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HISTORICAL SITUATION.11Baur, Vorles. üb. die christl. D.-G., 2nd vol., 1866. Bach, Die Dogmengeschichte des Mittelalters, 2 vols., 1873, 1875. Seeberg, Die Dogmengesch. des Mittelalters (Thomasius, Die christl. Dogmengesch, 2 Ed., 2 vol., Division I.) 1888. All begin in the period after Augustine, as also Schwane, D.-G. der mittleren, Zeit 1882. Loofs, Leitfaden der D.-G., 3 Ed., 1893. Seeberg, Lehrbuch d. D.-G., Division I., 1895.
The history of piety and of dogmas in the West was so thoroughly dominated by Augustine from the beginning of the fifth century to the era of the Reformation, that we must take this whole time as forming one period. It is indeed possible to doubt whether it is not correct to include also the succeeding period, since Augustinianism continued to exert its influence in the sixteenth century. But we are compelled to prefer the views that the Reformation had all the significance of a new movement, and that the revolt from Augustine was marked even in post-tridentine Catholicism, as well as, completely, in Socinianism.22The complete breach with Augustine is indeed marked neither by Luther nor Ignatius Loyola, but first by Leibnitz, Thomasius, and—the Probabilists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In this second Book of the second Section, therefore, we regard the history of dogma of the West from Augustine to the Reformation as one complete development, and then, in accordance with our definition of dogma and its history,33Vol. I., § 1. we add the “final stages of dogma” in their triple form—Tridentine Catholicism, Socinianism, and Protestantism.
2. In order rightly to appreciate the part played by Augustine, it is necessary first (Chap. II.) to describe the distinctive character of Western Christianity and Western theologians 4anterior to his appearance. It will then appear that while the West was prepared to favour Augustinianism, those very elements that especially characterised Western Christianity—the juristic and moralistic—resisted the Augustinian type of thought in matters of faith. This fact at once foreshadows the later history of Augustinianism in the Church.
3. Augustine comes before us, in the first place, as a reformer of Christian piety, altering much that belonged to vulgar Catholicism, and carrying out monotheism strictly and thoroughly. He gave the central place to the living relation of the soul to God; he took religion out of the sphere of cosmology and the cultus, and demonstrated and cherished it in the domain of the deepest life of the soul. On the other hand, we will have to show that while establishing the sovereignty of faith over all that is natural, he did not surmount the old Catholic foundation of the theological mode of thought; further, that he was not completely convinced of the supremacy of the religious over the moral, of the personal state of faith over ecclesiasticism; and finally, that in his religious tendencies, as generally, he remained burdened by the rubbish of ecclesiastical tradition. (Chap. III.)
4. Augustine falls next to be considered as a Church teacher. The union of three great circles of thought, which he reconstructed and connected absolutely, assured him, along with the incomparable impression made by his inexhaustible personality, of a lasting influence. In the first place, he built up a complete circle of conceptions, which is marked by the categories, “God, the soul, alienation from God, irresistible grace, hunger for God, unrest in the world and rest in God, and felicity,” a circle in which we can easily demonstrate the co-operation of Neoplatonic and monastic Christian elements, but which is really so pure and simple that it can be taken as the fundamental form of monotheistic piety in general. Secondly, he gave expression to a group of ideas in which sin, grace through Christ, grace in general, faith, love, and hope form the main points; a Paulinism modified by popular Catholic elements. Thirdly, he constructed another group, in which the Catholic Church is regarded as authority, dispenser of grace, and administrator of the sacraments, and, further, as the means and aim of all God’s ordinances. 5Here he always constructed, along with a wealth of ideas, a profusion of schemes—not formulas; he re-fashioned Dogmatics proper, and, speaking generally, gave the first impulse to a study which, as an introduction to Dogmatics, has obtained such an immense importance for theology and Science since the Scholastics.
5. On the other hand, Augustine always felt that he was, as regards Dogma, an Epigone, and he submitted himself absolutely to the tradition of the Church. He was wanting in the vigorous energy in Church work shown, e.g., by Athanasius, and in the impulse to force upon the Church in fixed formulas the truths that possessed his soul. Consequently the result of his life-work on behalf of the Church can be described thus. (1) He established more securely in the West the ancient ecclesiastical tradition as authority and law. (2) He deepened and, comparatively speaking, Christianised the old religious tendency. (3) In the thought and life of the Church he substituted a plan of salvation, along with an appropriate doctrine of the sacraments, for the old dogma44The ancient dogma has thus formed building material in the West since Augustine. It has been deprived—at least in the most important respect—of its ancient purpose, and serves new ones. The stones hewn for a temple, and once constructed into a temple, now serve for the building of a cathedral. Or perhaps the figure is more appropriate that the old temple expanded into a cathedral, and wonderfully transformed, is yet perceptible in the cathedral. and the cultus, and instilled into heart and feeling the fundamental conception of his Christianity that divine grace was the beginning, middle, and end; but he himself sought to harmonise the conception with popular Catholicism, and he expressed this in formulas which, because they were not fixed and definite, admitted of still further concessions to traditional views. In a word, he failed to establish without admixture the new and higher religious style in which he constructed theology. Therefore the ancient Greek dogma which aimed at deification, as well as the old Roman conception of religion as a legal relationship, could maintain their ground side by side with it. Precisely in the best of his gifts to the Church, Augustine gave it impulses and problems, but not a solid capital. Along with this he transmitted to posterity a profusion of ideas, conceptions, and views which, 6unsatisfactorily harmonised by himself, produced great friction, living movements, and, finally, violent controversies.
6. As at the beginning of the history of the Latin Church Cyprian followed Tertullian, and stamped the character of ancient Latin Christianity, so Gregory the Great succeeded Augustine, and gave expression to the mediæval character of Latin Christianity, a form which, under Augustinian formulas, often differs in whole and in details from Augustine. Dogma remains almost throughout, in the Middle Ages, the complex of Trinitarian and Christological doctrines which was handed down with the Symbol. But, besides this, an immense series of theological conceptions, of church regulations and statutes, already possessed a quasi-dogmatic authority. Yet, in acute cases, he could alone be expelled as a heretic who could be convicted of disbelieving one of the twelve articles of the Symbol, or of sharing in the doctrines of heretics already rejected, i.e., of Pelagians, Donatists, etc. Thus it remained up to the time of the Reformation, although the doctrines of the Church—the Pope, and the sacraments, the ecclesiastical sacrament of penance, and the doctrine of transubstantiation—claimed almost dogmatic authority, though only by being artificially connected with the Symbol.
7. The consolidation of the ecclesiastical and dogmatic system into a legal order, in harmony with the genius of Western Christianity, was almost rendered perfect by the political history of the Church in the period of the tribal migrations. The Germans who entered the circle of the Church, and partly became fused with the Latins, partly, but under the leadership of Rome, remained independent, received Christianity in its ecclesiastical form, as something absolutely complete. Therefore, setting aside the Chauvinistic contention that the Germans were predisposed to Christianity,55Seeberg, (Dogmengesch. des Mittelalters, p. 3), has repeated it. no independent theological movement took place for centuries on purely German soil. No German Christianity existed in the Middle Ages in the sense that there was a Jewish, Greek, or Latin form.66Even the influence, which some have very recently sought to demonstrate, of German character on the formation of a few mediæval theologumena is at least doubtful (against Cremer). Die Wurzeln des Anselm’schen Satisfactions-begriffs in the Theol. Stud. u. Kritik., 1880, p. 7 ff., 1893, p. 316 ff., and Seeberg, l.c. p. 123. Fuller details in I., ch. 7, Sect. 4. Even if the 7Germans may have attempted to make themselves more thoroughly familiar with Latin Christianity, as e.g., the Slays did with the Greek—we may recall the old Saxon harmony of the Gospels, etc.—77It was to the advantage, here and there, of simple piety that it had not co-operated in the construction of the Church. yet there was a complete absence of any independence in consciously appropriating it, up to the settlement of the Begging orders in Germany, properly speaking, indeed, up to the Reformation. Complaints of Papal oppressions, or of external ceremonies, cannot be introduced into this question. The complainers were themselves Roman Christians, and the never-failing sectaries paid homage, not to a “German” Christianity, but to a form of Church which was also imported. If up to the thirteenth century there existed in Germany no independent theology or science, still less was there any movement in the history of dogma.88Nitzsch, Deutsche Gesch., II., p. 15: “(Up to the middle of the eleventh century) the task of administering property was more important to the German Church than the political and dogmatic debates of the neighbouring French hierarchy.” See also Döllinger Akad. Vorträge, vol. II., Lecture 1, at beginning. But as soon as Germans, in Germany and England, took up an independent part in the inner movement of the Church, they prepared the way, supported indeed by Augustine, for the Reformation. The case was different on Roman territory. We need not, of course, look at Italy, for the land of the Popes steadily maintained its characteristic indifference to all theology as theology. Apocalyptic, socialistic, and revolutionary movements were not wanting; Hippocrates and Justinian were studied; but the ideals of thinkers seldom interested Italians, and they hardly ever troubled themselves about a dogma, if it was nothing more. Spain, also, very soon passed out of the intellectual movement, into which, besides, it had never thrown any energy. For eight centuries it was set the immense practical task of protecting Christendom from Islam: in this war it transformed the law of the Catholic religion into a military discipline. The Spanish history of dogma has been a blank since the days of Bishop Elipandus.8
Thus France alone remains. In so far as the Middle Ages, down to the thirteenth century, possessed any dogmatic history, it was to a very large extent Frankish or French.99See the correct opinion of Jordanus of Osnabrück (about 1285) that the Romans had received the sacerdotium, the Germans the imperium, the French the studium (Lorenz, Geschichtsquellen, 2 ed., vol. II., p. 296). Gaul had been the land of culture among Latin countries as early as the fourth and fifth centuries. ’Mid the storms of the tribal migrations, culture maintained its ground longest in Southern Gaul, and after a short epoch of barbarism, during which civilisation seemed to have died out everywhere on the Continent, and England appeared to have obtained the leadership, France under the Carlovingians—of course, France allied with Rome through Boniface—came again to the front. There it remained, but with its centre of gravity in the North, between the Seine and the Rhine. Paris was for centuries only second to Rome, as formerly Alexandria and Carthage had been.1010See on the importance of North-Eastern France, Sohm in the Ztschr. d. Savigny-Stiftung. German Division I., p 3 ff., and Schrörs, Hinkmar, p. 3 f. On Rome and Paris see Reuter, Gesch. d. Aufkl. I., p. 181. The imperial crown passed to the Germans; the real ruler of the world sat at Rome; but the “studium”—in every sense of the term—belonged to the French. Strictly speaking, even in France, there was no history of dogma in the Middle Ages. If the Reformation had not taken place, we would have been as little aware of any mediæval history of dogma in the West as in the East; for the theological and ecclesiastical movements of the Middle Ages, which by no means professed to be new dogmatic efforts, only claim to be received into the history of dogma because they ended in the dogmas of Trent on the one hand, and in the symbols of the Reformed Churches and Socinian Rationalism on the other. The whole of the Middle Ages presents itself in the sphere of dogmatic history as a transition period, the period when the Church was fixing its relationship to Augustine, and the numerous impulses originated by him. This period lasted so long, (1) because centuries had to elapse before Augustine found disciples worthy of him, and men were in a position even to understand the chain of ecclesiastical and theological edicts 9handed down from antiquity; (2) because the Roman genius of the Western Church and the Augustinian spirit were in part ill-assorted, and it was therefore a huge task to harmonise them; and (3) because at the time when complete power had been gained for the independent study of Church doctrine and Augustine, a new authority, in many respects more congenial to the spirit of the Church, appeared on the scene, viz., Augustine’s powerful rival,1111The derisive title of Augustine—“Aristoteles Pœnorum”—was prophetic. He got this name from Julian of Eclanum, Aug. Op. imperf., III., 199. Aristotle. The Roman genius, the superstition which, descending from the closing period of antiquity, was strengthened in barbarous times, Augustine, and Aristotle—these are the four powers which contended for their interpretation of the gospel in the history of dogma in the Middle Ages.
8. The Middle Ages experienced no dogmatic decisions like those of Nicaea or Chalcedon. After the condemnation of Pelagians and Semipelagians, Monothelites, and Adoptians, the dogmatic circle was closed. The actions in the Carlovingian age against images, and against Ratramnus and Gottschalk were really of slight importance, and in the fights with later heretics, so many of whom disturbed the mediæval Church, old weapons were used, new ones being in fact unnecessary. The task of the historian of dogma is here, therefore, very difficult. In order to know what he ought to describe, to be as just to ancient dogma in its continued influence as to the new quasi-dogmatic Christianity in whose midst men lived, he must fix his eyes on the beginning, Augustine, and the close, the sixteenth century. Nothing belongs to the history of dogma which does not serve to explain this final stage, and even then only on its dogmatic side, and this again may be portrayed only in so far as it prepared the way for the framing of new doctrines, or the official revision of the ancient dogmas.
If my view is right, there are three lines to which we have to turn our attention. In the first place we must examine the history of piety, in so far as new tendencies were formed in it, based on, or existing side by side with Augustinianism; for the piety which was determined by other influences led also to the 10construction of other dogmatic formulas. But the history of piety in the Middle Ages is the history of monachism.1212See Ritschl, Gesch. des Pietismus, vol. I., p. 7 ff., and my Vortrag über das Monchthum, 3 ed. We may therefore conjecture that if monachism really passed through a history in the Middle Ages, and not merely endless repetitions, it cannot be indifferent for the history of dogma. As a matter of fact, it will be shown that Bernard and Francis were also doctrinal Fathers. We may here point at once to the fact that Augustine, at least apparently, reveals a hiatus in his theology as dominated by piety; he was able to say little concerning the work of Christ in connection with his system of doctrine, and his impassioned love of God was not clearly connected in theory with the impression made by Christ’s death, or with Christ’s “work.” What a transformation, what an access of fervour, Augustinianism had to experience, when impassioned love to the Eternal and Holy One found its object in the Crucified, when it invested with heavenly glory, and referred to the sinful soul, all traits of the beaten, wounded, and dying One, when it began to reflect on the infinite “merits” of its Saviour, because the most profound of thoughts had dawned upon it, that the suffering of the innocent was salvation in history! Dogma could not remain unaffected by what it now found to contemplate and experience in the “crucified” Saviour of Bernard, the “poor” Saviour of Francis.1313Bernard prepared the way for transforming the Neoplatonic exercitium of the contemplation of the All and the Deity into methodical reflection on the sufferings of Christ. Gilbert says: “Dilectus meus, inquit sponsa, candidus et rubicundus. In hoc nobis et candet veritas et rubet caritas.” We may say briefly that, by the agency of the mediæval religious virtuosi and theologians, the close connection between God, the “work” of Christ, and salvation was ultimately restored in the Tridentine and ancient Lutheran dogma. The Greek Church had maintained and still maintains it; but Augustine had loosened it, because his great task was to show what God is, and what salvation the soul requires.
In the second place, we have to take the doctrine of the Sacraments into consideration; for great as were the impulses 11given here also by Augustine, yet everything was incomplete which he transmitted to the Church. But the Church as an institution and training-school required the sacraments above all, and in its adherence to Augustine it was precisely his sacramental doctrine, and the conception connected therewith of gradual justification, of which it laid hold. We shall have to show how the Church developed this down to the sixteenth century, how it idealised itself in the sacraments, and fashioned them into being its peculiar agencies. In the third place, we have to pursue a line which is marked for us by the names of Augustine and Aristotle—fides and ratio, auctoritas and ratio intelligentia and ratio. To investigate this thoroughly would be to write the history of mediæval science in general. Here, therefore, we have only to examine it, in so far as there were developed in it the same manifold fashioning of theological thought, and those fundamental views which passed into the formulas, and at the same time into the contents of the doctrinal creations, of the sixteenth century, and which ultimately almost put an end to dogma in the original sense of the term. But we have also to include under the heading “Augustine and Aristotle” the opposition between the doctrine of the enslaved will and free grace and that of free will and merit. The latter shattered Augustinianism within Catholicism.
We cannot trace any dogma regarding the Church in the Middle Ages until the end of the thirteenth century, but this is only because the Church was the foundation and the latent co-efficient of all spiritual and theological movement.1414The opposition to a sacerdotal Church which existed at all times, and was already strong in the thirteenth century, left no lasting traces down to the fourteenth. In this century movements began on the soil of Catholicism which led to new forms of the conception of the Church and compelled it to fix definitively its own. Our account has to make this significance of the Church explicit, and in doing so to examine the growth of papal power; for in the sixteenth century the claim of the Pope was in dispute. On this point the Western Church was split up. But further, Augustine had given a central place to the question of the personal position of the Christian, confusing it, however, by uncertain references to the Church and to the medicinal effect of 12the means of grace. And the mediæval movement, in proportion as the Church and the sacraments came to the front without any diminution of the longing for an independent faith,1515In the Middle Ages every advance in the development of the authority and power of the Church was accompanied by the growing impression that the Church was corrupt. This impression led to the suspicion that it had become Babylon, and to despair of its improvement. was led to the question of personal assurance. On this point also—justification—the Western Church was rent asunder.1616On this most important point the schism went beyond Augustine; for in the Middle Ages, as regards the ground and assurance of faith, Augustine of the Confessions and doctrine of predestination was played off against Augustine the apologist of the Catholic Church. Luther, however, abandoned both alike, and followed a view which can be shown to exist in Augustine and in the Middle Ages at most in a hidden undercurrent. Thus an account of the history of dogma in the Middle Ages will only be complete if it can show how the questions as to the power of the Church (of the Pope, the importance of the Mass and sacraments) and justification came to the front, and how in these questions the old dogma, not indeed outwardly, but really, perished. In Tridentine Catholicism it now became completely, along with its new portions, a body of law; in Protestantism it was still retained only in as far as it showed itself, when compared with the Divine Word, to express the Gospel, to form a bond with the historical past, or to serve as the basis of personal assurance of salvation.
There can be no doubt about the division into periods. After an introduction on Western Christianity and Theology before Augustine, Augustinianism falls to be described. Then we have to discuss the epochs of (1) the Semipelagian controversies and Gregory I.; (2) the Carlovingian Renaissance; (3) the period of Clugny and Bernard (the eleventh and twelfth centuries); and (4) the period of the mendicant orders, as also of the so-called Reformers before the Reformation, i.e., of revived Augustinianism (thirteenth and fifteenth centuries). The Middle Ages only reached their climax after the beginning of the thirteenth century and, having grown spiritually equal to the material received from the ancient Church, then developed all individual energies and conceptions. But then at once began the crises which led to the 13Renaissance and Humanism, to the Reformation, Socinianism and Tridentine Catholicism. It is, therefore, impossible to delimit two periods within the thirteenth to the fifteenth century; for Scholasticism and Mysticism, the development of the authoritative, Nominalist, dogmatics, and the attempts to form new doctrines, are all interwoven. Reformation and Counter-reformation have a common root.14
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