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84

CHAPTER II.

HISTORY OF DOGMA IN THE PERIOD OF THE MENDICANT ORDERS, TILL THE BEGINNING OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

If in this chapter we again direct our attention in the first instance to the history of ecclesiastical piety, of ecclesiastical law and of ecclesiastical science, it is less with the view of understanding the changes which dogma passed through in this period, than in order to show how the conditions under which it stood served to make it ever more stable and to protect it from all attack. It must, above all, be shown how it was possible that the enormous revolution of the sixteenth century — keeping out of view the Anabaptist movements — stayed its course before the old dogma. This can only be understood, however, when we consider what confirmations dogma received from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. These confirmations were a consequence of the peculiar history of piety, of ecclesiastical law and of science in this period. All of these sought, not for an “unmoved mover” in the background — for dogma was simply no longer a “mover” — but for an immovable basis. Mysticism, the development of ecclesiastical law, Nominalist theology — all of them could only develop themselves on the basis of an authoritative dogma, or, say, could only protect themselves on that basis against dangerous consequences.

It is only in the second place that there fall to be considered how far the general conditions produced also certain changes in dogma, then how far an individual piety developed itself, how from this piety the need for individual certainty of salvation arose, and how this need gathered itself into a mighty force. Of itself the force was strong enough to demand, and to carry out, a revision of the entire ecclesiastical tradition. But it will 85appear in the last Book (see below) that it was impeded in its unfolding by the still greater power of a fifteen century long development.

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