Presentation on theme: "After the Greeks: Christianity and the Rise of the Roman Empire 100 B.C. to 1450 A.D. represents a critical period of transition in the development of."— Presentation transcript:
After the Greeks: Christianity and the Rise of the Roman Empire 100 B.C. to 1450 A.D. represents a critical period of transition in the development of Western thought and civilization. This period of time spans the Roman Empire overtaking the Greek Empire (100 B.C. to 400 A.D., the post-Roman-Empire “Dark Ages” (400 A.D. to 1000 A.D., and the not-so-dark “Middle Ages” (1000 A.D. to 1450 A.D.)
Roman Empire (100 B.C. to 400 A.D.) The Roman Empire was a time of plenty - a world of much progress and wealth. If you see an old structure in Europe, and it is not a castle, the Romans probably either built it or conquered it. Intellectual pursuits, however, were not a priority for he Romans. They became a hedonistic society where ‘romantic’ pursuits constituted the Roman version of the “good life”.
A Paradigm Shift Occurs Our understanding of human nature remained based primarily on Aristotle’s teachings until the birth of Christ and the development and spread of Christianity. In fact, the embracing of Christianity and its values marks the formal beginning of Western Civilization.
Core Christian Beliefs 1.The presence of one God who created the universe and everything in it. 2.The notion that Christ is Devine – It is through His grace that our salvation is possible. 3.Belief in the Holy Trinity >God the Father >God the son > God the Holy Spirit
Concept of the Trinity The concept of the Trinity was debated among Christian and not reconciled until the fourth century. The controversy centered on logic of a three- in-one notion, or x = 3x, and especially the Holy Spirit, the means by which God could guide us, make His presence known to us, and He could hear and answer our prayers.
PLOTINUS (205 – 270 A.D.) Proposed a new subjectivism based on neo-Platonism. Plotinus took Plato’s notion of Pure Form and converted it into a new concept of the Psyche or “spirit”. For him the soul was a substance separate from the body and existing without regard to spirituality, a concept refined later by St. Augustine.
PLOTINUS (continued) Provided the strongest philosophical support for the existence of the soul. Although not a Christian, his teachings provided the intellectual foundation for a Christian philosophy and Psychology. -- one of the first statements on the presence of a sprit apart from the body. -- the concept of the spirit is later transformed into the mind. -- the study of the so called ‘mind’ dominates psychology for centuries to come.
PLOTINUS (continued According to Plotinus, there are different grades or levels of being: the soul is superior to the body, and the other grades are superior to the soul.
PLOTINUS (continued For Plotinus, the soul is immaterial, evolves from the body, but existed apart from it. Functions of the soul: – perceiving the world – reflecting and thinking about what was known – pure contemplation, transcending the physical to focus on eternal & timeless matters
St. Augustine (354 – 430 A.D.) Dismissed pagan science in favor of an intense focus on the non-material world. True knowledge comes from God, not from the study of the world of nature. – This constitutes a complete reversal of the Greek naturalistic doctrine. St. Augustine’s view of man dominates philosophy until the start of 4th century.
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 ) Studied under the great Albertus Magnus, who among other things, advocated the peaceful coexistence of science and religion. Greatest work was Summa Theologica Extrapolating from his writings, psychology would fall somewhere between a discussion of the six days of creation and a study of the original innocence of man. Confirmed Aristotle’s ideas as presented in De Anima. Assimilated Aristotle’s pagan & naturalistic ideas within the framework of a Christian Doctrine. – Aristotle’s reason became the Christian soul.
Aristotle and The Soul Searching for happiness: Three competing views Life of pleasure and contentment Life of wealth and honor Virtuous life. Sole constraint placed on these conceptions of happiness is that if happiness is the end of all human action, then it must be complete, i.e., self-sufficient, such that nothing more can be added to happiness to make it more complete. If something more can be added to this notion, then we have not discovered the ultimate end of all human action.
Aristotle and The Soul (continued) The upshot of this way of thinking is that only the virtuous life can complete your reason for being. All the other notions lack something that is only found in the virtuous life. Division of the virtues: Intellectual and the moral virtues The intellectual virtues are those that we acquire naturally, by exercising our native curiosity and are perfections (fruits) of our rationality. The moral virtues are those that we acquire through learning and personal growth; they require the use of desire and reason in order to develop our sociability.
Aquinas and The Soul The soul was not part of the body; we have a body and a soul. The purpose of the soul is to understand God and our relation to Him. Major ontribution to modern psychology: dualism (mind and body).
Dark Ages (400 to 1000 A.D.) Begin with the fall of the Roman Empire, which includes the pillaging and destruction of Greco-Roman universities and libraries. With the end of the Greco-Roman stability, and lack of any other stable government, this period of time is regarded as mysterious, or “Dark,” by historians. The Catholic Church becomes the most stable entity, but strongly upholds doctrine to remain separate from “worldly affairs” (government).
Emperor Constantine In 312 A.D., Constantine has a vision of the cross, then wins a major war. This causes him to convert to Christianity, despite the fact that most Christians reject the divinity of rulers. Soon after, he signs the Edict of Milan to make Christianity a tolerated religion.
Emperor Constantine (continued) In 325 A.D., Constantine is distressed to find out that Christians have conflicting teachings about Jesus, and proceeds to convene a meeting of bishops from around the empire to settle their differences. The bishops debate, and agree on a set of definitive conclusions, including the divinity of Jesus. Defying any of the conclusions is treated as heresy. The meeting of bishops is a precursor to formal establishment (recognition) the Catholic Church.
The Constantine Rumor Constantine was hoping that Christianity could re-unite the Roman Empire. – The western half (which is now synonymous with ‘Western Civilization’ and the Catholic Church) was weakening from internal power struggles. – The eastern half (which is now synonymous with the Byzantine Empire and Orthodox Christianity) was stable and wanted to separate from the western half.
Constantine’s legacy Christianity became a religion of formally documented beliefs (creeds) as decided by a council of religious leaders. Differing beliefs, even within pre-existing Christian churches, became heretical beliefs. Christianity was given organizational centers in Rome (now the Vatican, home of the Pope and the Catholic Church), and Constantinople (now Istanbul, home of the Greek Orthodox Church ).
After Constantine Roman Empire is formally split in two. Eastern half becomes Byzantine, and Orthodox Christianity becomes a naturalistic religion in the spirit of the Greek intellectuals. Western half remains Roman Empire, and Roman Catholicism becomes more spiritualistic.
Middle Ages (1000 – 1450 A.D.) Symbolized by the beginning of the Crusades During Crusades, Western Civilization is reunited with the works of Greek intellectuals, as well as subsequent Muslim scholarship such as al-Gebra (variable math), al-Gorithms (problem-solving devices), and al-Chemy (early chemistry), as well as the number “zero.” But, the Western world, which addresses “worldly affairs,” still lacks stability.
Just Before the Renaissance: Catholicism and Civilization Disputes involving Catholicism were resolved by the council of Bishops (later, Cardinals), who debated and resolved strictly-spiritual religious conflicts. Even today, doctrine conflict resolutions are “final” (unless changed by a new council). This creates the “right or wrong” culture within the Catholic Church. As the most powerful entity in Europe, the Catholic Church’s culture of spiritual “right and wrong” became synonymous with morality in Europe.
Catholicism and Oppression From 400ad to 1450ad, most European societies had little alternative to the stability provided by the Catholic Church, thus they discarded or hid their worldly affairs. Empiric order is replaced with spiritual order. Ignoring worldly affairs, though, made societies more dependent on Catholic Churches. The history of Judaism in the middle ages is largely a history of persecution from other religions and of reliance on supernatural explanations in the world.
Catholicism and Oppression (continued) The Catholic Church takes over more tax-free land, builds more churches and schools (spiritual educations), gets more money. Upside view. Nations have less taxable land, fewer public schools, fewer worldly-minded scholars, merchants and laborers, and less goods. Downside view. Intellectual “oppression” had to do with the unwavering position that spiritual knowledge is superior to all other forms of knowledge.
Intellectual Oppression Intellectual pursuits of knowledge derived from the natural world were generally discouraged if not oppressed. Priority of spiritual interests had specific and significant consequences on scholarly pursuits: – Natural theories are irrelevant – Natural causes are insignificant – Spiritual conclusions overrule natural conclusions
Makings of the Renaissance Christian leaders start protestant movements. Nation-leaders become more empowered with their worldly affairs, start church movements to promote themselves as divine rulers. Printing press invented in 1450, making Bibles and Greek writing more accessible.
Intellectual Milestones of the Middle Ages The rise of European universities occurred slowly and often around famous teachers who attracted students to a given location. Who were the most famous intellectual leaders (teachers)? Peter Abelard was a brilliant and brave theologian who argued that faith, reason, and doubt were all acceptable avenues to truth and that truth could be accessible to non-Christian thinkers.
Intellectual Milestones of the Middle Ages (continued) Héloise, known more commonly for her relationship with Abelard, was a creative philosopher in her own right, writing extensively on the nature of love. Roger Bacon is best known for his Opum Majus, a book that addressed a number of different topics, including epistemological questions that explored the nature of human ignorance.
Intellectual Milestones of the Middle Ages (continued) St. Thomas Aquinas was the “Church’s” designated intellectual leader. He was deeply committed to reconciling faith and reason, and he focused particularly on the known works of Aristotle. The views of Thomas Aquinas reflect Aristotle’s hylomorphism (see Chapter 3) in his conception of the mind-body problem, sensation, and emotion. He was instrumental in bringing Aristotle’s work into the church, where Aristotle became unchallengeable church doctrine. Aquinas started with sensory perceptions and used reason to interpret these perceptions. He maintained that the church had nothing to fear from empiricism or rationalism.
The Renaissance Takes Hold The Renaissance spanned the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries and was a paradoxical time including the rebirth of inquiry, a rising interest in the individual, but continued stagnation in some arenas. Effects of the plague were overwhelming as the Black Death swept across Europe. Historians estimate that millions died, perhaps one third of the population of Europe. Intellectual (psychological) reactions to the plague included stoicism, heroism, opportunism, hedonism, and flight. Many viewed the plague as punishment from God.
The Renaissance (continued) The Jews were the most common scapegoat for the plague. The plagues of the Renaissance were times of torture, imprisonment, and massacre for the Jews. The Renaissance set new standards of anti-Semitism that would last until the 20th century.
The Renaissance (continued) Some individuals joined flagellant orders and responded self-destructively to atone for sin and ameliorate what they viewed as punishment from God. The plague generated doubt related to theological institutions. The church leaders were powerless to save anyone, even themselves.
Catholic Church Weakens Besides increasing open questioning by non- Christian scholars, expanding geographical knowledge also damaged the authority of the church. Explorers returned to suggest that theological leaders were wrong about the shape of the earth, the land on the earth, and the existence of humans in the Western hemisphere. The Greek classics provided models of unrestrained speculation. More people were reading the original works instead of the texts approved by the church, and many people were genuinely speculating as the Greeks did.
The Catholic Church Looses Luster (continued) The authority of the Roman Catholic Church diminished for several reasons: a) Emerging nation-states challenged the church politically and financially. b) A wider-reading public began to question the relationship between church doctrine and the Bible. c) Some financial practices of the church (e.g., the sale of indulgences) created frustration. d) The Protestant Reformation also served to diffuse church authority. The Reformation may or may not have contributed to the development of science; Protestant authorities were as restrictive of inquiry as were Catholic authorities.
The Catholic Church Looses Luster (continued) Growth of empirical studies continued in such areas as anatomy, botany, and zoology. Interest in quantification and mathematics for its own sake emerged in the Renaissance and was put to practical application in business and navigation. New data encouraged changing visions of the world. Various astronomers provided evidence to challenge the geocentric cosmology and replace it with a heliocentric cosmology. The geocentric work of Ptolemy was accepted as church doctrine and could not be challenged. The geocentric view supported the church’s Biblical worldview placing humans at the center of creation and existence and making the history of the universe synonymous with human history.
The Catholic Church Looses Luster (continued) Nicolaus Copernicus argued for a heliocentric system with circular planetary orbits. Johannes Kepler refined the Copernican system by introducing elliptical planetary orbits. Galileo Galilei refined the telescope and challenged the assumptions of the church regarding the geocentric cosmology. The conflict between Galileo and the church was not only a conflict of cosmology; it was also a conflict over epistemology. The church favored authority as a method of knowledge. Galileo was forced to recant his views.