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Time-lapse History of Europe and the Middle East in the Last 1000 Years, Emergence, and Divine Sovereignty
I came across this rather interesting time-lapse map of Europe, Western Russia, and present-day Turkey, where you see the dynamic evolution of human history over the course of a millennia which is still going on right now.
(Also, history is so much more kick-ass with music from the movie “Inception” in the background.)
For a little over a year now we have been studying the history of the Christian Church and delving quite a bit into the history of Europe from ancient times, through the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Empire, and now into the Reformation, so the vast movements in this map should be familiar to those in our group.
I was never much into history, but if you want to be a serious student of theology, a solid knowledge and foundation in history is invaluable to see how ideas and beliefs began and evolved over time, and how everything fits together. Studying history may radically alter your beliefs even.
Also, in my spare time, I’ve been delving into the science of emergence by reading Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson. Here’s an excerpt of the book that I read today that directly relates to history and the map shown above, specifically in terms of information and energy flow as cities, civilizations, and countries grow more and more complex over time.
New Updates: Chapter 16: Perspectives of the True Church (1300 – 1517) – Part I: The Black Death, Purgatory, Indulgences, Jan Hus and the Hussites
New updates can be found here. Lots of new material to go over.
Also, we reached over 1,000 views/hits to this site! Amazing! I’m amazed that people from Russia, England, Norway, and even Saudi Arabia have been checking out this site. I really do hope that Project Augustine and this site will continue to expand and reach more people the world over.
Tonight we had another interesting discussion on various topics. We discussed whether God still sends plagues down to mankind today. For instance, just as people in medieval Europe thought the Black Death was a punishment from God for their sins, in today’s world, can we say the same thing about AIDS being God’s punishment for homosexuality? Many believers still hold onto this belief, even in today’s scientific world. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that this was the case – that God had sent the AIDS epidemic as punishment; how would that effect your understanding of God’s character?
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.
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.
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:
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.