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1

CHAPTER I.

HISTORY OF DOGMA IN THE PERIOD OF CLUGNY, ANSELM, AND BERNARD, TILL THE CLOSE OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY.

A tenaciously maintained tradition relates that in the closing years of the tenth century the Christians of the West looked forward with fear and trembling to the destruction of the world in the year 1000, and that a kind of reformation, expressing itself in the keenest activity in all branches of religion, was the consequence of this expectation. This representation has long since been proved a legend;22The eschatological ideas were always strong and vigorous in the Middle Ages, but for a time they certainly asserted themselves with special intensity; see Wadstein, Die Eschat. Ideengruppe (Antichrist, world-Sabbath, world-end and world-judgment) in den Hauptmomenten ihrer christlich-mittelalterlichen Gesammtentwickelung, 1896. But Wadstein again thinks that the year moo was contemplated with special suspense (p. 16 f.). but there lies at the basis of it, as is the case with so many legends, an accurate historic observation. From the end of the tenth century33On the tenth century, see Reuter, l.c. I., p. 67 ff. we really discern the beginnings of a powerful rise of religious and ecclesiastical life. This revival grew in strength, suffering from no reaction of any consequence, till the beginning of the thirteenth century. During this period it released, and took command of all the forces of mediæval manhood. All institutions of the past, and all the new elements of culture that had been added were subjected to its influence, and even the most hostile powers were ultimately 2made to yield it service and support. In the thirteenth century the supremacy of the Church and the system of the mediæval view of the world appear in perfected form.44See v. Eicken, Gesch. und System der mittelalterlichen Weltanschauung, 1887.

This perfecting is the conclusion, not only of Mediæval Church history, but also of that historical development of Christianity, the beginnings of which lie as far back as the history of the primitive Church. Certainly, if Christianity is regarded only as doctrine, the Middle Ages appear almost as a supplement to the history of the ancient Church; but if it is regarded as life, our judgment must be that it was only in the Western Church of the Middle Ages that the Christianity of the early Church came to its completion. In ancient times the Church was confronted with restrictions in the motives, standards, and ideas of ancient life. These restrictions it was never able to break through, and so it continued to be with the Church of the Eastern Empire: Monachism stood alongside the Church; the Church of the world was the old world itself with Christian manners. It was otherwise in the West. Here the Church was able to apply much more effectively its peculiar standards of monastic asceticism and domination of this world by the world beyond,55From this there resulted a new kind of dominion over the world, which certainly became very like the old, for there is only one way of exercising dominion. because it had not to subdue an ancient civilisation, but met with its restrictions simply in the most elementary forces of human life, in the desire to live, hunger, love and cupidity. It was thus able to propagate here through all circles, from the highest to the lowest, a view of the world which would inevitably have driven all into the cloisters, had not these elementary forces been stronger than even the fear of hell.

It is not the task of the History of Dogma to show how the mediæval view of the world was fully constructed and applied from the end of the tenth (for here the beginnings lie) till the thirteenth century. Substantially not much that is new would be discovered, for it is still the old well-known body of thought; what is new is merely the application of the material to all provinces of life, the comprehensive control in the hands of the Pope, and the gradual progressive development in its prior 3stages of religious individualism. But before we describe the changes, partly really, and partly apparently slight, which dogma underwent down to the time of the Mendicant Orders, it is necessary to indicate in a few lines the conditions under which these changes came about. We must direct our attention to the fresh rise of piety, to the development of ecclesiastical law, and to the beginnings of mediæval science.


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