Western Civilization II, W1/L5 – The Catholic Church on the Eve of the Protestant Reformation & Luther’s 95 Theses

(1) How would you describe the condition of the Catholic Church on the eve of the Protestant Reformation?     On the eve of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church experienced some conflicting changes. There was a decline in Sunday Mass attendance and the general public seemed to be losing faith in the clergy. However, more dramatic … More Western Civilization II, W1/L5 – The Catholic Church on the Eve of the Protestant Reformation & Luther’s 95 Theses

Western Civilization I, Week 35 – The Catholic Church on the Eve of the Protestant Reformation, and the Political Centralization of Spain

(1) What can we say about the condition of the Catholic Church on the eve of the Protestant Reformation? In the decades leading up to the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church saw a rise in private devotion, and a downfall in the moral conditions of the churchmen. Less and less people attended Sunday seminaries on … More Western Civilization I, Week 35 – The Catholic Church on the Eve of the Protestant Reformation, and the Political Centralization of Spain

Western Civilization I, Week 34 – Girolamo Savonarola, the Italian War, and Louis XI

(1) Discuss the rise and fall of Girolamo Savonarola. Savonarola was a Dominican friar who managed to become leader of Florence through promising to turn Florence into “the City of God on Earth”. He preached against the tyrannical and diabolical Medici family, and was able to lead Florence for a few months as a democratic, … More Western Civilization I, Week 34 – Girolamo Savonarola, the Italian War, and Louis XI

Western Civilization I, Week 32 – Machiavelli

(1) What are some of the qualities and strategies Machiavelli recommends to political leaders in the excerpts you read? How does this represent a break with the past?     Machiavelli’s writings teach not to view politicians as bad politicians because of their lying, deceit, or unpleasantness. In his eyes, a good politician is not one who … More Western Civilization I, Week 32 – Machiavelli

Western Civilization I, Week 30 – John Wycliffe, Hundred Years’ War, and the Great Western Schism

(1) Who was John Wycliffe? John Wycliffe was an English preacher who lived from c. 1324-1384, and he had a bone to pick with the Catholic church. Wycliffe was a Protestant Christian reformist before the term was even really invented, and he fueled the thought of reformists like Martin Luther and John Calvin. In essence, … More Western Civilization I, Week 30 – John Wycliffe, Hundred Years’ War, and the Great Western Schism

Western Civilization I, Week 29 – Philip IV vs Boniface VIII, Defensor Pacis, and the Black Death

(1) What was the significance of the conflict between Philip IV and Boniface VIII?     As with many conflicts between kings and popes, Philip IV and Boniface VIII fought over who got to call the shots. In 1296 Boniface asked all secular rulers to ask him before taxing clergy in their lands. This was a problem. … More Western Civilization I, Week 29 – Philip IV vs Boniface VIII, Defensor Pacis, and the Black Death

Western Civilization I, Week 27 – Gothic Cathedrals, Medieval Towns, and Western Europe’s Economic Success

(1) What was a major innovation of the Gothic cathedral? One major innovation discovered by Gothic architects was that pointed arches were way better than normal arches. Pointed arches could support the roof better because they essentially held themselves up from the pressure of having two straight points pushing hard against each other. Because of … More Western Civilization I, Week 27 – Gothic Cathedrals, Medieval Towns, and Western Europe’s Economic Success

Western Civilization I, Week 26 – Thomas Aquinas, Just-War Theory

(1) How does Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, argue for the existence of God on the basis of the concepts of potency and act (or potentiality and actuality)? Aristotle’s potency and act refers to when something moves from the potential to be something to the actuality of being something. For example, if you have a pot … More Western Civilization I, Week 26 – Thomas Aquinas, Just-War Theory

Western Civilization I, Week 25 – Medieval Times 2

(1) What kinds of developments occurred during the renaissance of the twelfth century? The Twelfth century renaissance was a revival of interest in history, Latin literature, and Roman law. Latin philosophy and literature was being widely translated and read throughout the renaissance. Aristotle’s works were becoming popular and well known, so much so that they … More Western Civilization I, Week 25 – Medieval Times 2

Western Civilization I, Week 24 – Medieval Times

(1) What did the Albigensians believe? The Albigensians believed that the world was dualistic. The universe was a struggle between good and evil. The physical world was the creation of Satan, and therefore corrupt and evil, while the spiritual world was God’s realm. The spiritual world was good, a place for a soul burdened with … More Western Civilization I, Week 24 – Medieval Times