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Elizabethan World View

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Presentation on theme: "Elizabethan World View"— Presentation transcript:

1 Elizabethan World View
An Old World Order

2 What is the EWV? “refinement” of a medieval view of man’s relationship to God that predominates all EWV is expressed in three major ways: the Grat Chain of Beings (vertical), the planes of correspondences (horizontal) and the Dances. We’ll look at just the first two

3 But first, some general background
Man is viewed in a theocentric context, in his relationship to theology Primary conflict/tension is between the present life and the expected after life of heaven, hell or purgatory. Prior to the fall, in what some call the pre-lapserian state, man was unsullied. Since the fall man, while still inhabiting the place between the angels and the beasts, man was seen as having the capability to rise above his station, to be better in a theological or spiritual sense.

4 Some More General Background
High/low split in the Church High church was essentially the Catholic Church (theologically) under the guise and leadership of the Church of England. These are Anglicans. Low church made up of various Puritan sects that wanted to purify the church of it’s papist/Catholic trappings: Wanted a removal of finery, of sacraments such as marriage and confirmation which were not, in their minds, biblically based. Some sought a Presbyterian hierarchy that stopped at the level of bishops. Some wanted Congregational lack of hierarchy, one where each church chose its own minister from among the flock, in which the members of a congregation decided who was worthy of being a full member and receiving communion. Despite these differences, Puritans fundamentally the same in their view of the world and cosmology.

5 Cosmology Universe existed in a fixed system of hierarchies that were modified, corrupted, by the fall of man and the hope of redemption. Within Ptolemaic framework limits of human virtue set and immutable as each sort of human is aligned with a particular planet that governs their behaviors. Pagan systems, which came to influence Christian systems, one prayed to certain Gods for certain things at certain times of the day. Mars, the god of war, was also the god of fire in crafts, such as smiths and cooks and miners. There was a time of day, according to the zodiac, when prayers would be appropriate. At other times, praying to Mars would be wrong.

6 Ptolemaic System Earth is at the center of the universe
To be “earthly” is to be corrupt lower on the chain of the universe, the less divine and more corrupt something was Biblical Justification Psalm 93:1 which says that "The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; / the LORD is robed in majesty /and is armed with strength. / The world is firmly established; / it cannot be moved."  Psalm 104:5 "  He set the earth on its foundations; / it can never be moved."

7 Emerging Models Ptolemaic view dominated,
Many among the educated aware of the Copernican model, the universe and solar system pretty much as we know it Sun at the center of the solar system and the earth and other planets revolving around it. One of the problems this created was that in the fixed system, the sun was the “king” of the plants and the earth was the “dregs,” being at the center of things. Despite this emerging knowledge, many chose to stick with the old notions because of a general unwillingness to upset the system. It went without saying that the earth was at the center of the universe, just as for us many things go without saying, such as we must work to get on in the world, you will get ahead with an education, and so on.

8 Aristotle and Ptolemy's Universe

9 Order! Order is the condition of all that follows.
Order above all else matters Order is the law whereby the eternal (think God) works Order is based on reason, which is God’s law to man, to use reason Natural agents order/follow natural laws (rocks, gasses, etc) Angels follow celestial/heavenly law Reasonable creatures follow the law of reason, laws to which they know they are bound Human law is man made but based on reason and divine law as revealed to man (though how revealed is never specified, but for many it’s the Bible—which is one way of seeing why, still today, so much sway is given to the bible as something of a force of law, why so many look to it for a moral/legal code, even though we are not going to stone adulterers or people who mix cotton and wool in their clothes.

10 Sin Prime concerns: revolt of bad angels, creation, temptation, fall of man, incarnation, atonement, and regeneration through Jesus Christ. An Elizabethan could revolt against but not ignore these notions. Generally thought it was easier to be an atheist than an agnostic then, given something of an all or nothing mindset. Disorder and chaos are the product of sin and man’s continually striving for dominance. The fall alienated man from himself. To regain true self knowledge man must contemplate the works of nature of which he is a part. This feeds the scientific examination of the enlightenment Goes to the dominant view that the era is more secular than it was

11 Platonic Ideal Man is capable of learning which sets him apart form the beasts. Double Vision of Man: fallen but capable of redemption, Allows for sufficient optimism despite the degeneracy of the fall. Virtue remains though in varying degrees among each man and woman. Man can rise above his earthly imperfection and reach toward heavenly perfection. The perfection sought is of a combined Platonic Good and Garden of Eden. (In “form” (Plato’s word,) this exists in the mind of God or as an archetype, apart from space and time), there is perfection/essence. How man envisions form is a step removed from perfection. How man brings this form to being, is yet another step removed from perfection. Everything that exists is a copy of the form/universal/idea and flawed because of it. Adam’s fall is a measure of the distance separating created things from platonic archetypes/universal

12 Chain of Being Conceptually
Every speck of creation is a link in the chain Each link is progressively larger and greater or regressively smaller/lesser Not infinite, but too great for man to fully comprehend Creatures have an assigned place on the chain, which is also something of a ladder hinting at the possibility of change of place Top of each inferior class touches/links with the bottom of the superior class Each class in the chain excels at some single particular in a way a superior class cannot. Though stones are mere matter, they are stronger and more durable than plants; plants are lower than the beasts as they lack sense, but they excel in assimilating nourishment, beasts excel man in physical strength and man excels angels in power of learning. Chain shows a related universe with nothing superfluous and by doing so enhances even the “meanest,” lowest part of creation. The elements (fire, air, water, earth) are not links in a simple chain, but a supplementary chain Higher things are not made up of lower things (but for DNA perhaps, which is a modern notion)

13 Links in the Chain God is the top of the chain, below him the various Angels and ether Upper reaches of the physical universe are connected with the levels of angels. God is domiciled beyond the stars, attended by hosts of angels, the upper most level of them. Intermediate space of lesser heavens, with 9-11 spheres depending upon who you are talking to at the time Sharp division occurs at the moon Above the moon we have the ether (which some saw as the fifth element). The elements are perfectly mixed (and when this is the case in man, he is healthy) Below the moon/sublunary, the air is thick and dirty, the earth is gross and heavy, we have the cesspool of the universe as inhabited by man and corrupted by the fall. Whatever dies was not mixed perfect. Primum mobile is the sphere outside the fixed stars. It is the PRIME MOVER and dictates motions and purpose to the rest.

14 Divine Ranks God Angels
Sits outside the Primum Mobile, putting it into motion Angels Exists within the primum mobile Bridge the gap between god and man Three levels of angels, with three divisions within each level. Echo of the Trinity, all exist within the ether: each ruled in order by the angels named below superior angels pass their divine essence to the lower angels. Contemplative: active in neither potential or deed: Serpahs, Cherubs and Thrones Active in potential, not deed: Dominations, Virtues, and Powers More active, some in deed: Principalities, Archangels, Angels Angels do God’s errands and sometimes take human form when needing to communicate with man (think Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life):   Echo the trinity and correspond to the 9-fold division of the heavens: Primum Mobile (seraphs), fixed stars (cherubs), Saturn (thrones), Jupiter (Dominations), Mars (Virtues), Sun (powers), Venus (principalities), Mercury (archangels), Moon (Angels) and Earth at the center inhabited by man. Angels take shape from the ether

15 Earthly Ranks Existence, life, feeling, and understanding class contains man. Serves as a link between earthly and divine because man has the potential to be divine, but struggles with earthly corruption. Sensitive class Existence, life, and feeling that has three levels Top Animals, having all touch, memory, movement, and hearing: horses, dogs, cats, etc. Middle Animals having touch, memory and movement, but not hearing. Ants are an example. Bottom Creatures with touch but not movement, hearing or memory. Includes shellfish (oysters generally considered the lowest), parasites Vegetative Class Trees, bushes, weeds, plant life in general Inanimate class Elements of earth, water, air, fire

16 And then there is this Humour Season Element Organ Qualities
Ancient name Ancient characteristics Blood spring air liver warm & moist sanguine courageous, hopeful, amorous Yellow bile summer fire gall bladder warm & dry choleric easily angered, bad tempered Black bile autumn earth spleen cold & dry melancholic despondent, sleepless, irritable Phlegm winter water brain, lungs cold & moist phlegmatic Rational

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