Paul Halsall

Introduction to the Medieval World

Class 8: The Roman Church and Monasticism
Assigned Reading:

I.    Introduction

A.   The Formation of Latin Christendom
     Collapse in the West - The Dark Ages?

B.   The Roman Church carries classical/Christian synthesis

C.   Germanic Contribution - ruling class across the West

II.  Christianity in the West

A.   oikumene - Spread and Conversion of the West
     up to borders of Roman Empire

B.   Germans
     -Arian Goths
     -Conversion of the Franks
     -Conversion of Visigoths

C.   New Expansion
     -Ireland - Period of little expansion
     -Conversion from Ireland of Nth Britain
     -Conversion of Germans in North
     -Input of papacy

III. The Papacy

A.   The Roman Church
     Rome and St. Peter
     Cult of Relics

B.   Leo the Great

C.   Gelasius
     Recognition of separate Church and State power
     cf. Islam and  Byzantium

D.   Political Power and Infallibility

E.   Rome and Constantinople
     -Fourth Century

F.   Rome and the Barbarians

IV.  Latin Theology

Different emphasis from Greek theology
Less stress on nature of Trinity and Christology

A.   St. Jerome - The Bible/Biblicism of Latin Theology

B.   St. Ambrose - Church and State
     Concern with political aspects of life in Latin heology
     The state is not above moral judgment

C.   St. Augustine - Salvation Theory
     Stresses importance of the process of salvation

     1.   Life and Conversion
          North Africa/Manicheanism
          Conversion - Confessions

     2.   Influence of Neoplatonism

     3.   Against Pelagius
          Free Will and Predestination

     4.   Original Sin - on Sex
          Use of Adam and Eve story not to show free will
          but bondage to sin. Sin passed in Semen
          Sexualization of Original Sin

     5.   The City of God - Politics
          People under original sin need government
          -unlike early Christian resistance to Rome.
          Idea of two cities.

V.   Monasticism

A.   Asceticism - Ascesis = exercise
     related to martyrdom, Stylites

B.   The Desert and St. Anthony
     -Into desert c. 260 - i.e. before persecutions ended
     -St. Pachomias and the First Rule

C.   St. Basil

D.   Types of Monks
     -vagrants wandering Holy Men

VI.  St. Benedict and Western Monasticism

A.   St. Benedict b. 480
     Began in Subiaco, Went to Monte Cassino 525

B.   The Rule -written c. 530 - after monastic experience
     based on an earlier rule.

VII. Benedictine Monasticism

A.   Monte Cassino 525

B.   Other Houses
     -Irish Monasticism - across Northern Europe
     -Gradual adoption of the Rule.
     -Not an Order

C.   Life in a Monastery

     1.   The Buildings
          -Distinct plan - around a cloister of a Benedictine
          Monastery vis a vis an Irish monastery.
          -Church/Refectory/Dormitory/Chapter House/

     2.   Monks
          -Choir Monks
          -Worker Monks
          -Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience

     3.   The Abbot - from `Abba' - Elected for life

     4.   The Office/Opus Dei


     5.   The Work
          The Library and Scriptorium

D.   Contribution of Monasticism to Western Civilization
     -Attraction of Monastic Life
     Islands of Order in a rough World
     -`Accidental' preservation of Culture
     -Economic Effects

VIII.     Discussion of Rule of St. Benedict

use of scripture

cc. 1-3 Constitution
Goals? Salvation of souls - Need for a Rule

cc. 4-7 Spiritual Principles
Monastery is a workshop - Silence/humility
twelve steps - out of original sin?

cc. 8-20 Worship
Split sleep/Personal prayer/`needs of nature'
150 psalms per week - standing (misericordes?.

cc. 21-30 Discipline
sleep - separate beds in clothes
young not next to each other - fear of sex
26 - the Gestapo? Boys

cc. 31-37 Household
Division of labor into offices
No private property - Care of the sick - social security

cc. 38-47 Daily Observance
Reading - No meat - 12 pt of wine - Children to be beaten

cc. 48-57 Work and Outside Contacts
Manual work vs. idleness - Work at prayer
Going Outside a problem - Stability
Guests - Tunics/Cowls

cc. 58-66 Admission
Stability - Oblates - Priests and monks
Rule to be read often

cc. 67-72 Community Spirit
69 - fear of homosexuality/particular friendships

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© Paul Halsall, 1996.

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