Presentation on theme: "Closing the Frontier. Boniface ST. BONIFACE was born at Crediton, in Devonshire. England, in the year 680. Some missionaries staying at his father's house."— Presentation transcript:
Closing the Frontier
Boniface ST. BONIFACE was born at Crediton, in Devonshire. England, in the year 680. Some missionaries staying at his father's house spoke to him of heavenly things, and inspired him with a wish to devote himself, as they did, to God. He entered the monastery of Exminster, and was there trained for his apostolic work. His first attempt to convert the pagans in Holland having failed, he went to Rome to obtain the Pope's blessing on his mission, and returned with authority to preach to the German tribes. It was a slow and dangerous task; his own life was in constant peril, while his flock was often reduced to abject poverty by the wandering robber bands. Yet his courage never flagged. He began with Bavaria and Thuringia, next visited Friesland, then passed on to Hesse and Saxony, everywhere destroying the idol temples and raising churches on their site. He endeavored, as far as possible, to make every object of idolatry contribute in some way to the glory of God; on one occasion, having cut down an immense oak which was consecrated to Jupiter, he used the tree in building a church, which he dedicated to the Prince of the Apostles. He was now recalled to Rome, consecrated Bishop by the Pope, and returned to extend and organize the rising German Church. With diligent care he reformed abuses among the existing clergy, and established religious houses throughout the land. At length, feeling his infirmities increase, and fearful of losing his martyr's crown, Boniface appointed a successor to his monastery, and set out to convert a fresh pagan tribe. While St. Boniface was waiting to administer Confirmation to some newly-baptized Christians, a troop of pagans arrived armed with swords and spears. His attendants would have opposed them, but the Saint said to his followers: "My children, cease your resistance; the long-expected day is come at last. Scripture forbids us to resist evil. Let us put our hope in God: He will save our souls." Scarcely had he ceased speaking, when the barbarians fell upon him and slew him with all his attendants, to the number of fifty-two.
Massacre at Verden 4500 captive Saxons put to death Issue: refusal to convert Saxon Wars, , under Charlemagne Ordinances Concerning Saxony – a decree & legal code for dealing with Saxons, including capital punishment for refusal to convert, or practicing pagan traditions
Gero Cross Cologne Cathedral, Germany. Oak sculpture, life-size. Tenth century.
Brock and Parker The first known crucifix was made by a Saxon artist who carved a life-size dead Jesus from oak. Called the Gero Crucifix it was produced in AD and is displayed in the cathedral in Cologne, Germany. The ancient Saxons worshipped trees and they were converted by Charlemagne’s troops at the point of the sword. As Parker and Brock state: “The cross—once a sign of life—became for them a sign of terror. Pressed by violence into Christian obedience, the Saxons produced art that bore the marks of their baptism in blood.” In a supreme and terrible irony the humiliated Saxons identified with the crucified Jesus and they saw their own wounds—physically and spiritually—in his tortured figure. Interestingly enough, Carolingian church authorities imprisoned and tortured Saxon theologians, who continued to believe the Eucharist contained the heavenly Christ rather than the new view that it was the judging crucified Christ. Brock and Parker draw political conclusions from the replacement of Churches of Paradise with Churches of Crucifixion: “The Carolingians fused church and state in new ways, altered the long-standing Christian prohibition against the shedding of human blood, and made Christianity a colonizing tool. They aligned the Cross with military victory and laid the axe to the root of sacred trees.”
Calvary Images = medieval world This famous crucifixion shows Mary Magdalene as a co-sufferer with Christ, collapsing in a swoon, and John the Baptist as a dispassionate interpreter, pointing his finger to identify the sacrificed Lamb of God on the cross.
Atonement Theology Anselm (d. 1109) and Aquinas (d. 1274) Ransom, satisfaction, penal (legalism, substitutionary) Anselm – satisfaction theology; support to holy war, crusades; dedication to God most powerfully affirmed in willingness to die in crusades. Abelard disagreed: – Abelard argued that the atonement is a demonstration of God's love that so moves sinners that they realize their sinful rebellion and repent and respond in love to God. All that is required is penitence. God himself does not have to be satisfied or placated, through some sort of exchange or sacrificial offering. He wants to forgive men their transgressions. (moral-edifying)