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Christmas in the Middle Ages

Merry Christmas everyone!

Here’s an interesting article about the origins of Christmas and how it was celebrated during the Middle Ages.

(excerpt from the article):

Meanwhile, the new religion of Christianity was also developing a series of their own special days, and around the year 300, it was decided that a feast day would be held in honour of Christ’s birth.  Unfortunately, the actual date of Jesus’ birth was not recorded in the gospels or any other early Christian writings.  Since it was a common practice at the time for emperors to celebrate their birthdays on dates abitrarily chosen, it was decided to pick a date for Jesus’ birthday, and December 25th was selected. The theological basis for this date was that it fell exactly nine months from March 25th, which was believed to be the day on which the world was created, and would also be the date of Christ’s conception.

Read the article here.

Why study Thomas Aquinas?

In Chapter 12 of Prof. MacCulloch’s book, he went over one of the great “doctors” of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas.

In this clip, Dr.Simon Oliver from the University of Nottingham discusses why he devotes so much attention to the medieval Dominican theologian, Thomas Aquinas (1225-74); he argues that when someone today comes to grips with his thought, that learning experience trains one to think theologically.

Also added a link to the “Resources” Page for the University of Nottingham’s youtube channel. Great talks with professors about Christian theology, philosophy, church history, and religion.

New Update: Chapter 12: A Church for All People? (1100 – 1300)

New updates here for Chapter 12.  Please read our submissions.

We will be on break until January.

“Gay Reformers? Why the Medieval Church Banned Priests from Marrying”

In Chapter 11 of MacCulloch’s book he wrote about how clerical celibacy became mandatory (mostly due to fears of land ownership by the Church).

Here’s some additional material about other possible reasons for clerical celibacy and homosexuality in this article:

http://www.medievalists.net/2013/12/17/gay-reformers-why-the-medieval-church-banned-priests-from-marrying/

Chapter 12: A Church for All People? (1100 – 1300)

Hey everyone,

Next Wed. we will meet for the final PA meeting for 2013 when we will go over Chapter 12: A Church for All People? (1100 – 1300).

As we discussed last week in our meeting, please select and choose one topic to write on and let everyone know before the end of the week what topic you will be writing on.

This way, we can avoid having multiple writings on the same topic.

Bellini, Giovanni – “St. Francis in the Desert” c. 1480, The Frick Museum, NYC

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The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross

Great video documentary about the Crusades (most of which MacCulloch doesn’t go into in his book). I like that it gives both sides of the conflict with interviews of Islamic historians.

Though it’s 3 hours in length, it’s quite fascinating from beginning to end.

Chapter 11: Part II – The Age of the Crusades (1060 – 1200)

New responses posted here on Chapter 11: The Age of the Crusades (1060 – 1200).

Chapter 11: Part 2 – The Crusades, Indulgences, Knights Templar, Cathars, Cistercians, and Mary, the Mother of God

Hi everyone,

We’ll go over the second half of Chapter 11 of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years beginning with the section titled, “The Age of the Crusades (1060 – 1200)”.

We’ll cover one of the darkest and bloodiest periods in Christian history – or world history in general – the Crusades.  Just in time for the upcoming holidays!

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