights into church history as a theological discipline, the Reformation, key figures, theological contributions, and the lasting impact of the Reformation on theology and the church.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp Augustine's pivotal role in shaping Reformation theology, influencing key figures like Luther and Calvin, and leaving a lasting impact on the church.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights into Scholasticism, Humanism, and Mysticism, understanding their roles in shaping the Reformation and the influences of key figures within each movement.
  • In this lesson, you explore Martin Luther's life and theological contributions, uncovering key events leading to the Reformation and examining the lasting impact of his work on Christianity.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the diversity in the Reformation in Saxony, its theological differences, and its impact on society and modern theology.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into Huldrych Zwingli's life, theology, and contributions, exploring his views on the Lord's Supper, role in the Swiss Reformation and Anabaptist movement, and key writings, while also understanding his lasting impact on the Reformation.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain insights into John Calvin's central role in the Swiss Reformation, his theological contributions, and the lasting impact of his ideas on church organization, education, and social reforms.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into John Calvin's theology, its key components, and its lasting influence on the Reformed tradition and society.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain a deep understanding of John Calvin's theology in Book One of The Institutes, focusing on the knowledge of God, Christ, providence, and predestination, and its impact on Protestant theology.
  • In this lesson, you explore the key themes and insights from Book One of Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion," gaining a deeper understanding of God's sovereignty, human humility, and the centrality of Scripture in Reformation thought.
  • Gain insights into Book Two of Calvin's "The Institutes," exploring the knowledge of God the Redeemer in Christ, sin's nature, law and gospel, and its lasting impact on Protestant theology.
  • By examining Calvin's Farewell Address and other Reformation issues, you gain insight into the key themes and controversies that shaped the theological landscape and learn about the enduring influence of the Reformers.

The leaders of the Protestant reformation built on the thoughts and teachings of scholars who came before them and spent their lives seeking God and explaining his Word.

Dr. Timothy George
Theology of the Reformers
Scholasticism, Humanism and Mysticism
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Lecture three A Theology of the Reformers Scholasticism Humanism and Mysticism, Donne, SCOTUS and the Tradition That he represents. And then we're going to deal with mysticism, and then we'll finish off the day of the lecture with a discussion of humanism with particular focus on various Erasmus. These are all traditions that follow right into the Reformation, and we really can't understand what Luther and Calvin thinking those people are about without realizing this is the world they live in. I grew up in Canada and to some extent reacted against even how they were continuing many of these same things. Now, just a word about Scholasticism. I was getting into this a little bit last week, and I want to refer in my theology to the reformers. There's a section on page 40 and following where I talk about theology in love, and I'm going to refer to that in these opening comments. You may have some questions about it. Basically, what I want you to know about the late Middle Ages and the Reformation as a pre reform movement, I have included here, if you want to go further and deeper, that's fine. But if you understand what I've written here, then you're okay for the purpose of this course. There's obviously much, much more that it ought to be said and has been said about this pre reformation movement of scholasticism. But keep in mind that there was a reaction to Thomas Aquinas. Thomas prior to combining Aristotle's philosophy with Augustine's theology, and he came up with something of a synthesis. It was criticized shortly after his own death. I think I mentioned this last week in 1277, 219 propositions, many of which were advanced by Thomas himself, were condemned by the Bishop of Paris, and his name was Etienne Pierre, because it seemed to him and to many others that Paul almost had gone beyond the teaching of Scripture and had been too lavish in his incorporation of Aristotle's thinking.

[00:02:01] And I mentioned several issues. I think like the immortality of the soul, of the issue, of creation, of the eternity of the world, that Aristotle's philosophy and thought of Thomas, of course, didn't embrace that wholeheartedly. He tried to qualify. It's a difficult thing to do when you take essentially a pagan philosophy, a non-Christian view of the world, and try to bring it into conformity with Christian revelation. Augustine had trouble doing that with Neoplatonism. Thomas had trouble doing that with Aristotelian ism, and when you get to the Reformation, you'll find that Lutheran Calvin are both zwingli less so, but especially Luther and Calvin are reacting against the last issue. And part of that is built on this same feeling they had that Scholasticism gave too much of the score away and was not faithful enough to the pure teaching of holy Scripture and to the biblical revelation itself. Now I mentioned Donne, SCOTUS and William of Ockham. These are the two big names that you need to be familiar with in the late Middle Ages after Thomas Aquinas. Both of these men happened to be Franciscan. Thomas, of course, was a Dominican. Both non scholars. William often were Franciscans. So you got something of a rivalry of orders going on there. Remember, Luther was an Augustinian monk, and I put it in my in my book, the three basic shifts that happened as you move from a domestic Dominican theology to a Scopus Franciscan theology and philosophy in the late Middle Ages. The first was a shift from being to Will I talk about this, but I don't repeat myself too much. But it was a shift from being the primary metaphor of understanding reality to will. And this also, of course, applies to God for Thomas Aquinas, the favorite verse in the Bible.

[00:03:55] I am, that I am. He's talking about that I am, that I am being God years. Whereas for Donne, SCOTUS and the Franciscan tradition, it is God does, God uses God wills. Secondly, there is a shift. This is related to the first one, a shift from metaphysics to meta history. I think about that. Metaphysics is just another name for that which is ultimately real. Another way of talking about this focus on being but meta history is related to what God has done to his will as it's worked out in the course of human events. So a shift from metaphysics to matter history. And the third shift is then from the ideological to logical discourse as a method for doing theology, a shift from ontological to logical discourse as a method for. Theology. If you want to read about this, read my chapter there again and read some of the literature that's listed in the footnotes and in the bibliography. And I think you'll understand that a little bit better than I'm going to have time to explain it. This involved that whole great debate between realism and nominalism. I think you've studied that in some of your philosophy classes. I remember Luther was trained as a nominal producer. He comes out of that be all moderne in the modern way, whereas Zwingli was trained in the old be an equal tradition and part of the clash between those two men on the Lord's Supper and talk about later on in the chapter of my book has to do with the philosophical presuppositions that they are working out now for. Let me quote Stephen Osmond, a man who's written a very good book called The Age of Reform. If you just really hungry to get into this a little deeper than even I do in my book, than read Stephen off on the Age of Reform.

[00:05:58] Stephen Osmond teaches now at Harvard University. Used to be at Yale. He was a and did his Ph.D. at Harvard and has written a very interesting sort of this a survey, really an overview of the late Middle Ages and the Reformation called the Age of Reform, 1252 1550. And this is how he describes the impact of these great shifts that I did on the religious life, the spirituality of the late Middle Ages, but dwelling so intently on God's will rather than his being. William of Ockham created the conditions for a new spiritual anxiety, not the possible nonexistence of God. That was the problem that occupied Thomas. That's why when you study Thomas Aquinas, even in basic philosophy, one on one, they always show you the by proves how you can prove God exists right from, you know, first mover to all this stuff. Well, that's not the problem for often is not so much the nonexistence of God, but the suspicion that he might not keep his word, that he could not be depended upon to do as he had promised, that the power behind all things might ultimately prove to be untrustworthy and unfriendly, that God, in a word, might be a liar. Not God's existence, but His goodness, not the rationality of faith, but the ability to trust God. These became the major spiritual problems of the late Middle Ages and the problems Luther himself dealt with. Remember that place where Luther got in the abyss of despair and goes back to Stanford? And he says, Or there's always a man. You're making it too hard. All you gotta do is just love God. Love God, said Luther. I hated. And what Luther meant by that statement is I don't know if I can trust.

[00:07:50] That was his problem. Well, put that in your pocket and smoke it a little bit. And when we get to Luther, I hope it'll come out a little more clearly. How all of that is so much a part of the background that Luther is bringing to this. There's a question to his own spiritual struggle to find a gracious God. Okay, I said last week I was going to talk about the intellectual, the institutional and the spiritual background of the late Middle Ages. Well, I'm not I'm an archivist here. I'm going to go back on my word. I'm only about the institutional because of time. I want to move on to some other things. You can read about that in a thousand textbooks. Basically, what I had in mind there is the struggle between the papacy and the empire, the breakup of that kind of medieval synthesis that existed for centuries, where there was a sense, something of a harmony between the two. I mean, what you have in the 13th and 14th century is several different popes, each claiming to be the true vicar of Christ. I think we call that the great system. You've got the Babylonian captivity of the church before that, where the papacy is carried from Rome to France to Avignon, and it set up this kind of a system where the papacy is really the captive of the king of France. We've got all of these things competing, and it's causing a great deal of uncertainty and unrest related to the claims that the pope was making. And so that's partly what I mean by the institutional flux that's going on and the various dissenting movements that arose, the weekly fights in England, the other side in Bohemia, All of that is in the background of some of the institutional stress and strain on the church in the late Middle Ages, so that all over Europe there arose this great cry for reform.

[00:09:31] You must have think that this idea that the church needed to be reform began with the Reformation, and it certainly did not. There were many, many reformers calling for a renewal of the church, a correction of abuses in the church. People like Savonarola, who gave their lives preaching against the abuses and the immorality of the papacy. All that is in the background of the institutional crisis of the late Middle Ages. But that's all I'm going to say about that. I think most of you know about that anyway. Perhaps if you had church history with Dr. Bray or something like that, hopefully you'd say that a little bit. What I want to move to now, though, is the spirituality issue, because this has been so directly to Martin Luther and to the issue of the Reformation itself. I point out in in my book that there are two traditions of mysticism in Western Christianity or in the Christian tradition in general. And I think it is really important to get a sense of the difference between these two. The first one we make of voluntary mysticism and the second on the logical. Now, again, these focus on the very few things we've been talking about with reference to the Galactic prediction Wheel and being the voluntary tradition of mysticism goes back all the way to well, to certainly Augustine in the early church. It comes through figures like Bonaventure on that a name you know great theologian of the Middle Ages, a contemporary of Thomas Aquinas. In fact, both Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure died in the same year, 1274. He was a Franciscan. He wrote a biography of Saint Francis, and he also wrote a little book called The Mind's Journey to God, The Mind's Road to God, somehow translated in which he basically set forth the idea of the conformity of the human will to the will of God through various stages of predation, cleansing, illumination, enlightenment.

[00:12:00] And finally, contemplation or vision go through these various state by climbing the ladder step by step. And the whole process goal is to have the will to be conformed to the will of God. That's why we call it voluntarism, mysticism and that wonderful little book. You never read The Mind's Road to God. I commend it to you for your own devotional use. If for no other reason in the same tradition, you would also put Thomas our campus The Imitation of Christ, and you have read The Imitation of Christ, one of the great classics of the world, and certainly still today in print. I don't think it's ever been out of print since the 15th century. It's a wonderful little classic. It's in the same tradition of the bending of the will, making it conform to the will of God through these various pages production, illumination contemplation. However, this, though, of course, Luther. Another name here is Bernard of Largo, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and a great influence on both Lutheran Calvin. But it was really not the voluntary tradition, but the oncological traditional mysticism. That is in the immediate background of Martin Luther's life and work. The key figures here are why, for Eckhart and Johann, How? And finding the German found a new favorite who himself. In fact, one way of referring to this kind of mysticism in the late Middle Ages is to call it German mysticism. Often you find that in the literature of German mysticism. The first book Martin Luther ever published in 15, 16, 1550 before he did his commentary on the world, was a collection of sermons from this German mystical tradition all the theologian white German theology. Now, what's the difference between volunteerism, if that isn't honored in your Thomas on campus? Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and this kind of ontological mysticism that Luther imbibed gobs of gallons of and had a definitive influence on him? Well, let me try to summarize it in terms of three or four major points, and I'm mainly coming here of Monster Impart part.

[00:14:51] I write the power and to reflect the same thing. And there are certain things that he's the big league thinker there. And Cisco are his disciples and proteges. They carry his work further. But it's really Eckhart that is the person who is kind the headwaters of this condition. He was a Dominican theologian. He was a scholastic theologian. He studied at Cologne and Paris, where Thomas Aquinas had taught him. Remember, Thomas was also a Dominican. He himself got caught up in some of this feuding that was going on between the American and the Franciscan order. And he was condemned by Pope John, the 22nd in 1329 as a heretic and then posthumously. I figure if you're going to be condemned, that's way to do that. You know, it's kind of like, ah, you, you know, didn't know he was condemned posthumously after he was dead. Get around to reading my said my good and disinherited member. They condemn me posthumously in 1329 but when he died in 1348. He died of the bubonic plague. What was there in his thinking that finally led the church to condemn him? Well, let me mention four points. Well, I make that very clear. Three point. First of all, he said there is a a point of contact between human beings and God in every human being. There is a body called. This is my third point of contact. I'll give you this German firm. Okay. You know very much. Germany can probably figure out what that means. But the island is so broad and brown, the ground of the soul. They learned there is this core, this citadel, the inviolate center of one's own being, which establishes a direct point of contact between the human being and God. A spark of divinity within every human person.

[00:17:25] Or is part of it the castle into which Jesus enters. That's an image that Teresa of Avila will pick up on a little bit later. And the Interior castle I it's really eckhart's turn to Kathmandu, which is a Hindu. But in order to. You might say, activate and take advantage of this inbuilt ontological structure of the human being that connects you with the divine. You must separate yourself and leave aside all creatures, all creative things. You must get it up and separate yourself from everything that is not God, including your own will, including everything else in the world around you. Number two. That's my point number two. Now, the process by which this, leaving aside all creatures, is what he called the wonderful German word. There's no possible way to translate it into English. Very adequate delight in life. Have you friends like that? Even Herman Cain, even the party. Hard translate anybody? Well, literally, it means letting loose of yourself. I think that's the best way not to trample the life of the let loose, to let go of yourself in letting loose. This is really what I mean. You'll often have to let loose of yourself. And of course, this involved all of the esthetic ritual and the discipline of mortification and, you know, whipping yourself with canes and going without food for days on end and all those sorts of things that you associate with wearing a hair shirt, everything like that. With the late medieval monastic tradition at its most severe and rigorous. And when you read especially south of sermons, this is what he talks about a lot, the kind of process of severe mortification that you go through in order to let go of yourself, then you lose to yourself.

[00:19:46] And then finally, the goal of this event is the birth of the eternal thorn in your soul. Which of course leads then basically to absorption into the unit longer exists, your will is obliterated and you and God are viewed into one reality. Now, how is that different from the Western boundaries traditional over there? The focus, the newness of you always exists. The problem there is your will get your will be conform with the will of God. Over here, the problem is you're being and the goal is the union fusion. Really. The goal is to get rid of you as a person entirely and to have you absorbed like a drop of rainwater falls into the ocean. Another human being. And it's so totally encompassed by the vastness of the sea that it no longer has a distinct identity of its own. It is become one with the earth. That's the goal of this process. You could have done that in Bolivia. Those are the roots of it. I think you're absolutely right. And I certainly didn't invent this out of the whole hall, but he did reintroduce it and he gained a new and a very powerful vocabulary. Now, I won't say what to do about this mystical tradition before we leave it behind and go on to something else. I've already mentioned that the first book Luther ever published was a collection of sermons from his German medical prediction, Polonia Deutsch, which, by the way, is available now in a nice modern English translation in the Library of Western spirituality. And that paperback series adapted through 60 volumes. One of them is that what you're doing? So I'm going to try to follow the canonical Latin formula. They will give Domenica the German, the old.

[00:21:59] If you want to read this and Luther's version, and there you have it. Now, there's a lot in here that Luther is going to build on, especially this point about let him. Luther did them and that was Luther's problem in the monastery with how to get himself off his own back. And of course, he tries all those rituals of going without food, sleeping without blanket in the winter time on his own, for the sound of the shivered to the bone, all those things that he did to bring in himself into let loose of all creatures and let loose of himself so that the eternal soul might be born within himself. But ultimately, though, Luther comes to break with German mysticism. And one fundamental point and leap one, and that's another one on. He comes to see that there is no point of contact, no spark of divinity. There is nothing in the structure of human existence of your being as a man or woman. There is nothing there that is the basis for your connection to God. Now, he's not denying that there is an image of God, and that's point about a lot. But one image of God. And so that's kind of the background here. But that image is, Calvin says, and the one that's been so utterly defaced by seeing the wall that while it's there, it hasn't been obliterated. It offers you no basis for a connection with God. And if you're just depending on your getting to God by being a good human being, he would say the following the natural you're naturally given instincts. Then you're going to be a disaster. We know them. Luther came to see them. He came to see that sin was radical. Sin has separated us from God.

[00:24:05] It had shattered even the image of God that remained after the fall. And therefore, we had we didn't have a leg to stand on. There was no group and no ground in the soul or anywhere else in human beings. So that the only way we can be saved is by God's rescue of us, by God coming to us from outside of ourselves, to establish us, to save us, to justify us by faith alone. Faith, which is not a human possibility. You just have somebody have a job that they misunderstand it, think it's not a human possibility. Faith is a gift of God. Radical and totally other than anything that you can come up with on that day. Look at all that stuff of Luther. Later, I want to show you how this mystical tradition is very much in the background of his own journey. Very important to say that the mysticism does read rightly some of the human condition that would people for letting loose of yourself and not trying to establish yourself in creatures around whatever those creatures are. That's a very important point. Luther always kept the dark. Let goods and features go. There's more to life. Also, with the body, they make the truth. The body. Still, this kingdom is forever. Yeah. So any question? Comment on this mystical background and tradition. I want you to know something about that workflow that you post in the book, son. Well, yeah, one of the reasons I can do that part in 1329, Pope John 27 was that, you know, he was teaching all this mystical the birth of Jesus in the heart of Jesus in the heart. And the good bit of competition and pride of Eckhart was that you emphasized that so much in the way that Eckhart did.

[00:26:05] I mean, what was the problem with it? Why did they condemn him? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. You know, if it is born of your heart. What about the birth back in Bethlehem? Well, that's not important. You. You know that. You know, he never denied that it really happened. He didn't go back that far, but, you know, he bordered on that individual. That's negligible. That's not important. What happened 2000 years ago back in Bethlehem or on the cross. What's important is what happens. And, you know, that's so he played off the what we might call the existentialism versus the historical reality of the Christian faith. And the church rightly saw it. You know, you push this very far. You know, you don't have the gospel of you don't have any Bible to do it. And so even though, you know, this is 575 years before the Reformation, I think the church rightly condemn him, obviously, because he had certainly moved to a heretical position. Whether he intended that or not. There's great debate about that. And, you know, I you know, when I read Eckhart today, there's a lot in there and with a lot of good stuff in there be careful about you're pushing over the line if you're not very, very aware. Now is that all we need to say about mysticism? Okay, I've done scholasticism, I've done mysticism. I now am going to do anything for. Let me say a little bit before I move to Erasmus, which is really the focus of this section of the lecture, and also a little bit about the the general intellectual awakening of this time. And the first thing I want to say is that when we use the word humanism in the context of late Middle Ages, in the Reformation Renaissance, you must not equate this with modern secular humanism.

[00:27:59] Humanism is a bad word for us today, and rightly so, the way it's often used. It means anti-God. It means that human beings are the center of the world, this kind of man centered, human centered thinking. That is not what humanism meant in the Reformation. And this period in some ways is unfortunate. These terms have come to be confused with what they meant by humanism would be much closer to what we mean today when we use the term humanities. All of you have a bachelor's degree, I think of some kind or other. You've taken doubtless courses in the humanities. Sometimes the universities have a college of humanities. Well, what you're talking about there is basically classical studies, at least in this period. That's what they were talking about. They were probably talking about the political correctness of multiculturalism, but that was stuff they had heard on the 15th century, thank the Lord. But they weren't talking about recovering the classical sources of the Christian and Greek and Roman civilizations. So keep that in mind when talking about humanism. Calvin was trained in this tradition. Zwingli was deeply imbibing in this tradition. Luther Lesser. Luther was a classic theologian. Calvin and Zwingli were not a very important distinction between, Well, we'll get to that later. But what's the intellectual background of all of this? Well, keep in mind, of course, that this is the period of discovery and invention. 1492 Columbus fell the ocean blue and discovered by accident, as it were, a whole new world, a new hemisphere. It's hard for us to imagine the impact of the discovery of the new world on this period of history. I think the closest thing we have to it is our space exploration. But it would be almost like, you know, we've been up a space, the craft of Mars and Venus or one of these nearby planets.

[00:29:56] Americans gobbled up a whole new civilization we didn't know existed before with people who are speaking languages and they have all names and temples. Well, this is what it was, what people you know, there was a world over here with people. And so they began to debate with those people have souls if they have soldiers, we send missionaries to. All these things were beginning to be debated now for the first time in recorded history of the world, and then looking beyond the new world to the outer limits of space. Remember Copernicus, the Polish astronomer who overturned the world view of the ancient Greek, tomake system so that the sun was no longer the earth, was no longer the center of the sun became the center, a heliocentric universe, the earth merely one of many small bodies dancing around it. We have yet to incorporate this insight into our language. I mean, two centuries, five or six centuries after we still think today. And one of them about the sun rising and the sun setting, which is a metaphor that only makes sense if the earth is at the center of it all. Four Deeply ingrained was this in the consciousness of the West. Galileo with his telescope, but also the invention of gunpowder, which revolutionized warfare. When you study warfare in the Middle Ages, even the Crusades and things like that, you've got these knights jousting here and there, and it's very civilized. And they dance around so over these funny costumes. But now all of a sudden, you have gunpowder, this explosive force that can be hurled at your enemy and wreak devastating effects and damage in human loss of life. So you have the invention of modern warfare. And of course, from then till now, we've kept modernizing that more and more until we have perfected one half of the nuclear bomb.

[00:32:02] This is just gunpowder carried through. It's exponential of the force of the printing press brought into the West by people like Johannes Gutenberg In Germany. You can still go to Mines. Germany today, where Gutenberg live and they have a Gutenberg museum. They'll show you his printing press and these first Bibles that he began to print. And of course, the effect of all of this revolution in printing was to popularize the results of science. And learning. It was the beginning of a literate culture. And again, to think of what would be comparable, maybe the computer in our century would be somewhat comparable to the effect of the invention of printing in the world. One of the things this meant was that no longer was the realm of reading and learning and studying reserved for those who had studied at the university, this privileged few, the clerics who could read Latin. Now you have the beginning of a national literature in the vernacular language, whether in German or English or French and Italian. And of course, this is what made possible the mass appeal of the reformers around the world. In this one German monk in this little backwater town of Vision, there have such a European wide effect within such a short span of time, a few months, and everybody was talking about that could not have happened a generation or two before. It was because Luther's works were now able to be reproduced and disseminated very quickly across a great network of cities and towns in Europe. And so you have a popular movement and the possibility of a reform of church and society, a nation that before would not have been possible in the same kind of way. Well, all of these things I've been talking about, the inventions, the gunpowder, the printing press, the new popular propaganda all of this is a part of and related to what we call the Renaissance.

[00:34:23] A word, which, of course, literally means rebirth. It's a French word. Renaissance re rebirth. As we use it today. It's a word that came into vogue in the 19th century by a Swiss historian named Yakov Burckhardt, who referred to it in terms of the history of art. And that's really how we feel used. I think, when I think of the Renaissance, I think the great masterpieces of Michelangelo and Rafael and Leonardo da Vinci and all that. It's a term in the history of art, but it was actually first used by a wing of the Franciscan movement. We call them the spiritual Franciscans, because they wanted to restore the life of the church back to its primitive apostolic simplicity, which meant for them radical poverty, living like Jesus, like Francis, probably. And they call that process rebirth renaissance. And they weren't simply talking about being born again. Receiving Jesus in your heart. They were talking about a reshaping of society itself. Certainly when you get to the humanness like Erasmus, that's what he had in mind. Now, the phrase they used to describe all of this, how you how you do that was this phrase I planted back through the sources, back to the fountain, the font, the sources. What sources are we talking about? Well, there was a back to Rome phase of this where the tradition of ancient Rome, Roman civilization was held up as a model. And you have a lot during this period that focuses on the city of Rome. It's no accident that, you know, this is where the greatest art and the architecture of the period was was done in Rome, where Luther landed in 1510 on this great journey he took from Wittenberg across the Alps down to Rome.

[00:36:34] The stand in on marble, the great Saint Peter's that was just then being built. Because the Pope Julius, the second, had decided to pull down the old thing theaters and build on its site a vast new Roman basilica, which is still standing today. They call him the warrior Pope Julius the second because he would lead his troops in battle, actually conquering his enemies and then come back to Rome and preside as the vicar of Christ, which led Erasmus to ask whether he was not more the successor of Julius Caesar. You know, all these Renaissance Pope Sixtus, the sixth innocent, The eighth. Alexander the sixth. I'm not asking you to remember their names. You can look at all that. But they all. Alexander the sixth was such a corrupt pope, He he had bought the papal office by paying off the cardinals. You know, the cardinals accused the new pope of their job. And so when the papal office became vacant, you know, he shelled out the Italian money, lira, so much lira to pay off the Cardinals in order to buy his office. Not only that, you know, he was the father of numerous children. All of them, of course, were born illegitimately, since priests weren't supposed to have wives and get 12 illegitimate children in the building. He was living openly with a mistress, Julia Farnese, who was herself a married woman. Her husband had been appeased by the gift, the various castles that had come from the holdings of the Pope. Even the Vicar of Christ in Rome. So this back to Rome thing, there was there's a great irony here. You've got this wonderful movie, inspirational architecture and art and the spirit of the age. It's still new to you today when you go to Rome and you have alongside of that some of the most corrupt and lax kind of Christian leaders that the church has ever known.

[00:38:49] Right there in the new. But from the standpoint of the humanists, what they wanted to do was to get back beyond all of that. They were as offended by that as some of the later Protestants were. At least some of what they wanted to do was to go back and recover ancient Latin literature. Cicero. Tacitus, Seneca. The first book Calvin published was a commentary on a treatise of the Roman philosopher Seneca. And by going back to this earlier, pure their mind source of and classical antiquity, this beautiful, ornate Latin language, they felt that they could have a reforming effect on the world around them in a better more moral direction. That's what they wanted. That was serious stuff. But there was also a back to Athens phase of this renaissance. I mentioned back to Rome that focused on the ancient Latin literature, the fact that that point for a thousand years, but finally it fell through in 1453 to the armies of the Ottoman Turks, Suleiman the magnificent that the leader of the Ottoman Turks and with the fall of Constantinople, then you have leading to the west Greek scholars, bringing with them manuscript precious manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts are of the Bible. Some of them are of the ancient early church fathers. All these wonderful things that had been lost to the West for a thousand years and more were now suddenly being brought by these fleeing scholars from Constantinople to Rome to Florence to Basel. So that there is a revival of interest in Greek and the study of Greek as a language and a study of Greek philosophy. Plato, I mentioned how big Aristotle was in the 13th century with Thomas Aquinas. But now Plato comes back and in the city of Florence there is a whole, well, we call it the Platonic Academy.

[00:41:05] It was really a group of scholars that would meet together to read these ancient texts of Plato and the platonic philosophers and study them. So all of this was in the air back to Athens. Now there's a third phase. The one I'm making is a long time before I go back to Jerusalem. After Rome, After Athens. Now back to Jerusalem. There was nothing specifically Christian about either Roman or Greek classical antiquity. But even here with pagans, right, Cicero and all Plato, he's gone. But now there is in the same spirit as I've gone back to the fourth, in a desire to get back to the biblical sources, to the Greek New Testament, to the Hebrew Old Testament, no less focused on Hebrew than Greek at first. In other words, there arose a specifically Christian kind of humanism. It was marked by four things. One a dislike of scholastic theology. That was not invented by the reformers. People like Erasmus used to make fun of these scholastics, you know, speculative theology. They also had a sense of history as the second thing, a sense of history, what we call today, the modern discipline of history was really born during this period of time. People like Petrarch and others who began to really investigate and study deeply the records of ancient antiquity. And they began to get what I talk about in that first lecture, a sense of perspective on the past. Second or third, I'm sorry. These are all the characteristics of a kind of Christian humanism. One, they didn't like the life that theology, whom they had. There's a new sense of history. And three, they focused on rhetoric more than logic. The blasted system opponents, even Optimates voters, all that have been heavily influenced by a logical way of thinking and doing theology.

[00:43:22] But what really interested the humanists was those logical structures of thought, the villages and and all of that. It was the ability to move people through rhetoric, move them to action. And so you can see why there will be, in the Reformation a strong revival of preaching, which is tied very much to the same thing, the spoken word. Luther said The church is not a house, it's a mountain and nothing we re going to do right and take notes like you do in a lecture. It's a place where the word of God is spoken and heard and people are moved. And for growing out of these first three, the Christian humanists were not ivory tower scholars. It may seem that way to us today because they were involved in recovering these obscure ancient texts and brushing them off and practicing their Latin. That seemed all just a little bit much for most modern people. But in fact, all of that was a means to an end for them. What they wanted to do was very practically motivated. They wanted to change the world. They wanted to reform society. They wanted to reshape culture in terms of the ancient, both classical and Christian virtue. In fact, The Book of Virtues that William Bennett edited is a perfect classical example in our century of what these humanists were trying to do in the 16th century. 15th century. Now. When we come back after our break, I'm going to have a surprise for you. So let's be back at ten after court. Can we do that? Even though you just come in, you really didn't have to do it. What? I don't know what we can do. In my mind, the fact that you are mine at all before.

[00:45:36] That's right. Right to the point where if I ran, we're going to have a little play now using Erasmus own words. This is from exquisite little book, a play that he wrote called Julius Exclusive. It was very critical of the pope. I hope you know, he saw him one day. He was going down to Italy and he got run off the road by his previous owner. And he looked up there at the head of them with the Pope Julius. And so not long after that, Julius died, Hope. And so Erasmus wrote this little play called Julius Exclusive. The idea is that Pope Julius had died and gone to heaven. And there he's confronted at the pearly gates by Saint Peter, who won't let him in. And this dialog that we're going to reenact for you, just a little snippet of it is from that play. And he kind of showed some of the things that were going on in the in the papacy and in the culture at the time that the particularly the Christian humanists like Erasmus just took off with. Now, let me introduce the players. Nathan Fleming, our famous dramatist, is going to play the voice of Saint Peter. Every time Peter out of the gate, I'm going to be Julius, the Pope, who's trying to get in and hear Sandra. That is going to be the spirit. I was curious kind of a well, how would you say the spirit has very few lines in this play, in this section of the play, but they are extremely important, like don't listen to the voice of the spirit when the spirit speaks. Hear what she said, because it's very interesting. So we're going to start I'm going to this we're going to be seated.

[00:47:22] An idea that you're going to and get. I'm into the spirit of let me get you to hear them from your spirit people over there. Peter, they are not mine. And they're both saying that, okay, if you're into this guy and he's going up the hill and he's trying to get in, what the devil is up the gate, not open. Someone is monkey with the law. Maybe you have the wrong group. You got the power. Well, if the only way I ever had, I'll bang Hey for her. Are you asleep or drunk? Immortal. God, what a bitch. I think that is Frank, but I think it's up. Who are you? Have you think this piece? The Triple Crown. The Paul Williams sparkling with you? It doesn't look like the Q Grace gave me. How should I know? The crown, which no barbarian pirate ever dared to wear. As for the gems and jewels, I kept them under my feet. Come on now. I am Julia Longoria. And I suppose you know these two letters pointing to my good he. If you can read, has this maximum. Oh, pontifex maximus. I don't care if you're Mercury Christmas gift unless your wife is saintly. I believe for centuries you've been only a saint. Peter and I have been most saintly, sometimes with 6000 balls to prove it. You are called substituting words. But are you saying that you don't look at Catholic Obama? I savage now insulted or had brazen eyebrows triggered by epochs, by debauchery reeking with drink a shambles of a man. I suspect you're Julian the apostate back from hell. If you are hoping I'll break you in a lightning of communication, the bull is ready. Well, I never heard anything like that from grace.

[00:49:17] What authority have you to excommunicate meat grinder If a priest did even that kill your merits? No entry without merit. That you talk it through doctrine and the busybody. The friars look after that. Have you one soul by willingness to Christ 20 to hell Have you worked miracles? There have been had Pray bastard. This is going nowhere. To the perfect here, fishermen. All of the better. The myth, the invincible Julia. But I tell you, I'm a ligurian and not a Jew like you. I was nephew to pope, to my industry. I gained wealth and my wealth became a part of all. I had the French pox, but I never lost hope. You are terrified about how much work. He promised me the Triple Crown. And I've got it can't be helped. Partly by incredible bribery with some borrowed usury. I made it in the church in Christ, and all three have never owed so much to anyone is to me. What do you put on that? To increase the revenue. And it's bologna. We've been in Iraq forever. I spilled the print and would have expelled the Spaniard and come up here with a few thousand of the French. I broke free to the celebrated, gorgeous triumphs. I built sumptuous embassies and left 500,000 ducats in the territory all the if I did not buy my bird. I don't know who my father was. Not by my learning. I had none. Not by my popularity. I hated to knock on my lemon. I was taught in Rome. I was regarded as more of a God than a man. Well, now, what is this rabble? Along with even the soldier that died fighting with me, I promised in heaven if they would. These are the ones who tried to crash at the gate a while ago.

[00:51:05] I. I've met only those who for the naked beat the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, the sick and those in prison. Incidentally, why do you call yourself a Liberian? Does the family, of course, there make any difference? Well, my country. And I'm afraid of them, you know. I'm surprised the papacy does not. After in my day, it was hard to get even priests. In the course of your day, you had only facts, individuals and perhaps today bishops are more me. Now, why did you attack the world is a radical would think about this about me. It was hard for me to speak with whom? Why? Well, I needed the revenue. Why did you arrest Ferrara? Why do you do that? For my son. Would popes with wives and son? No, not wives. Is it possible to get rid of a pope save for murder? Parricide, fornication, incest, Some of these? Definitely. The last week now and 2000 more. And still. No. You can be deposed only for heresy. And he determined no. Well, then the only recourse seems to be that the people should rise up with stones and that this part of the world. Another question Why do you suppress the counsel of Peter the other day? They wanted to reduce the popular church to the injury of the Apostles. Tell me again, what have you done for the church? I found the church for I made a splendid with regal palaces, splendid horses. The new route. The servant army officers are perfectly good people. But no. Now, the church was not like this. When you value Christ in the old days, when you starve to death, three times between the Roman conquered is vastly different than when you really had to name.

[00:52:59] Now you can see that the palace is thousands of Greek bishops and armed purple cardinals, legions of attendant horses, more than regal view in Golden Gem, showered with gold and silver. You can see the Pope Herod in a golden chair by his soldiers with the crowds adoring the waves. And all of you, all the Roman pontiff placing the golden crown on the head of the Emperor. Even I'll be only the shadow of me. What would you say if you saw that? If you could have witnessed my triumph? Bologna and Rome. What practical areas? The fourth is truth. Commonly void 14 is flattering. This is being part of bishops. Pride of cardinals problems is shall really the heavens truth is wearing coins. Talk to the crowd and we will buy a dog. We often hear of it all. Oh, you would say that the old nose and ability were quality compared to the holy night speak of the city has gone to the Prince to be applauded. The king is getting fighting. The war is but a shipwreck. Jamie Vineyard. But these are the glory to the Christian general. I listen to the chief pastor of the church. Have you never told how the church began in Greece and was established with the by war? What it like? Well, with it, my you know, indeed, it was my favorite, the blood of the martyrs, including mine by prison and by strikes. You think the church is increasing the priest to throw the world into turmoil? You consider it flourishing when drop of debauchery, Franco enjoying vices without reproof, and when the grand robberies and various conflicts are justified by the princes and doctors at the defense of the church. Well, Saint Peter refuses, admit it. And so Julius goes away, saying that when more soldiers arrive, he will knock down the gates of give our.

[00:54:51] Now, I have to tell you, Erasmus probably did this anonymously, Didn't have his name on it, but then it began to circulate around, you know, that sort of thing. And everybody was chuckling. If you read Julian's exclusive and everybody Oh, yeah, Erasmus wrote that, you know, somebody asked him, they said, Erasmus, did you write Julius exclusive? And you know what? He said, You would think that I would do such a thing. So he actually kind of denied, although later on we found out that I did find was there, but a manuscript was found of Julius expenses in his own handwriting. And if the original copy was found in Trinity College, Dublin, where he is today, going it. And so he admitted, you know, the game was definitely done. Well, you know, he was that kind of person. He was himself trained as a monk. What whatever little bit about him now and completing part of the lecture today, because we're dealing now with a person who was a real contemporary of Luther in Pelham. Joseph Laws was a famous Roman Catholic historian earlier this century. And he came up with a famous line that Erasmus laid the egg that Luther had. And that is probably true in many ways, although the difference between the two was also vast, as we shall see. But what what Mort meant by that phrase Erasmus laid the egg of Luther Hand, was that Erasmus was guilty of questioning, of being skeptical not only about the abuses in the papacy, but about many other things that were going on in the church as well. And he sort of opened the door that Luther and Zwingli and Calvin and these other reformers rushed into Erasmus was born in Holland. He was he was a Dutch by birth, Erasmus of Rotterdam.

[00:56:39] And here's an interesting story. We don't know exactly when he was born because we have good reason to believe that he lied about the date of his birth, either born in 1466, but 1469. And the reason he lied about his birth is that we now know for sure that he was the illegitimate son of a Dutch priest and he was trying to cover up this rather sordid fact of his origin. His father and mother had both died. However, they were swept away in the plague, the bubonic plague that was sweeping through Europe at that time. And so Erasmus and his brother and brother were sent off to the brethren of the common life. This was kind of like a form of elementary education. It was a place where children could go and learn not only the basics of Latin, but also been trained in a kind of pieties of the day. It wasn't the sort of mysticism we were talking about, but the comic against the Imitation of Christ comes out of this tradition. They were trying to follow the example of Jesus, who didn't have a great deal of speculative theology, but they provided the basics of education for many young people in Europe, including literally, that they had a school run by the brother of the common life. But when Erasmus became 16 years of age in this phase of his education was over, the problem came up. What next? Well, one of the options, one of the few options that he had was the monastery, and that's the one he chose. He spent six years in the monastery. And so a lot of this criticism of the church stems from the time that he had been a monk, Luger reports also was a monk.

[00:58:28] But here's a big difference. Luther entered the monastery in order to save his soul. Erasmus became a monk. In order to be able to use the Find the Library of the month in order to enlighten his mind. Well, he didn't like monasticism, and so when he ended Don't Live Here, he became the secretary to a bishop. This allowed him to go to Paris. There he studied theology, studied with scholastic theologian. Later, he was very critical of Scholastic. He said it all. Scholastic teachers at the University of Paris reminded him of a character he had once read about in a Greek legend, a character named Epidermidis, who went to sleep for 37 years, except that he didn't wake up and said some of his professors, all they did was sit around. And this is how he reportedly talked about these arcane questions Could God have become incarnate in an ass or a pumpkin in court? The things we were talking about before. And he objected not only to the sort of obscurity of these debates and the thing to him, but he objected to the presupposition which way behind these questions, if God can do anything? Absolutely anything. And he made black lives. Can he make right wrong? Can he make the path not to have in the past so that a harlot could be a virgin? Erasmus objected to this. France, on the omnipotence of God, will God coming out of this gilded tradition. Erasmus said Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, even God. So his great summary of theology was Let God be good. Let God be good. They impose some limitation on divine power. Later on in his great exchange with Luther bondage to the will. As we read that, I think at the root of it, Luther will summarize his view of the situation in a different way not let God be good, but let God be God.

[01:00:49] There is a great difference between these two. Well, Erasmus spent six years in Paris. He still didn't have a doctor's degree for all his effort. The bishop, under whose auspices he was supposedly working during this time, was beginning to think that this Erasmus guy was becoming a professional graduate student. And so he cut off his time because of what some of your husband or wives think. Radical Erasmus began to think up tutoring in order to keep bread on his plate. One of his students, William Englishman, named Lord Mountjoy, who invited Erasmus to go with him to his country estate in southern England. And so in 1499, why did the turn of the 15th and 16th century? Erasmus made his first trip across the English Channel to England, the first of five trips he would eventually make to that country. And we have a letter that he wrote back to a friend in France. And Paris said, Oh, you would scarcely know your Erasmus here in England. He has become a courtier. He rides in the chase. And if you knew the sweetness of the kisses of these English lips, you would fly over the channel by Eagle, even if you had to go. Well, it doesn't exactly sound like somebody that's worried about the salvation of his soul. And a good man ought to be interested in the English business. Well, at Oxford, he met Sir Thomas more, a counselor to the Queen, and also John Collett thief, who later was the dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London. And of course, they flowered a lot of attention on him. And it was really Collett who persuaded him to not only deepen his study of the Latin classes, that's why he had major known, but also to begin to delve into the Greek language and especially the Greek New Testament.

[01:02:46] And so Erasmus mastered the Greek language and became one of the great Greek scholars of that period. And along with this, he also began to study of platonic philosophy and thinking. And this was always very much an important thing in his in his way of thinking. Erasmus had a great influence on England. I referred to that already. And one of the things that, of course, Bingley and the Puritans that follow out of that tradition and the way that wing of the reform tradition are very leery about giving too much attention to the visual and to the sense of everything and smashed the organs in the churches and the images because they were fearful that that could lead to a dog and that they would be kicked off if they'd come into this one divinity chapel and seen these paintings. They were much like, you know, the Quaker meeting and the fact that the congregation was meeting of the Puritans and they were bare white walls. Well, Erasmus was very much in that same way of thinking. No focus, too much focus on the sacraments, abolish all of these things that might help or might tend to come between you and a direct relationship to God. In 1515, Erasmus published a collection of letters of Saint Jerome, and also in that same year, he published a new Latin translation of the Greek New Testament, which he edited and published at Basel, Switzerland, in 1516. Now, this was a very important event in his life because not only his life, but the life of the Reformation, this great New Testament that he published in 1516. It was the first modern critical edition of the Greek New Testament. And those of you that study Greek now at Peace and Divinity School, owe a debt to Erasmus because he invented the science of textual criticism that we still build on today.

[01:05:02] And the very text you read and study in your New Testament Greek classes. Of course, it's a long way from what Erasmus did, but it's evolved over the centuries. From that very process. He began taking the manuscripts. He would collect them wherever he could find them all over Europe, in the universities. He said he knows every university in Europe. We've been collecting these manuscripts, some of which have come back from Constantinople after the fall there in 1453, and he would take them and compare them one by one by one until he reached what he thought was the best and the earliest Greek rendering or text. And that's what he included in his 1516 edition of the Greek New Testament. Now, this was an ongoing process. He came back out again in 1590 with a second edition of the New Testament, and this was the one that William Tindale used in 1522 when he translated the New Testament into English. Famous event in Reformation history and Purchase Day of English New Testament, which really lies behind the King James version of the Bible 100 years later in 1611. Much of the huge percentage of Tyndale translation finds its way eventually into the King James version. Well, Tindale was using Erasmus Greek New Testament when he made that translation in 15.2, actually, probably 1525 began working on 1520. Not only that, but Luther also used the Erasmus Greek to test it, and this had an enormous influence on Martin Luther and his understanding of the past. When you go into the chapel, look at the Luther panel, which is the last of the panel showing him posting the 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg in 1517. And it has there in Latin, the first of the 95 theses and what it says what theses number one of the 1942 is that when our Lord in Master Jesus Christ and repent, he meant that the entire life should be one of penitence toward God.

[01:07:27] Well, the Latin that the Vulgate Latin edition that had been used for, I guess, hundreds and hundreds of years. I translated that praise of Jesus for the people would happen to him. They translated like this in a thin film. Our agree with literally being do penance. But Luther now reading Erasmus Greek New Testament, became to that verse in Greek and Jesus came preaching method, not ethic. Right. Change your mind. Repent. It wasn't do penance. It was a train that involved you. And not just the single act that you did in going to a priest, but it was something that involved the conversion of your soul and your life. And it extended throughout the whole time of your life. And so Luther's 95 theses was itself grounded on a fresh reading of the New Testament, using Erasmus recasting lauded masters, and then again to moderate. And what he really said was not do penance, but within the kingdom of heaven. Let me. Well, somebody sent Rasmus a copy of Luther's 95 theses, and Erasmus passed it on to Sir Thomas Moore, his friend in England, with a note. I don't see much wrong with it. He's a little hard on purgatory, but, you know, remember, after all, the guy who wrote Julius Exclusive, he couldn't complain much against Luther's criticism of the papacy. I mean, Luther had said in there, you know, if the pope had authority over purgatory, you know, you are open the door and let everybody out. You know, just fear breeds boredom. Charging a little bit of money in indulgences is a little part of purgatory. But but basically, he said, you know, he's right. He agreed with Luther's protest against the abuses and the corruptions in the church. And for a long time, people wondered whether or not Erasmus would fight with Luther and his revolt against the Church of Rome.

[01:09:50] And there's no doubt that Erasmus was the man in the good. He was a moderate. He did not like conflict. And, you know, he he didn't like it on either side. He didn't like on either extreme. Maybe he didn't like it when he went into his Catholic circles and he heard his Catholic friends saying, oh, if I could get my teeth into the God of Martin Luther, I would not hesitate to go with bloody mouth to the altar to partake of the body of our God was saying that kind of thing. I don't know that too much, but I don't want to be a part of it. I don't want to be a. Somebody's a killer, a murderer. Cornerbacks. But on the other hand, you know, when Luther's all the Pope is Antichrist, he goes right to hell. In so many words, that was too much to refuse. Didn't go with that. And so for the rest of his life, he was a very lonely person. He was a man without a denomination. So of course, he never left the Roman Catholic Church. Some people said that if he had taken a stronger stand against Luther, made a cardinal and just kind of offered that. But he didn't do it. But he did. A tackle on one issue had nothing to do with Luther's view of the papacy, Luther's view of indulgences, none of that. The one issue that Erasmus came down against Luther on had to do with his Augustinian theology, his view of the bondage of the will. And so Erasmus wrote a treatise against Luther, called on the freedom of the will or own free choice. Luther responded in 1525 with his famous on the bondage of the will. And when you read these two, three, two things here you see two great minds locked in a constant battle of massive proportions, debating the sovereignty of God, the free will of human beings, responsibility and so forth.

[01:11:49] They never after that exchange in 1525, they never wrote and spoke to one another again. They went their separate ways. And Erasmus died in 1536. He died in the city of Basel, Switzerland. He died in 1536 in the very year that in that same city, a young French refugee published the first edition of his great work. If you're all reading the Institute, understanding it for a brief moment, then the nearest Erasmus and John Kelly breathe the same air, walk the same streets of the city of Basel. And yet they represent two very different traditions and ways of reformation. You'll have occasion as we get both into Zwingli and to Calvin and Olympia, come back and revisit Erasmus again, no doubt the most brilliant scholar of the Reformation, but in some ways also the sense of that entire period. All right, I'll see you next week.